Like a Tarantino film, I’ll start at the end and then jump to the beginning. If you’re considering purchasing a Document Management System (DMS), NetDocuments and Worldox are both amazing products. In order to select the right product, one has to understand how the firm operates. Since not all firms are created equal, the way to choose the best DMS is being aware of all the firm’s needs. Then select the product that meets those needs. Now back to the beginning…
Server-Based vs. Cloud-Based DMS
Worldox and NetDocuments have two very different platforms in which they operate. One is server-based and the other is cloud-based. A server-based DMS (such as Worldox) electronically stores documents in a physical database which is attached to a server on the network. This is usually located inside the firm’s building. This allows all users to access their documents through the server, often through a company network or portal. In contrast, a cloud-based DMS (such as NetDocuments) stores all files in an off-site location. In this case, there is a physical building somewhere else, that electronically stores the firm’s files. This allows users to access documents from anywhere through the internet. Worldox does offer a cloud option, but the purpose of this is comparison is to compare Worldox Premise based DMS with NetDocuments cloud based DMS, not Worldox Cloud with NetDocuments.
Worldox vs. NetDocuments
Now let’s take a look at how NetDocuments and Worldox stack up against each other.
- The NetDocuments interface looks very professional and is easy to navigate. The buttons and options are clearly labeled. The interface allows users to customize their workspace, alter how documents are viewed, and adjust screen parameters; which allows for more or less of a particular part of that screen to be viewed. NetDocuments allows you to change the layout of documents list. They have sortable and adjustable columns in list view, and a cleaner Outlook integration interface that is similar to Outlook.
- A “Recent Docs” link makes it easy for users to view the last forty documents they created, opened, or edited.
- Offers full text searching and search profiles. You can search by keyword, creation date, e-mail address, document type, and additional filters. NetDocuments also contains “Google-like searching”, recent searches, and simple search options. Filters are automatically applied when searching from a workspace. With NetDocuments you can save searches and their document lists are updated in real time. (Learn more here.)
- Integration with Microsoft Office, Outlook EMS folders and profiler, Time Matters, Clio, Workshare, DocSolid (for scanning/barcode), WordPerfect, and OBDC database driven practice management systems.
- NetDocuments integrates seamlessly with Outlook. Allowing emails to be viewed in their standard MSG format with and without attachments. When saving emails several options are provided including, copy/move buttons and drag and drop folders. Columns are also provided to show you what you have saved to ND. Heuristics even allow ND to recognize sent emails and complete the profile for you. All you need to do is approve. Configurations to prompt you to save every sent email are available as well.
- Files can be easily attached to any email in their native format though NetDocuments.
- Compatible with MS Office, and Adobe Acrobat. Can save any documents and make those documents searchable with comments and profiling. Users can also save audio, picture and video files.
- Compatible with Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. It also works on both Windows and MAC. Best with Internet Explorer for Active-X compatibilities. Functionality on Mac will be different than Windows environment.
- All updates are performed automatically.
- Site will pre-determine what fields will be used when saving documents to various cabinets. Nearly all of this is customizable. For example saving to a client cabinet, you might be expected to fill out Client, Matter and Document type. But saving to a Forms cabinet you might be asked for Area of practice and form type. Cabinets can also have a free form folder structure when needed.
- NetDocuments allow you to save multiple versions of a document to track version history. You can save each version with different comments and choose which version is the official.
- NetDocuments offers a “View in Browser option.” This allows you to view the document without opening it and view highlight search results in text. They also have a preview pane when looking at a file lest.
- NetDocuments allows you to save a word document as a PDF. Conversions to other documents formats are available as well.
- Either the vendor or an outside consultant will perform the conversion. A folder import utility and mass import tool is used to tag and move documents into the system. Depending on the size of the firm and number of documents, this could take days or months. Your NetDocuments consultant will upload the documents using a folder import or mass import tool. The folder import is the most common and usually the most economical. If imported by folder the entire document store will be in NetDocuments in its existing folder structure. Then you staff will profile documents as needed. This can easily be done in large batches. Anything not profiled will remain in its existing in structure in NetDocuments until needed. Note: This process is different in a Mac environment.
- Support 24/7 support. Most tickets are resolve via email, though, they will call if needed.
- Access to files, folders, or cabinets can be controlled. Since it’s in the cloud additional security requirements are required. Meets compliance requirements related to HIPAA, SEC, FINRA and other industry-specific standards.
- The beauty of NetDocuments is that it only requires web access and a browser. (Learn more here.)
- NetDocuments has “workspaces” which allow the user to look at all of the documents on a particular matter. These can be shared and viewed with co-workers. All users can make changes to these workspaces and the changes will affect how everyone else views this workspace. Workspaces have customizable names, descriptions, logos and layouts. Users can have multiple folders or workspaces available at one time on the home page.
- NetDocuments does not have anything labeled as a workflow tool. They do allow users to share workspaces which allows for real-time collaboration and assign or approval features. – Through the review tools. Other workflow tools are document approval and signatures that can lock a document from change. A “follow” can also be setup to notify users of changes to a document or workspace.
- NetDocuments has a few options. You can send a secure link to users to view documents. Share space allows you to share a handful of documents with people outside of the organization. The third option allows you to create a folder in a work space for external users.
- Through ND Office, a document stamp can be applied.
- Professional: $40/user/month (10GB base storage plus 1 - 3GB per user). For in-house legal depts.: $80/user with a 5 user minimum. (Learn more here.)
