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Updated Jun 28, 2024

Best Document Management Software and Systems of 2024

Our picks for the best document management systems can improve the way you archive, edit, and create documents for your business.

author image
Nicole Fallon, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Analyst
Verified Check With BorderEditor Reviewed
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Editor Reviewed
This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.
Best for Automation and Workflows
Revver (formerly eFileCabinet)
  • Requires a custom quote
  • Up to 20 TB storage capacity
  • No free trial
  • Requires a custom quote
  • Up to 20 TB storage capacity
  • No free trial
Best for Ease of Use
M-Files company logo
  • Requires a custom quote
  • Flexible server-side storage
  • 30-day free trial
  • Requires a custom quote
  • Flexible server-side storage
  • 30-day free trial
Best for Integration
DocuWare logo
  • Requires a custom quote
  • 250 GB to 1 TB storage capacity
  • 30-day free trial
  • Requires a custom quote
  • 250 GB to 1 TB storage capacity
  • 30-day free trial
Best Scalable Solution
FileHold Express
FileHold company logo
  • Requires a custom quote
  • 2 GB to 4 TB storage capacity
  • 30-day free trial
  • Requires a custom quote
  • 2 GB to 4 TB storage capacity
  • 30-day free trial
Best for Mobility
Dropbox Business
Dropbox Business logo
  • Starts at $15 per month per user
  • Starts at 9 TB storage capacity
  • 30-day free trial
  • Starts at $15 per month per user
  • Starts at 9 TB storage capacity
  • 30-day free trial

Table of Contents

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At Business News Daily, we’ve spent years researching and testing the technology that enables entrepreneurs to accomplish their goals and scale their businesses more efficiently. Our team of small business tech specialists conducts independent evaluations of the best technology platforms to determine which best meet the needs of small business owners. We also regularly consult with technology experts. including IT professionals, developers, implementation specialists and cybersecurity professionals, to stay on top of the latest tech trends impacting small businesses. And every review we publish is evaluated by our editorial staff to ensure objectivity, accuracy and fairness are at the core of our decision-making. Learn more about our editorial guidelines.

How We Decided

To determine our picks for the best document management systems, our team of small business tech experts attended product demonstrations, interviewed company representatives and tested the software out for themselves. We considered pricing and available plans before diving in to test the most important features document management systems have to offer. Among those were optical character recognition for scanning documents, automated metadata for organizing files, the ability to create new documents and collaborate on editing them, and third-party integrations with other key business software. We also reviewed customer feedback about each of the companies we considered to help us select our best picks.







To determine our picks for the best document management systems, our team of small business tech experts attended product demonstrations, interviewed company representatives and tested the software out for themselves. We considered pricing and available plans before diving in to test the most important features document management systems have to offer. Among those were optical character recognition for scanning documents, automated metadata for organizing files, the ability to create new documents and collaborate on editing them, and third-party integrations with other key business software. We also reviewed customer feedback about each of the companies we considered to help us select our best picks.







Creating, editing, archiving and retrieving documents securely and reliably is essential for any modern business. However, it can be difficult to keep all the documents your team creates organized and to ensure everyone who needs access to them has it. This problem is further compounded as businesses grapple with potentially upwards of terabytes of data. Document management software allows teams to collaborate with varying levels of access and permission based on their role within the company. The best document control software provides an auditable record of changes over time, as well, including versioning control that enables permitted users to revert to a previous version of a document at any time.

Revver audit trail

Document management software empowers organizations by making it easy to securely track and manage large numbers of files and organizational data. In the image above, a user reviews the audit trail of all actions taken within a specific folder. (Source: Revver)

Document management software is an important tool for any business that can help save time, boost security, ensure regulatory compliance and improve team collaboration. To help you find the best document management software for your business, we assessed various document management services on the market. Whether you’re in need of a simple digital filing cabinet or you need more advanced features like collaboration tools and version control, there’s a document management software out there for you. See our list of the best document management systems for small businesses.

Compare Our Best Picks

BND Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2024
Revver (formerly eFileCabinet)
FileHold Express
Dropbox Business
Best For

Automation and Workflows

Ease of Use





Requires a quote

Four tiers; requires a quote

Requires a quote

Requires a quote

Starts at $15 per month per user

Free Trial


30-day free trial

30-day free trial

30-day free trial

30-day free trial



Flexible; dependent on server-side storage capacity

250GB to 1,000 GB for cloud storage. Custom options also offered.

32GB to 4TB

Starts at 9TB

Review Link
Scroll Table

Our Reviews

  • Starting Price: Requires custom quote
  • Key Features: No-code automation flows; custom templates; zonal optical character recognition; Microsoft Office integration; uneditable, automatic audit trails; easy-assign user roles and permissions.
  • Free Trial: No
Editor's Rating: 9.7/10

Why We Chose Revver

We chose Revver as our top pick for automation and workflows because of its abundant and helpful automation features. We were highly impressed, for example, by its ability to replicate a folder in all linked cabinets when you add a drawer to a cabinet. Revver maintains all roles and permissions of the replicated drawer as in the original, and the platform managed to film in the blanks with no extra effort.

Revver’s governance tools also allow for easy creation of custom automation workflows. These workflows require no-code, and can be used for a range of applications. For instance, this could be used for automatically completing and storing daily reports that require employee action and signatures. This also includes team member notification as well as the final file being automatically saved in the correct location after completion. Overall, Revver’s automations exceeded what we saw in other platforms we reviewed.

