Document Management: The Secret's in the Software
The real power of a paper management system centers on the software, and the Neat Company managed to create a software package that is both sophisticated and easy to use.
Simply called Neat V5.1, the bundled software that comes with NeatDesk installs the needed drivers for the scanner and sets up a document repository. NeatDesk uses a tree-like paradigm to organize documents and handles the scanning, OCR and organization of scanned documents.
It all comes down to how much capability you need. If you're looking just to scan a few dozen documents every day and to keep them organized, NeatDesk is more than up to the task. If your needs go far beyond the basics, you may want to look into a high-end solution, such as those available from OpenText (formerly Hummingbird) and Xerox.
Document Management Meets the Cloud
Desktop software aside, the big news out of the Neat Company is clearly the company’s foray into cloud and mobile services. The company built a cloud-based offering, which makes it easy to store and manage documents in the cloud. The new product provides users with two distinct advantages; they can access files from anywhere with an Internet connection, and the system automatically backs up and stores documents, which protects valuable data.
Of course, the Neat Company is not the first to offer cloud storage, however it may be the first to combine organizational ease-of-use with cloud-based access, at least as far as integrated document management is concerned. We found the cloud application quite easy to navigate and to understand, and the performance was pretty good, considering that we used the service over a rather busy broadband connection.
Document Management Meets Mobile
NeatMobile, a companion to the cloud-based offering, lets people use mobile devices and tablets to access stored documents, as well as to add new document images. The company offers a slimmed down, portable scanner that's easy to transport and makes an ideal companion for road warriors looking to scan documents, business cards and other bits of paper while on the go.
We did not have the opportunity to test the mobile scanner, however it uses the same software as the desktop unit and is designed to work with the company' online services.
If you want to quickly bring order to paperwork chaos, NeatDesk is a decent starting point. If, however, you need more than basic scan and manage documents, you should explore a higher-end solution. But for small businesses and SOHOs, $400 isn’t a bad investment to get a handle on that mountain of paper taking over your desk.
Frank Olhorst is an award-winning technology journalist, professional speaker and IT business consultant with more than 25 years of experience in the technology arena. He has written for ComputerWorld, TechTarget, PCWorld, ExtremeTech, Tom's Hardware, Entrepreneur, Forbes and BNET. Ohlhorst was also the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek and former director of the CRN Test Center.
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