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Document management software—or DMS software for short—is the modern way to organize your company’s digital files.
These tools eliminate the need for storing paper documents in physical drawers and filing cabinets. They also make it easy for your entire team to collaborate and access files from any location.
Think of DMS software as an electronic archive of your documents. Permissioned users can access, view, and edit these files in real-time.
With both cloud services and on-premises solutions available in this category, businesses of all sizes and budget levels can find DMS software to accommodate their needs. From small businesses to enterprises and everything in between, this guide will help you find the best document management software for your organization.
The Best Document Management Software Options to Consider:
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Document Management Software
Any business that’s aiming to go paperless should be investing in document management software. These tools make it easier to keep your digital files organized at scale.
It’s also a great option for businesses that have outgrown popular cloud storage solutions (like Dropbox or Google Drive). Technically, these tools would fall into the DMS category as well, but they don’t have the advanced features you need to manage documents at a higher level.
Google Drive and Dropbox are fine for personal use (I use them myself), but for business purposes, they just don’t offer as much as a true document management software.
In addition to the simple storage and collaboration features offered by DMS tools, you’ll also benefit from enhanced security, regulatory compliance, advanced workflows, version controls, and more.
Even if you’re not going fully paperless, any business with a significant number of online documents can benefit from document management software.
For individuals and really small teams managing basic documents, using a cloud storage tool like Dropbox is fine. But when you’re ready to scale, and your needs become more advanced, upgrade to a true DMS software.
#1 – ONLYOFFICE Review — Best For Team Collaboration
ONLYOFFICE is a popular productivity suite that includes a wide range of tools for document management and team collaboration.
This platform offers both simple and advanced solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
There’s a basic version called ONLYOFFICE Docs, which is designed for spreadsheets, documents, and presentations for individual use and small teams. But most of you will lean towards ONLYOFFICE Groups. This version comes with modules for DMS, email, CRM, project management, calendar, and more.
It’s a popular choice for SMBs, enterprises, healthcare providers, research teams, nonprofits, educational institutions, developers, and government organizations.
You’ll benefit from tools and features like:
- Ability to store and access files from anywhere
- Supports text documents, spreadsheets, PDF, presentations, and multimedia files
- Advanced document permissions
- Version and reversion controls
- Document embedding
- Easy integrations
- Free desktop and mobile apps
Most people choose to use the cloud version of ONLYOFFICE. But enterprises typically run the software on their own servers with an on-premises deployment.
You can try ONLYOFFICE for free with an industry-leading 180-day trial.
#2 – Rubex by eFileCabinet Review — Best Document Management Features
Rubex by eFileCabinet is a simple solution for document management. This powerful software helps businesses across a wide range of industries save time and improve efficiency.
If you’re looking for a feature-rich DMS solution built specifically for your industry, department, or pain point, look no further than Rubex.
Something that makes Rubex a bit unique compared to other DMS software is its use-case specific solutions. They provide DMS for accounting departments, IT departments, HR, legal teams, and more. Rubex serves various industries, including real estate, automotive, construction, insurance, oil & gas, healthcare, government, and transportation. This really shows how versatile Rubex can be.
In addition to its versatility, Rubex comes loaded with DMS features:
- Custom automated workflows
- Missing item search
- Dual screen preview
- Instant sign in and access links
- Secure sharing tools
- Email import
- File request
- Governance rules
- Powerful templates
- Advanced version controls
The list goes on and on. Overall, the software is powerful and trustworthy. Plans start at $55 per month per user. They even offer an unlimited storage plan, which starts at $199.
Rubex is available in the cloud or on-premise. Request a free demo to try it out.
#3 – Microsoft SharePoint — The Best For Cross-Channel Collaboration
Microsoft is a name that most of us are familiar with. So it should come as no surprise to see this industry leader rank so high on our list.
SharePoint gives business users the ability to manage content and applications while seamlessly collaborating across their entire organization.
Microsoft SharePoint takes document management to the next level. In addition to file sharing and document storage, your team will also be able to share resources, news, and data related to departments and projects.
The software makes it easy for you to work with people within your organization while securely granting access to users outside of your business as well.
SharePoint works on PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.
Over 200,000 organizations rely on Microsoft SharePoint, including big names like Goodyear Tires, Hershey’s, Qantas Airlines, and NASCAR. Overall, it’s used by 190+ million users for content management, making it one of the most popular DMS solutions on our list.
Plans start at just $5 per user per month. You can get SharePoint on its own or included with a Microsoft 365 subscription. For on-premises deployment, consider SharePoint Server. Try it with Office 365; free for 30 days.
#4 – Fluix Review — The Best Document Management Automations
Fluix is an all-in-one solution for document management and workflow automation. Teams across all industries are using this platform to optimize their business process.
More than 328,000 users rely on Fluix to manage 4.5+ million documents.
