Last updated yesterday

🏆 Best Document Management Systems for August 2021

Streamline your business documents by reducing paper and using eco-friendly alternatives such as a document management system. With an app or software, you can now receive, track, manage, and store your documents in secure and centralized storage.

What is document management? 

Do you want a stress-free relationship with all your files? Keep calm because help is on its way! A document management software is the best solution to store all your files and projects. This provides you easy access and tracking to give you convenience and efficiency in your workspace. It’s perfect for teams and even individuals to create and collaborate effectively.

Why do you need document management? 

Whether you’re in a corporate, business, or freelancing industry, document management is crucial to get the work done correctly. Having an effective document management system in place for all your files will help you track document revisions and collaborate with others in a very secure workspace. Here are some benefits you can enjoy when you utilize one:

Lessen Physical Storage Space

Enjoy a much sleeker and minimalist workspace with the use of document management systems. You no longer have to deal with poring over hard copies of files stored in huge cabinets or boxes. It’s also a great way to go paper-free and reduce paper trails that can easily be misplaced or lost.

Improve Collaboration

Work with your team seamlessly by utilizing a free document management system that’ll save you time working on multiple projects. This is also great for remote teams or individuals sharing files and documents to multiple sources and regardless of location. It also allows you to make modifications without any difficulty

Enhance Security

Your documents and files should be managed accordingly, especially if they contain sensitive information. It’s critical for businesses and organizations to use the best document management software—to ensure that users are given the right access. This will prevent unauthorized users from breaching any documents.

Better Organization

The great thing about using a DMS (document management system) is it creates a better document management workflow for everyone in the team. It solves misplacement issues since all the files are already in one system. You can also categorize and label your files accordingly to ensure that all your projects are in the right place

Reliable Backup and Recovery

Living in the digital age certainly has its benefits. Now, you don’t have to worry about natural calamities affecting hard copy files and documents. You can easily store them on your DMS, which will make tracking a lot easier. This also prevents any loss of important files with a recovery backup plan installed.

Technical and User Support

Encountering downtimes and glitches are common issues you’ll encounter when you adapt a DMS. There’s no such thing as perfect software that can provide smooth operations 24/7. However, you get full professional technical support for any functionality issue you may experience. Technical teams are available to assist you efficiently 24/7

Core features of a document management

Organizations and businesses should adapt to industry changes to meet the high demands of clients. When coping with the workload, it’s essential to invest in an open-source document management system. Check out some amazing features that you’ll get to use an enterprise document management software:

Admin Controls Setup

Stay in control of your document management by setting up your system according to your organizational policies. You can customize user information and permissions to ensure that you can manage user access securely. It’s also a hassle-free setup where you don’t need to do any tedious organization.

Advanced Analytics

The quality of your business document management lies in how you maximize the use of your software. Take advantage of audit trails where you get notifications and alerts when changes are made to a file. You can easily determine the user who made modifications for easy admin tracking. You will get statistical reports to optimize your process fully

Security

Organizations and even individual users like you should be keen on practicing secure transactions and processes to safeguard your data. Even with document management software free, you have peace of mind over data privacy. Security measures may include encryption in transit, two-factor authentication, and server failure recovery

Sync From Desktop

Open-source document management systems give accessibility to sync files from your desktop. Whether you’re transferring or backing up large files, you’re ensured that the work gets done through an effective software solution. You have the liberty to work on your files either offline or online without any worry about project completion.

Cloud Storage

Embrace the paper-free movement as you transition into an electronic document management system. It’s a great relief to work with fewer physical paper trails once all your files are uploaded in a central cloud location. You can upload, share, organize, and store all your files with amazing convenience with friends or team members.

Share and Collaborate

Become more productive with your team using an online document management system. This feature is truly beneficial, especially for remote teams working in different locations. You’d still be able to work on your projects through group sharing and in-app chat features. You can also set up tasks and reminders, so everyone’s on the loop

Customer Support

Working with a DMS may be difficult at first when you transition; however, many companies already offer multichannel customer support. This makes it easier to get expert assistance from their team that will address your concerns right away. They also provide training and easy access to their knowledge base

Integrations

You can take advantage of a document management software open source to optimize your business solutions. Some DMS offer integrations with apps, software, or tools that may already be a part of your business ecosystem, making it easier to adapt to. This can improve your client relations processes as well to ease the workload

Types of document management systems

Every company or organization needs a systematized document management tool to organize all files coming in and out. You deal with a substantial amount of documents to operate your business, making it necessary to invest in the right system. If you’re looking for a free document management software, here are some types of it:

Cloud-Based Systems

This enables storing and accessing files in the cloud which makes it easier to manage documents from any device anywhere you may be. It also comes with a very affordable subscription, which makes it accessible for startups. It’s also the reason why this is the most popular choice among companies.

