Once your organization reaches a certain size, you can't rely on the traditional files-and-folders document management system that everyone used in the 20th century. Now that more companies are working remotely and more people are mobile, it's important to have a document management system that takes advantage of cloud-based and broadband technology.
Cloud document management solutions allow organizations to share information with their employees, ensuring that everyone has the latest, most up-to-date information and has ready access to the latest policies and best practices.
But how do you pick the right solution for your organization? In this article, we'll cover the top 10 document management solutions and help you figure out which ones will work for your type of organization.
Top 10 document management solutions
There are several document management solutions to choose from. Here are the 10 we see the most in our work.
Microsoft SharePoint is a general system for document storage and management. Because it's part of Microsoft, it integrates easily with the various Office products, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
It's a centralized storage system that allows for collaboration and sharing, as well as mobile accessibility. It has full functionality and different access levels, so you can be sure that everyone is accessing only the information they're supposed to.
On the downside, while SharePoint is quite robust, it takes a lot of setup, which means you'll need help from a developer, if not an entire team of developers, to be able to customize the platform. You may need to hire a specific SharePoint developer to make the software function for your usage.
2. Google Drive/G Suite
Google Drive/G Suite is a cloud-based document management system that essentially works as a replacement for Office. It has its own word processor, spreadsheet, slide deck creator, and other apps like a website creator, a sketching/painting program, and mind mapping, just to name a few. G Suite is the paid upgrade to Google Drive, and it's recommended for organizations with more than two employees.
G Suite lets you share documents folders across a company-wide account, specifying which people get access to those assets. For example, HR could have their own folders that aren't even visible to the Marketing people, and vice versa.
You can have unlimited storage and users, track changes in documents, and create automated approval workflows. Combine G Suite with a service like Zapier or IFTTT, and you can add additional automation features.
Box for Business is another centralized cloud-based storage system for small businesses. It's a basic server that integrates with Adobe, Slack, G Suite, Office 365, and other applications. You can collaborate with others, synchronize any changes, and even compare version histories to compare old and new versions of documents.
You can even open and review documents within Box, so you don't need to download them before reading or editing them. You just need to add Box Edit to be able to do that.
On the downside, it takes that additional function just to edit documents. This is already baked into things like Google Drive and other document management systems. Box also was not made for managing accreditation or audits, and it can't track employee training.
Box is suitable for storing documents and making them readily available, but if you need policy management software or document management storage that's more than, well, a cardboard box, then Box is not the ideal system for you.
Dokkio is a document management solution that brings all your files together in a single web interface, whether they're stored in DropBox, Box, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive, as well as documents shared in Slack or via a Gmail message.
You can search for different documents across the entire Dokkio platform all at once, including based on their business context. You can also organize files based on tags that you can convert to categories or business contexts later on. And Dokkio uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to suggest and automatically place files into categories and contexts itself.
Finally, Dokkio lets you transfer files between platforms. Copy a file from Slack to your Google Drive accounts without downloading it to your computer first.
This is only a document management system, though. It doesn't let you manage version control, collaborate, create workflows, or track signatures.
5. Rubex by eFileCabinet
Rubex's platform offers a number of different features, including secure file sharing, as well as encryption, which they partnered with another provider to offer. Rubex also offers version control, saving all versions of documents as they are edited; integrations with Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, and SalesForce; user-level access; and a mobile application.
You can also track changes through the audit log, which shows every action taken by every user, with a date and time stamp. At the Business or Unlimited pricing levels, Rubex also has manager and admin approvals and workflow automation.
On the plus side, the interface is easy to use as it resembles an email inbox and is navigated in the same way. On the downside, new users may need some extra time and training to grasp different parts of the interface.
6. VIENNA Advantage
VIENNA Advantage is an open-source document management software platform with a wide, wide variety of features and functions beyond simple document management, including document management, ERP, CRM, and business intelligence. As a corporate-wide solution, this provides nearly every back-office function, including accounting, material management, purchasing, and warehouse management.
In its document management solutions, you can add documents through a variety of methods, including email, scanner, web services, and bulk upload. You can search documents through different attributes or metadata. And you can "check out" documents to make edits and changes before anyone else can. That makes simultaneous collaboration a little difficult (see Google Drive), but it does prevent the multiple and contradictory changes that come with several people working on their own copies of an individual document. Finally, you can use workflow automation to route documents to the correct folders based on their metadata.
