NetDocuments Review | A Brief Review for Law Firms
A Guest Blog by Jeanine Rhode of Software Analysis Corporation
What is NetDocuments, and Why Do I Need it?
NetDocuments is a cloud-based document and email management service. Its popularity among law firms prompted us to write this NetDocuments Review, and share our insights working with many law firms looking to implement a Document Management System.
NetDocuments allows firms of all sizes to adopt client, matter and/or project-centric workspaces. With enterprise search, firms can reduce costs, liability, and increase productivity. If your time is valued at $200 per hour and you spend six minutes browsing through email or looking for a document, that action costs your firm $20. Repeating this action three times during a day equates to $60 in lost billable time. Assuming 240 workdays per year, the total lost billable time is valued at $14,400 annually–a handsome loss for just one timekeeper.
In this age of rampant viruses, malware and ransomware, individual firms are hard-pressed to keep up with security and encryption requirements. By using NetDocuments you have world-class security bundled with built-in disaster recovery. Both you and your clients can be confident the data is safe. For detailed information about NetDocuments’ security, check out NetDocument’s security page. For all these reasons, NetDocuments is not available as a server-based package.
Functionality & Power
Next in our NetDocuments review we’ll assess the software’s power and functionality. NetDocuments (ND) is a powerful document management program: With proper setup, the technical expertise required to use NetDocuments is minimal. Most of the heavy lifting is completed during the setup and document import phases. During the setup, decisions regarding security, access and workspace design are made. This is when the ‘rules’ are established. The setup will pre-determine fields used when saving a document to a cabinet. (A cabinet is where your documents and records are stored within NetDocuments.) For instance, you may require a client, matter and document type be completed for each document. This forced consistency makes searching and locating documents faster, easier and more accurate.
The setup and import are critical steps in the implementation process. While some programs appear to be do-it-yourself, you should use a NetDocuments Certified Partner to assist with the planning and implementation. Utilities native to NetDocuments allow large numbers of documents to be imported but can be difficult to use if you decide to go it alone.
NetDocuments ‘learns’ where to file your documents. For instance, if you save to ND and complete the profile, the next time you have an email from that person, ND will complete the profile information for you. But, if you a like to wait until the end of the day to file your emails in batch to ND, you could run into an issue with profiling if not done correctly. If you incorrectly profile several records, there is no easy way for you to re-profile the records in mass. It must be done one at a time. If the job is too large, your NetDocuments Certified Partner has tools to help you.
NetDocuments integrates with many software packages. Most notably is its integrations with Microsoft Office and Adobe. ndOffice is an add-in for Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook along with Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat. It allows users to open, edit, and save documents and emails without leaving the Office or Adobe applications. Unfortunately, there is no integration with Microsoft OneNote.
ndOffice has an Activity Center to help you keep track of all activity in ndOffice across all applications. The Activity Center can be accessed from the System Tray by clicking on the ndOffice icon. The Activity Center displays the most recent 100 documents. To save you time, you can open the document directly from this window.
A NetDocuments review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about mobility. As a cloud-based system, you can access your documents from any device with an internet connection. You can edit, collaborate, manage and share documents without compromising security.
An app is available for iPad or iPhone users. The Android app lets you synchronize files from your mobile device with NetDocuments. Alternatively, you can access NetDocuments through your device’s browser.
Up next in our NetDocments Review: Collaboration. NetDocuments makes it easy to share or collaborate on documents by using ShareSpaces. Think of a ShareSpace as a secure location used to share and collaborate with your clients or others. Remember that sending documents as email attachments is dangerous and unsecured. Documents can be shared with people who do not have NetDocuments or other firm members who don’t have access to your document cabinet. By using ShareSpaces, you can provide secure access for viewing or collaboration with others without creating multiple copies as you would if you emailed documents back and forth.
ShareSpaces are meant for short-term, temporary access to documents. It works best if you have fewer than 25 documents and fewer than 25 people accessing a ShareSpace. Note that ShareSpaces cannot be accessed or viewed through a mobile device.
I’ve touched on only a few key points in this NetDocuments Review – there is so much more to say about its features and functionality. If you would like to get more information about NetDocuments, please contact Software Analysis Corporation.