You can use Fluix to store documents, manage and distribute the latest versions, and control project documentation in real-time. The workflow automation features are a popular solution for use cases like field service work, sales, and training.
Popular features available with a Fluix subscription include:
- Ability to edit and sign PDF documents
- Remote signature collection
- Bulk web signing
- Pre-configured document routing
- New file alerts
- Document distribution
- Single-step workflows
- Multi-step workflows
- Account roles and user permissions
- User groups
- Cloud storage and third-party storage
- 2FA and SSO
For those of you seeking an all-in-one solution for cloud storage, e-signature, centralized access control, workflow automation, and file management, Fluix should be on your shortlist.
Subscriptions start at $20 per user per month (with a 10-user minimum). Try it free for 14 days.
#5 – M-Files Review — The Most Versatile Document Management Software
M-Files is one of the most popular and reputable solutions in the document management space.
The software is trusted by businesses of all sizes across industries like manufacturing, financial services, real estate, construction, engineering, and more. Global enterprises and small businesses throughout 100+ countries rely on M-Files for document management.
M-Files is metadata driven, intelligent, and repository neutral. In simple terms, this means that you can always find your data based on what it is, as opposed to where it’s located. So you and your team can locate exactly what you’re looking for instead of wasting time sorting through folders and files.
This software makes it easy for you to automate workflows and collaborate with your team as well.
You can install M-Files in the cloud, on-site, or as a hybrid solution. It works from anywhere, with any device.
As an enterprise-grade solution, you’ll need to contact the M-Files team for a quote. You can request a demo and try it free for 30 days.
#6 – VIENNA Advantage Review — The Best Document Management Software For Enterprises
VIENNA Advantage is a bit unique compared to some of the other solutions on our list.
It’s actually not branded as a document management software, but rather an enterprise-level commercial ERP/CRM. But the software does come with built-in tools for document management and business intelligence.
Let’s take a closer look at the features and benefits you’ll get with VIENNA Advantage:
- Enterprise-grade workflow management
- Business process management
- Secure encryption of documents
- Advanced automations
- Powerful search
- Indexing and OCR (optical character recognition)
- Digital signature integration
- Version controls
For larger organizations and enterprises that want document management software fully integrated with an ERP and CRM solution, look no further than VIENNA Advantage.
Try it free for 30 days.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Document Management Software
There are certain factors that must be taken into consideration as you’re shopping around and evaluating DMS software. This is the methodology that I used to come up with the top picks above. You can use this as well to figure out which features matter the most based on your business and personal needs.
The first thing you need to evaluate is where your documents will be stored.
Generally speaking, DMS software is offered one of two ways—cloud or on-premises. You’ll notice that some platforms give you a choice between the two, while others just offer one or the other.
Cloud deployment will be the best option for most companies. This gives you and your staff the ability to access your documents from anywhere. But organizations with strict security standards may need to consider on-site deployment. In this case, all of the files will be stored on your local network.
Collaboration and Sharing Features
Document storage is just one small component of DMS software. Team collaboration is another crucial aspect.
Can team members collaborate and edit files in real-time? Are you able to manage version controls over your documents? How can you manage the permission levels for users accessing those documents? Will you be able to share files with external users outside of your company?
These are the types of questions that you should be asking yourself and taking into consideration as you’re shopping around. If you need to use other third-party tools to edit, share, and collaborate, it kind of defeats the purpose of using document management software.
Mobile Access and Ease of Use
Most of the best document management solutions come with a dedicated mobile app. This will give you and your team access to the documents from anywhere, which can definitely be useful in today’s day and age.
It’s also worth noting that all DMS software is not created equally in terms of usability. Some tools are undoubtedly better than others.
You need to find the balance between software that’s easy to use but is still robust enough to accommodate your needs. Some of the easier tools may not be comprehensive enough to do everything you want. So take advantage of free trials and demos to test the usability.
Workflow automation would be considered an advanced DMS software feature.
For example, you could set up a workflow where certain types of documents are automatically sent to a specific role within the organization upon upload. Those users would receive a notification if an action (such as e-signature) is necessary.
At scale, setting up automations can save your organization a ton of time and reduce manual labor. But for those of you looking for basic DMS capabilities, you may not have to worry about this right now.
As always, security should be a top priority for businesses evaluating software. This is especially true for software that contains potentially sensitive information about your company, clients, and employees,
User permissions would fall into this category as well. Admins should be able to grant access to certain groups and individuals. For example, you might want to give your clients access to a folder or document related to the project you’re completing for them. However, that client shouldn’t have access to everything within your DMS software.
What’s the best document management software?
It depends on what you’re looking for. The best option for me might not be the best for you and your business.
Use the top picks reviewed in this guide to steer you in the right direction. Follow the methodology that I’ve described above to help narrow down your options.