On the downside, because VIENNA Advantage is open-source, it doesn't have the conventional implementation assistance or tech support you might need. However, it has a community of 14,000 users available to help you solve problems. That doesn't help you if you need training and dedicated troubleshooting, but it does allow you to draw on a variety of experts to guide you.
Onehub is a cloud-based document sharing and editing solution that lets you organize your company's knowledge and information.
Onehub offers drag-and-drop uploading, which means you can bulk upload documents or even entire folders. Drag the contents of an entire drive, and Onehub will use its secure FTP (file transfer protocol) to upload everything and keep the original folder structure. Onehub also has security features like role-based permissions, audit trails, and session timeouts. You can also collaborate with colleagues by adding Microsoft Office Online or Google Drive integration.
On the downside, there is no signature tracking to show who has read and agreed to certain policies (a non-negotiable for a policy management solution). There are some workflow automation tools, but nothing that shows when employees have read and received new updates. There are also no compliance tracking options for companies to see if people have read necessary policies.
M-Files is known for its intuitive interface because it mirrors the Windows user interface, which means most users will require very little training to get acquainted with the system. It also includes image scanning and OCR, which means you can upload old paper-based files into the system and make them as easily accessible as newly created digital files.
M-Files also lets you automate certain workflows, such as reviewing and approving contracts or new file categorization. Its version control keeps track of each document's history, including who opened it last, when they did it, and what changes they made. The user permission settings allows different access levels based on a person's position with a company. Finally, you can share documents with colleagues without sending email attachments each time a document is updated, and you can transfer Microsoft Outlook email attachments directly to your M-Files drive.
On the downside, since M-Files also uses local storage, such as a user's hard drive, there needs to be software that's installed and permissions given. Depending on the size of your IT department and your company, that can be quite a task. There also doesn't seem to be any way to integrate different types of documents in the same way Dokkio does, which means you can't use Google Drive, Slack, or other methods of adding documents.
9. Q-Pulse from Ideagen
Q-Pulse helps with document management, co-authoring and review, and even policy management. The policy management solution helps you acknowledge regulatory requirements and then turn those requirements into actionable items.
Colleagues can collaborate on documents, creating new policies, which they can share across the entire organization, selecting user-based access levels, and even manage the documents' version control. Q-Pulse also helps with compliance tracking, so you can help your organization meet the necessary regulatory and governmental requirements.
On the downside, it cannot do document archiving, which means you have to find a different archiving solution for your organization. It also cannot do electronic signature tracking, which means you still need a way of keeping track of who has read any new policies and who has completed certain training.
The PowerDMS policy management platform helps you create a living connection between your policies, training, and accreditation. The cloud-based system allows for policy creation and collaboration, version control, organization-wide distribution, mobile functionality for 24/7 access, signature tracking, and more.
Because PowerDMS was created with the public service sector in mind, it can also manage a variety of content, such as subpoenas, BOLOs, memos, maps, and directives. It can also manage new policies and procedures for healthcare, municipalities, fire/EMS, and businesses in general. It also offers implementation assistance, online training, and a U.S.-based customer service team with a 97% customer satisfaction rating.
The PowerDMS platform offers centralized storage accessible through a variety of devices; automated workflows that include real-time notifications, signature tracking, and automatic distribution; version control and side-by-side comparisons; and integrations with Microsoft Office and Adobe products like PDFs.
On the downside, PowerDMS is not a content provider, pulling in industry and agency articles on best practices. But we do have content partners that can provide that kind of information, letting you subscribe to relevant policy content from a variety of publishers.
What's the best document management software?
Of course, we're a little biased, but we can give you some guidance on which document management software is going to suit your particular organization.
First of all, does your organization need any assistance with policy management and/or compliance? If you have certain regulations and laws you have to follow, and you're required to be accredited to demonstrate your compliance, then you need something beyond document management software.
If your organization is not concerned with the urgency and criticality of policy updates and their distribution and tracking, you could use regular document management software. In this case, you only need a repository to store all of your information.
If you're not accredited but you want to keep employees accountable to best practices (say, a manufacturing facility, software development, or even retail chains), or if you might pursue accreditation eventually, it's better to consider a policy management solution so you can grow into the system.
If you need anything beyond a basic document management solution like Onehub, Box, or Google Drive, PowerDMS can help you figure out what features you need. For more information, contact us today or schedule a free demo.