Pro #1: Customization

You won’t need a professional IT team to work on installation since the software does all of this for you. It comes with very affordable subscription rates depending on storage preference and the number of users. This type of system is also very flexible and can be customized according to your needs.

Con #1: Downtimes

The only downside with a cloud-based system is you are at the mercy of your DMS provider. Experiencing downtimes is inevitable and may affect the flow of your business processes. Although such problems could be minor, it’s one thing to be aware of because it might have a huge impact on your business.

On-Premise Document Management System

This type of system allows you to store and manage your documents on your own servers. Since it’s built into your own location, the sole responsibility will fall on your shoulders for proper security and maintenance. You access it without an internet connection so you can easily access your files

Pro #1: Control 

You’re in control of your server’s overall storage, maintenance, and security, which offers more peace of mind.

Pro #2: Customization

You can get it customized based on your needs, so it’s more suitable to work with.

Pro #3: Offline Access

You can also access your files even though you’re offline, which is a great plus.

Con #1: Costly

This particular system takes a big investment to build and can be too costly.

Con #2: Requires Experts

You may need internal or outsourced technical support, which is also a big chuck out of your budget. If you don’t specialize in software development, it’s better to opt-out of this

Database Document Management System

This is considered as a document management system open source that uses Structured Query Language. It’s a database system where you can manage and store files using a web browser. It’s great with its ease and flexibility of use, quick processing, and proven reliability.

Pro #1: Open-Source

This kind of system is great for startups because it’s open-source document management. If you’re still establishing your freelance business or company startup, this is your best option. It’s free and very accessible online so it’s easy to set up.

Con #1: Potential Security Issues

Since this is a database system stored and managed through the web, it might not be conducive to legally binding documents. It’s also important to be aware of such technicalities to prevent any mishaps. Since you’ll be working on a digital space, be mindful of the security of your files.

Web-Based Document Management System

Web-based systems are where you can store and generate information through a web browser. This kind of system has been around the market for a long time already and constantly developed to adapt to the changing times. It’s also very easy to use for a lot of companies due to its accessibility

Pro #1: Easy Access

The great advantage of using web-based systems is its easy access and efficiency. This is perfect for individuals and organizations who are in remote locations for ease of collaboration.

Pro #2: Economical

It’s also very affordable and suitable for any company size, including startups.

Con #1: Downtimes

You may be dependent on the provider if you experience any downtimes. Although technological advancements are constantly developed, downtimes and failures are common issues to be dealt with. This might not be the best choice if your business processes demand continuous workflow

Legal Document Management System

Law firms need their own document management software to manage all the files and documents that go through their legal department. In choosing the right system, it must follow through with the industry standards and guidelines. Handling policy documents and client files must be handled with utmost sensitivity to ensure data privacy control.

Pro #1: Security Encryption 

Having proper legal document management software gives you security over the files and documents you manage. This could make life easier in maintaining industry compliance and meet standard expectations. The encryption process is also vital to ensure that files are properly protected.

Con #1: Training Required

Since security is your topmost priority here, legal practitioners may need to be trained extensively. It’s essential to be knowledgeable of the features to utilize the software properly. This will help them secure legal files and documents to prevent any breach of data privacy

Enterprise Document Management System

Enterprise Document Management (EDM) is a wider component of a wider system called enterprise content management. It is a strategy to monitor electronic and paper documents, so you’ll quickly retrieve files for subpoena cases, audits, or compliance requests.

Pro #1: Extensive Features

There are software companies that offer enterprise editions for their products and services. This allows you to run a full-featured web-office hosted on your own servers. This gives you the infrastructure needed to build on your digital organization through a secure installation without breaking a sweat for effort.

Con #1: Costly

Hosting through your servers could be a big factor for you budget-wise. Building an infrastructure of servers takes up not just IT intelligence and technical team but also costly maintenance. You need to consider your needs and weigh your options if this is the right kind of DMS you want to go with.

