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What is Document Management Software?

Document Management software automates the process of managing documents from creation to storage to distribution throughout an enterprise, increasing efficiency and reducing the cost and clutter of maintaining paper records.


Document Management Software Buyers' Guide

1. What is document management software?

Document management software helps users create, store, and share documents, from standard forms and contracts to one-on-one correspondence. These applications include features such as image capture, document search, and access management that enable users to navigate business documents with ease.


2. The benefits of document management software

Document management solutions can aid in the digital transformation of your business by eliminating the need for manual paperwork.

Listed below are some advantages of using a document management solution:

  • Access documents anywhere and anytime
  • Collaborate through file sharing
  • Safeguard business critical documents from unauthorized access, cybercrime, ransomware, and natural disasters
  • Reduce costs related to storing physical documents

3. Typical features of document management software

Typical Features Description
Document capture Leverage image capture technology to digitize printed documents. Advanced platforms offer optical character reader (OCR) and search functionality.
Document storage Store, access, share, and edit documents in a common platform.
Full text search Search for relevant files and documents by typing keywords into a search box.
Control access/permissions Manage the document access permissions for specific people or a group, and control who can view and/or edit documents.
Collaboration tools Share documents with individuals or a group of people, and allow them to edit and add comments.
Document archive Create a centralized repository for storing confidential and archived data for future reference.
Features w/ descriptions
Document capture: Leverage image capture technology to digitize printed documents. Advanced platforms offer optical character reader (OCR) and search functionality.
Document storage: Store, access, share, and edit documents in a common platform.
Full text search: Search for relevant files and documents by typing keywords into a search box.
Control access/permissions: Manage the document access permissions for specific people or a group, and control who can view and/or edit documents.
Collaboration tools: Share documents with individuals or a group of people, and allow them to edit and add comments.
Document archive: Create a centralized repository for storing confidential and archived data for future reference.

4. The cost of document management software

Most of the products in the market are priced on a “per user, per month” basis, and can be broken down into three pricing tiers based on their starting price.

Price Ranges:
  • $0 - 4
  • $4 - 15
  • $15+

*The pricing included in this list is for the entry-level/lowest-priced offering that was found on vendor websites on August 1, 2018.

The above list includes pricing for the base plans of these products. An enterprise, or premium product, which is priced higher, may include some additional features such as optical character reader (OCR) integration, version control, workflow automation, and document scanning.


5. Considerations when purchasing document management software

  • Integration capabilities: To make optimal use of a document management solution, users need to integrate it with other key business systems such as accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), HR, and accounting solutions. These integrations not only help you leverage the document storage and sharing capabilities that are offered in the document management system, but also allow you to conduct a company-wide document text search. For example, a document management software integration with an accounting solution helps users index and store accounting and financial documents, which proves helpful in accessing documents during internal or external audits.

  • Data security: Small businesses face external data-security threats (such as hacking and data breaches) as well as internal data-security threats (such as employee theft). And since document management system is the storage house of the important business documents, these are a lot more susceptible to a data breach. To ensure zero data loss, you should ensure that the document management system you select is equipped with the latest security protocols and methodologies. These include 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) security and SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) encryption.

  • Document scanning and imaging needs: Document scanning and imaging helps users by allowing them to scan paper documents and index them using a set of keywords. Digital storage combined with accurate indexing helps users search for these documents. Some products also offer optical character recognition (OCR), which helps users convert handwritten documents into a digital format. Buyers who work with a lot of physical documentation should shortlist products that include this functionality.

6. Relevant document management software trends

  • Businesses want tighter integrations between project management software and document management software: Collaborations span across different teams within a business. To improve operational efficiency, businesses are moving towards unified tools that save time and effort in toggling between different tools. For this reason, businesses are looking to integrate their project management system with document management system, enabling users to share documents while working on a project.

  • Mobile is the future of document management: With an increase in the use of mobile devices, it’s a priority for small businesses to have mobile capabilities. We can expect vendors to offer more and more mobile services such as mobile responsive interfaces, mobile apps, and client portals.

Sources

The pricing ranges are calculated from the products listed in the Capterra Top 20 report. Products with freemium pricing models are excluded from evaluation. Features are highlighted on the basis of their importance and relevance, and standard feature offerings by vendors in the document management software directory.

The following sources were used for this document:

  1. Capterra Top 20 - Most Popular, Capterra (Date accessed: August 1, 2018)
  2. 3 Project Management Trends Small Businesses Need to Know About, Software Advice (Date accessed: August 1, 2018)
  3. Top 5 Tech Trends for Small Business, Capterra (Date accessed: August 1, 2018)
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