- Full access to all documents from any web browser or free NetDocuments App for your smartphone and tablets. Digital signatures make finalizing documents easier from anywhere.
- Professional: $12,000. For in-house legal depts.: $24,000. Price does not include additional storage, start-up fees, installation, customization or training fees. No additional hardware needed.
- Worldox GX4 has a clean interface and offers more customization than before. Documents can now be viewed in both list and tile views. All the same powerful features are available, but now users can select form traditional Worldox theme, Windows 7 theme, and Windows 8 themed appearances.
- Worldox allows users to view recent documents that have been opened, edited, or created. Also, users can have favorite matters and projects.
- Offers full text searching and search profiles. Search by keyword, file type, profiles, recent documents, and date. Also offers direct access and multiple search tables. Worldox GX4 has “Google-like” simplified searching features. It also includes a dropdown menu for recent searches, and locations. You can also save and bookmark favorite searches. (Learn more here.)
- Integrates directly with Microsoft Office, Outlook, and scanning hardware / software (e.g. Adobe, Fujitsu ScanSnap). Also integrates with Amicus Attorney and Time Matters.
- Worldox integrates seamlessly with Outlook. Allowing emails to be viewed in their standard MSG format with and without attachments. When saving emails several options are provided including, copy/move buttons and drag and drop folders. Columns are also provided to show you what you have saved to Worldox. Heuristics even allow Worldox to recognize sent emails and complete the profile for you. All you need to do is approve. Configurations to prompt you to save every sent email are available as well.
- Files can be easily attached to any email in their native format though Worldox.
- Allows users to save MS Office files, Adobe Acrobat and Corel Office files (in 32bit versions). Worldox allows you to save anything into it, including audio, picture, video, and even executable (exe) files. Then using comments sections you can make that document searchable.
- Compatible with Windows, MAC, and Mac IOS. According the the Worldox website, “The Mac version is not a standalone product; it requires a Worldox back-end including file server and indexer.”
- Updates must be installed manually.
- Site will pre-determine what fields will be used when saving documents to various cabinets. Nearly all of this is customizable. For example saving to a client cabinet, you might be expected to fill out Client, Matter and Document type. But saving to a Forms cabinet you might be asked for Area of practice and form type. Cabinets can also have a free form folder structure when needed. This can be difficult to navigate at first.
- Worldox allow you to save multiple versions of a document to track version history. You can save each version with different comments.
- Offers a document preview tool that allows you to view the document without opening it. Users can also copy text or fields, search for text or words, and tools to scroll though hits that were returned by text search in preview mode.
- Worldox allows you to save a Word document as a PDF. Conversions to other documents formats are available as well.
- Allows all documents to be migrated to the system individually or in batches (as long as each batch is saved under the same profile group). Again, this is typically done by the vendor or an outside consultant. Remove existing and replace with - Your Worldox consultant creates a legacy “container” around your existing documents. The documents maintain their existing structure and permissions. Then documents are moved by each user and profile as needed into Worldox. Or you can have a team migrate active cases manually. This can easily be done in large batches. Anything not migrated will remain in the legacy “container” as long as needed. Note: This process is different in a Mac environment.
- Offers online support options through their website including videos, forms and a knowledge base. They can be reached by phone or e-mail and they maintain regular support times (9am to 7pm EST M-F). They also allow you to check on the status of your ticket.
- Allows varied levels of access based on document, user, or group. Supports Active Directory securing model. Additional security can be applied to e-mail documents by applying a password to access those documents outside the company. Since Worldox resides on your hardware you bare more of the responsibility.
- Worldox can run on a shared network PC or a server, however, it requires a non-workstation PC for the indexer, as well as periodic updates to keep it running smoothly. (more info)
- Worldox has a “favorite matters” option which allows users to track matters rather than just the documents within them. Workspaces are setup by each user so they can personalize matters they are working on, folders and these can be shared with other co-workers. Worldox can run on a shared network PC or a server, however, it requires a non-workstation PC for the indexer. (more info)
- Workflow feature allows users to generate a process that assigns other users certain actions for that document or set of documents through productivity suite. Productivity Suite comes at an extra cost.. Deadlines can be included within this feature. Example: editing before sending.
- By default Worldox does not have a client portal. However, through the Citrix ShareFile integration client portals can be created. Citrix ShareFile does more than just allow Worldox to create a client portal.
- Worldox stamps every document with a Worldox ID, which is customizable.
- GX3 Professional: $460 / license. Maintenance: $97/user/yr. This does not include mobility tools, discussed below. (Learn more here.)
- Offers 3 options that give you access to your documents from any Internet connected device. Enterprise which is great for multiple offices and remote environments. Worldox also offers a cloud option, giving you the ability to choose cloud or servers based within one product.
- GX3: $4725. Price does not include Web Mobile (mentioned above), required hardware (mentioned above), installation, customization or training costs.
So where should one begin when selecting a program? Start with a few basic questions:
- Is mobility a key feature or can we better leverage a local DMS?
- What features will most benefit OUR firm (i.e. client portal or quick profiles)?
- Can we commit to the training and education we’ll need to ensure success?
- Do I need (not want) any specific integrations?
Remember that with a basic edition you may not get all of the features you need. It is important to know your needs. This is where a consultant or a third party that can provide valuable recommendations to ensure that you’re selecting the right DMS.
Finally, on a personal note, I always look at technical support as a critical decision. When something goes awry – how will I be helped or treated? In the long run, just make sure you have considered the firm’s needs to make sure the effort goes as smoothly as possible.