Who needs document management?

Startup Companies

Are you worried about putting a chunk of your budget into a DMS while you’re still starting out? Some DMS offer free subscriptions that can get you started. A startup needs to have the right tools to lay the foundation of their groundwork so that business growth won’t be too complicated to manage moving forward

Small-Medium Businesses

Small to medium businesses need an effective management system, especially with all the paperwork expected to pile up. If you’ve slowly established your business, it’s all the more reason to streamline your systems and solutions in place. This will give you more opportunities to focus on scaling your business for growth and expansion.

Enterprise Companies

Even companies that have already large numbers of employees and expanded branches will require a proper DMS. Dealing with huge teams can be difficult to manage, especially when working on collaborative projects. There must be an effective system in place that’ll provide everyone easy access to files and docs in an organized workspace.

Real Estate Companies

Imagine the number of documents that come with selling a property and having to deal with it multiple times. As a real estate agent, you must keep an organized workspace that aligns with your business processes, or you could lose out on a sale. Better management of the necessary documents will be beneficial to your business.

Banking Services

Customers need banking solutions that are fast, efficient, and, most of all, secure. You can provide better customer service by getting rid of time-consuming financial paperwork. You can easily transition your services with the help of an advanced DMS that targets your requirements and meet standard regulations.

Legal Firms

Legal departments have it tough, especially with the cutthroat competition in the industry. They must have the best system that can keep up with their legal processes. Record tracking and filing ensure that you can account for every piece of document. It streamlines your document management workflow to ensure efficiency.

Financial Services

Handling the financial portfolios of clients can be tedious, which will need attention to detail. Financial professionals are involved in the most demanding and time-consuming work. As such, all the information you received should be handled securely to meet all regulations and compliance standards.

Emergency Services

In such a fast-paced industry, there’s certainly no room for error that could compromise the care given to patients. Providing quick and efficient quality healthcare is a must for emergency care providers. To ensure that immediate care is provided, proper management of medical records should already be taken care of

Government Agencies

Security risk runs high in handling government-related documents that are full of sensitive information. Government agencies at any level should guarantee maximum data protection and privacy for all files to avoid any breach of security. You can prevent all these security and theft hazards by using a DMS that can meet federal standards.

Healthcare Institutions

More than any corporate setup, healthcare facilities deal with an overwhelming amount of paperwork and documents. Without an organized system to manage all the files, it could create challenges that might impact the service provided to patients. Medical experts should adapt to effective DMS, so they can focus more on their clinical work.

Educational Institutions

Keeping an organized file system for educational institutions can take up a lot of space and effort. You can manage all that seamlessly without the need to pore over large filing cabinets that consume space. School administrators should see to it that document management won’t pose an issue in providing efficient service to students and staff.

Logistics Services

Handling logistics and transportation services can be challenging with all the paper trail required. You can easily simplify your logistic processes by utilizing a DMS that can solve your paperwork. It could save you tons of money for budgeting, reducing clutter in your workspace, and saving you from the hassle of dealing with tons of paperwork.

Insurance Services

Your clients rely on you to provide assistance once they process claims and withdrawals. It’s very important to give them peace of mind by working with a DMS that guarantees legal compliance and meets security regulations. You’d have a better customer retention rate once your processes are streamlined to fit the needs of your clients.

Construction Industry

Construction operations can be challenging and demanding if you don’t adapt to modern technology. Keeping up with contractor information, bid documents, and other related projects will take up too much of your time. It’s highly recommended to go digital and be more in control of the growth of your construction business.

Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturers are expected to constantly change with the times to cater to the needs of the consumers. In this ever-changing industry, being organized with your data is crucial to stay ahead of the competition. Manufacturing companies need to keep up with the demands of the industry and offer the best products to consumers.

Retail Chains

Running retail stores can be rewarding when you have the right tool in place for filing and organization. You don’t want to lose out on sales and commissions because of missing inventory lists and reports now, do you? Say goodbye to all the stress work brought by piles and piles of bills, receipts, and paperwork with an effective DMS.

Human Resources

Every HR personnel’s nightmare is a long and tedious recruitment process. Simplify your recruitment by transitioning all your paperwork into a seamless system. This will improve your business processes without sacrificing quality recruitment on your end. You’d be much more effective in selecting the right candidates fit for your organization.

