Best Document Management Systems

Contributor, Benzinga

There are a few — if any organizations — for whom paperwork doesn’t play a crucial role in management. From invoicing documents to legal paperwork and beyond, it’s essential that you keep everything in good order — or you’ll be creating a recipe for content chaos.

That’s where document management swings into action — a process or system used to capture, track and store digital documents like word processing files, PDFs and digital images of paper-based content. These management systems ease the storage, organization and sharing of electronic data. With their absence, your employees may feel like they’re in a never-ending game of hide-and-seek in pursuing essential online files.

There’s no single best document management system on the market — it all comes down to the needs and size of your business. Here’s our pick of document management suites that will get your digital content under control and bolster productivity.

1. Best Overall: Microsoft SharePoint Online

Microsoft SharePoint is an easy pick for our top spot’s designation, and for good reason. Its effective combination of document management, team collaboration and workflow as well as a comprehensive slate of features make it easy for you to tailor the way your business organizes its documents. It’s particularly a convenient option for businesses that already use the Microsoft suite of products.

SharePoint is a scalable and flexible platform that manages and organizes your documents to collaborate on all aspects of creation and editing. This sprawling document management system has quite a learning curve, so expect to train your team for optimal familiarity. Also, the price tag can be hefty — so make sure you need all this document management power.

Pricing: SharePoint Online Plan 1 starts at $5/user per month for an annual commitment

             SharePoint Online Plan 2 starts at $10/user per month for an annual commitment

Mobile App? Yes. Available for iOS and Android

2. Best for Pricing: Google Drive

You don’t have to spend a lot on a document management system if you’re just a small business with a handful of employees. The inexpensive Google Drive does the trick — it’s free for the first 30 GB of storage, then $1.99 per month for 100 GB and $9.99 for 1 TB.

Google Drive lets you create spreadsheets, documents, presentations and a lot more within the suite — plus you can upload files from your hard storage. Have a blueprint for classifying the documents, otherwise, you’ll wind up in a chaotic jumble of files that are difficult to navigate.

Pricing: $1.99 per month for 100 GB and $9.99 per month for 1 TB

Mobile App? Yes. Available for iOS and Android

3. Best Cloud-Based System: Rubex

Rubex by eFileCabinet is a cloud-based file management system that focuses on powerful OCR, improved workflows and enhanced security and search. Rubex automatically recognizes, intelligently names, organizes and stores your files using information contained in the files. You can also set governance for individual documents as well as entire folders — helping you stay compliant with all permissions and retention dates.

Share files directly from the system interface, giving guest access for your recipients to download files over a secure connection. You can also set the recipient’s permissions, folder/file expiration and the specific notifications you want to get regarding the shared files. Rubex also automatically maintains a history of your documents’ lifespan, including what changes were made, when and who did it. This proactively saves all the fine print needed for future audit trails.

Pricing: Rubex has 3 pricing plans billed annually:

  • Advantage Plan starts at $55 per month per user
  • Business Plan starts at $99 per month per user
  • Unlimited Plan starts at $199 per month per user

Mobile App? Yes. Available for iOS and Android

4. Best for Ease of Use: M-Files

Easy document management is crucial for business efficiency, and M-Files delivers exactly that by automating core business processes and workflows. M-Files is device- and platform-independent — you can install it on-premises, in the Cloud or as a hybrid solution. M-Files also helps you remain compliant and cruise through audits with process and document management capabilities designed for organizations with strict quality and compliance needs.

With M-Files, you don’t have to worry about system migration since it lets your employees continue working with your business’ existing systems, using the user interface of those applications to access and manage information. This world-class collaboration lets you work seamlessly with applications like Teams, Salesforce CRM and Google G Suite.

Pricing: Contact M-Files for pricing information

Mobile App? Yes. Available for iOS and Android

5. Best for Customization: Confluence

If your business is constantly expanding, upgrading to Confluence can provide the much-needed customization — it’s for teams of any size and type. Dubbed as a workspace where collaboration and knowledge meet, its intuitive structure makes the creation, setup and discovery of documents easy.

