Affordable Document Management

During a time when money is not as abundant as it once was most small businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency by installing document management solutions to cut expenses on paper, print and storage while improving labor accuracy and productivity.

Prior to today’s market, implementing document management systems has been out of reach for most small businesses due to high upfront costs and lengthy implementation and training cycles. Lately, freeware and low-cost alternatives to popular software products are becoming more abundant and provide a lot of the functionality needed for handling documents. Unfortunately, this class of applications has created new problems: incomplete functionality, lack of support, company and product instability and security issues.

However, there are some solutions available that are zero or low-cost and are highly functional, stable, secure, and offer quality support. The features available in these products vary quite a bit, but used in concert, they can provide users with the ability to create and edit documents, convert to PDF and store and share documents, all for zero or minimal cost. Best of all, some of these solutions are cross-platform and offer the same features on Windows, Mac and Linux giving the freedom to businesses to choose their platform or have a heterogeneous network of computers.

The OpenOffice application is a zero-cost alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. It is an open source product which means developers can access and update the software anytime. It is compatible with common document formats such as Word, Excel, and Power Point. Additionally, it offers PDF conversion through its “Export as PDF” function. Yearly support and updates for OpenOffice are available for a small fee.

Google Docs document management application is a zero-cost document storage and management system (zero cost for personal use). It gives small businesses and individuals the ability to create a paperless environment that can be shared with other users. Once documents are uploaded, they are stored on Google’s server, so the documents are accessible anywhere there is an Internet connection. Google Docs also allows users to manage PDF documents and view them; however, there is no way to edit these documents within Google Docs.

Since the PDF format is becoming the standard for managing and archiving documents, businesses also need PDF software similar to Adobe Acrobat. PDF Studio by Qoppa Software is a low-cost, robust PDF editing application that is easily accessible through quick download. It provides a wide range of functions on PDF documents, including the ability to annotate, digitally sign, fill forms, batch process, add watermarks, merge and split, scan to PDF, secure PDF documents and more.

Additionally, PDF Studio is fully integrated with Google Docs giving users the ability to access and edit their PDF documents stored in Google Docs without leaving the application. This feature provides a solution to users frustrated with the PDF editing limitations of Google Docs and other freeware. PDF Studio is cross-platform and offers the same features on Windows, Mac and Linux giving the freedom to businesses to choose their platform or have a heterogeneous network of computers.

As budgets remain tight in today’s tough economic climate, the supply of freeware and low-cost software alternatives is becoming more abundant. However, the need for quality, security and stability still remains. Luckily, there are low-cost alternatives available that meet these demands and that will continue to evolve as users do.