Freelancers

Even freelancers doing business online need digital document management that will solve their content creation process. This provides an organized system where they can work on more partnerships and collaboration projects effectively. It’s really an essential tool for individuals who rely on digital work for their stream of income

Step-by-step guide in finding the right document management tool

Step1: Define your objectives.

To choose the right document management system, you must define your goals as a user. Whether you’re an individual or a team managing documents, set proper objectives to establish the system’s purpose. It could be to increase productivity, to ensure compliance with all regulations, or to reduce paper consumption; you make the call.

Step 2: Check references.

It’s always helpful to check out reliable sources so you can get feedback and insights from their personal experience. If you’re a freelancer who needs personal document management software, ask some colleagues in the industry for some suggestions. You’ll get a lot more scope on the web, too, especially with comparison sites.

Step 3: Identify requirements.

Once you’ve established your goals in using a DMS, it’s now time to evaluate what solution will be fitting for your organization. Will you require role-based permissions and access? Should the system be easily accessible for remote teams? Is the recovery plan fit your preference? These are the questions that might help you identify your needs.

Step 4: Check free trials.

Looking to test out free personal document management software? Check for available trial periods or promos. This gives you the opportunity to check out the features and services offered by the software. Once you’ve tried them out, you’ll have a better perspective on the solutions they offer and what matches your requirements

Step 5: Determine budget. 

Getting the best document management software certainly comes with a price, especially if you want all-around access to the features provided. Once you’ve set your objectives, you can now assess your budget for the tool to pick one that’s a match for your needs. Weigh the pros and cons to guarantee that you get the full value of what you pay for.

Step 6: Get in touch with a representative.  

To grasp what a DMS can do for your business, consult with a rep. They can thoroughly explain the features and price points so you get a clear perspective of what you’re getting. With support reps, getting started won’t be as overwhelming and challenging for your entire team.

Step 7: Ensure transition. 

Once you’ve finally chosen a DMS, getting started will be the hardest part. Make sure that everybody’s ready for the system roll-out to guarantee that teams are using it effectively. The transition won’t be easy, so engage your team in training to easily adapt to this new workflow. Soon enough, the collaboration will become easier and more seamless.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes, going paper-free might be an overwhelming thought. But once you transition your documents into software, it will be easy and hassle-free. Know the perfect type of document management software beforehand to match the requirements with your workflow.

There are plenty of document management systems that can be integrated with popular productivity tools and solutions. It makes it easier to work on your projects and manage your files all in one ecosystem. It saves you more time to get things done and increases efficiency so you can focus on other business matters as well.

The great thing about document management software solutions is that they offer enough support for their customers. Check out training and knowledge centers on the website of your chosen DMS for more information. These platforms provide the best learning for individuals and teams who want to make the most of the tool.

Generally, the most common payment options are through credit cards. Other software companies accept cash, check, or money transfers as payment methods. However, you can check with your chosen DMS to discuss what’s suitable for you.

Typically, any scanned image or computer-generated file is storable in your DMS. However, some do offer advanced features that are beneficial if your business processes require upgraded systems. It makes business transactions more organized and thorough once it’s uploaded into your system.

Software companies that offer document management usually have multi-channel support that you can rely on. This makes it easier to get in touch with a representative through their live chat, email, or phone numbers. They can deliver efficient solutions to any of your business needs through their professional support teams.

It’s important to determine your goal as a consumer of a DMS and your standpoint as a business owner as well. Subscription plans vary depending on your choice of DMS. It’s important to check the scope of your usage to ensure that it will serve you with the best functionality and automate business processes conveniently.

Some software companies will require you to purchase a license to activate the system in your organization. The purpose of a license is it can be installed on many devices—allowing many users to access the system. If you’re still undecided on what type of DMS to start with, you can check out free trial periods.

Most software companies offer Admin Controls to guarantee that organizational policies and securities are met. This is very effective because you can limit access to users and grant role-based permissions. At the end of the day, you have total control over user information and permissions.

You can ask your DMS provider which web services they’re using to ensure that they offer reliable cloud infrastructure. It’s highly recommended, though—to create a backup of all data you stored in the cloud to stay secured and protected. This gives you more peace of mind without having to compromise.

There’s no limit to the files and documents you can add once you implement a document management system. It would all depend on your storage on the cloud or servers’ capacity. You can contact your chosen software provider for custom arrangements.