Everything in Confluence is organized in pages and spaces. The pages give you a place to create, capture and collaborate on any idea or project while spaces help your entire team organize, structure and share work so that every member gains institutional knowledge as well as access to the information they need to be productive.

Confluence also provides direct integration with a host of other document management tools such as Dropbox and Box. It also integrates seamlessly across the Atlassian suite — think Trello and Jira Software.

Pricing: Confluence has several pricing plans as follows:

  • Free Plan is free for 10 users
  • Standard Plan costs $5 per user
  • Premium Plan costs $10 per user

Mobile App? Yes. Available for iOS and Android

Important Features of Document Management Systems

Most document management systems extend beyond their basic organization and storage of files — their functionality also involves a ton of document-related workflows. Some important features to explore in a document management system include:

  • Powerful search and discovery: An effective document management system helps you find documents and information you’re looking for quickly, whether there are thousands of files. Powerful search features such as filters, instant search suggestions, document identifiers and relationships should let you retrieve relevant content fast.
  • Metadata: Many employees won’t trace a document because it’s been poorly filed or named. In a document management system, since information is tagged with metadata based on what it is, the same information can be searched and found using different criteria. Unique information appears dynamically where it’s needed without duplication.
  • Integrations: Document management systems should integrate with other business systems and repositories — network folders, email, CRM, ERP and others. This way, you can maximize the value of your content with a robust combination of enterprise document management and workflow capabilities, which open up vast opportunities to make your business flow better.
  • Scalability: You should pay attention to the scalability of the document management system you’re looking to select. Beyond your current business needs, find a system that has the advanced features to accommodate change or business growth.
  • Usability: Since a document management system becomes fundamental technology for your business, the user experience should be just as great — with simple-to-use features, easy accessibility and little to no downtime. Employees should also be able to easily manage and navigate files.
  • Security: A document management system isn’t built for file organization alone — it should offer robust security features like data loss prevention, access permission and control features, file encryption at rest and in transit, audit trails, intrusion detection and more.
  • Version control: Version control and tracking features let you see what has changed, who made the change and when it was made. You’ll have access to the latest version of a document.
  • Compliance support: If your business operates in a regulated space, a document management system may help reduce your risk of noncompliance. You can automate audit trails as well as manage information and other workflows according to compliance regulations.
  • Remote work: You can choose a cloud-based document management system that lets your employees or team members access files from anywhere — and often from any device. This supports remote working from any location.

Benefits of Document Management Systems

Besides making work easier, increasing efficiency and saving hours of tedious tasks, the benefits of a document management extend to these.

  • Quick and easy document search: Workers will no longer spend hours searching for a document — a metadata-based document management system makes your document search fast and easy.
  • Increased productivity: Your workers will be more productive in their work when they spend less time searching for documents or tending to repetitive tasks.
  • Increased security: Keeping your information secure and applying dynamic access controls with a document management system reduces information security risk.
  • Enhanced collaboration: A document management system makes collaboration and sharing of information easy, letting your employees access documents from different sources from multiple locations. Users can monitor workflows, share and co-author documents, among others.
  • Improved compliance: The compliance requirements for different business documents can be challenging and sophisticated. A document management system helps you avoid revoked licenses, noncompliance fines or criminal liability.

Cost of Document Management Systems

Price is an important factor when choosing a document management system. Some providers have transparent pricing information on their websites while others prefer to give a customized quote.

Small businesses: $0-$50 per month

Mid-size businesses: $50-$250 per month

Large businesses: Above $250 per month

Which Document Management System Suits your Business?

Your business manages a conglomerate of paper and digital information — multiple information silos and repositories present challenges. What’s more, proper records management has now become a legal imperative.

A document management system can integrate disparate documents for easier access, greater control and automatic archiving. Workflow processes are also optimized with features like search and retrieval, information consolidation, security and collaboration. Hybrid systems offer cloud and analytics to maximize the way organizations capture and control information.

Think about the pain points within your current document management system. Choose a platform that addresses them effectively while fitting your budget seamlessly.