Testing document management systems in the legal sector


The document management system (DMS) is a central component of a firm’s IT systems. When looking to upgrade, a robust test approach will provide confidence that the new system will work effectively.

Whether a firm is implementing iManage, NetDocuments, Sharepoint or another option, it is rare that the DMS will operate in isolation. There are likely to be many integrations into a firm’s other systems. These integrations can be for external systems to store or retrieve documents, to update or create folder structures, or to manage permissions.

Testing of the DMS implementation will look to determine the configurations and customisations have been implemented according to specification. Testing of the integrations between the DMS and external systems seeks to validate other applications will still work as expected once the DMS has changed. Undertaking performance testing and user acceptance testing (UAT) will provide information to understand whether the new user experience will inhibit the successful adoption of the new solution.

Planning your DMS testing

Unlike a practice management system (PMS), client onboarding tool, knowledge tool or client relationship management system (CRM), there is no obvious business unit to own the DMS, so it often falls to an IT department. This can have implications on getting decisions regarding the correct behaviour of the system.
The first exercise that will need to be completed as part of the testing of the document management system is to understand:

  1. All the integration points
  2. The custom behaviours that are being implemented within the DMS software
  3. The environments the system will be presented from and the types of users accessing it
  4. The data migration requirements

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