Revver workflow creation

Revver features significantly more storage capabilities than any of its rivals while maintaining a host of helpful features. In the image above, a user views the Workflow creation tool which allows for easy-to-use granular rule-setting criteria. (Source: Revver) 

Revver Pricing

Subscription Plan Price Features and Tools
Revver Variable pricing Automation flows; custom templates; access control measures; automatic audit trails; Microsoft Office integration

Revver Pros

  • Revver’s no-code automation and workflow tools are so intuitive that you’ll have no hassle eliminating almost all tedious document management tasks.
  • Revver’s Microsoft 365 integration is among the best DMS and word processing integrations we encountered in our research.
  • Revver’s maximum storage capacity of 20 TB is much higher than what competitors offer.

Revver Cons

  • There isn’t a free trial available, unlike the other vendors we reviewed.
  • Revver has yet to fully roll out its mobile app, so you’ll be limited to a mobile browser view.
  • Given its costs and setup time frame, Revver might not be the best choice for very small businesses.

What Revver Customers Have To Say

Revver customers often praised the company for its workflow, user interface, and easy search mechanisms. However, some complained that it could be slow at times. Revver earned an 8.7/10 on TrustRadius.

Read our full Revver review for more information.

M-Files company logo
  • Starting Price: Requires custom quote
  • Key Features: Image scanning and OCR; workflow automation; version control; user permission settings based on employee role; offline access; file sharing; no-code document automation tool.
  • Free Trial: 30-day free trial
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10

Why We Chose M-Files

M-Files is a comprehensive document management system with an intuitive and easy-to-learn interface. M-Files contains numerous tools that we found helpful for organizing documents seamlessly, digitizing large volumes of physical papers and automating workflow processes. M-Files can also integrate with Parashift, a deep-tech company that specializes in ML document retrieval, so you can accelerate and simplify your document management processes further. Instead of classifying documents and reading data manually, you can process a wide variety of structured, semi-structured and unstructured documents automatically. It’s also a versatile system that can serve a variety of industries, such as accounting, business consulting, construction, engineering, energy, financial services, manufacturing, professional services and real estate.

M-Files home screen

M-Files focuses on an intuitive and easy-to-learn user interface. In the above view, a user can see the Home screen of a sample vault, featuring a browse and search functionality, as well as clearly defined areas for assigned documents and documents checked out by the user. (Source: M-Files)

M-Files Pricing

Subscription Plan Price Features and Tools
M-Files Base Pricing variable On-premise storage; access from desktop, mobile, and web; automated graphical workflows; Microsoft 365 and Teams integrations; external database integration; OCR
M-Files Team Pricing variable Base features; cloud and self-hosted; advanced search; Adobe Sign and DocuSign integration; reporting module; standard support
M-Files Business Pricing variable Team features; M-Files AI capabilities; M-Files connector for copilot; advanced document comparison

M-Files Pros

  • M-Files offers an intuitive, familiar interface; users of Windows File Explorer will quickly pick up navigation and functionality.
  • Users can search documents by metadata and text, allowing for quick identification of key information.
  • The software offers built-in workflow automation to assist in project management and organization, thus saving teams valuable time.

M-Files Cons

  • Although M-Files is accessible on almost any internet-connected device, these devices do not automatically recognize the software.
  • Users will need to install separate software and set permissions to get full functionality across devices.
  • M-Files automatically organizes information by metatags rather than keywords. If you are used to traditional document management and organization systems, you may need time to adjust.

What M-Files Customers Have To Say

M-Files customers often praised the company for its simple interface, straightforward integrations, and its search capabilities. However, some complained about its API integrations for other applications being lacking. M-Files earned a 9.1/10 on TrustRadius.

Read our full M-Files review for more information. 

DocuWare logo
  • Starting Price: Requires custom quote
  • Key Features: Up to 500 different application integrations; smart connect applications to DocuWare; drag-and-drop user interface; AI indexing; version control; onboarding and employee documentation.
  • Free Trial: 30-day free trial
Editor's Rating: 9.6/10

Why We Chose DocuWare

Among the other vendors we reviewed, DocuWare emerged as the top choice for integrations because it offers connections with more than 500 third-party apps — the highest number we encountered during our review of document management systems. DocuWare provides a secure and straightforward method to link your file cabinet with frequently used applications, such as payroll, accounting, and HR software. Users don’t need programming skills to create these integrations—everything is handled with a simple click. Considering the extensive range of integrations and the ease with which even beginners can establish them, we found DocuWare to be the obvious winner.

Docuware document tab

DocuWare has an intuitive document tray to make searching and previewing files easy. In the above view, a user selects a document from the invoices tab in the Document Tab and can immediately see a preview of the document. (Source: DocuWare)

DocuWare Pricing

Subscription Plan Price Features and Tools
Base Variable based on business needs Complete access to all DocuWare’s tools and features; 20 GB storage; four user licenses
Pro Variable based on business needs Complete access to all tools and features; 50 GB storage; 15 user licenses
Enterprise Variable based on business needs Complete access to all tools and features; 100 GB storage; 40 user licenses
Large Enterprise Variable based on business needs Complete access to all tools and features; 250 GB storage; 100 user licenses

DocuWare Pros

  • DocuWare’s software can easily integrate with more than 500 applications — well beyond that of most competitors — including Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint, most CRMs and ERPs, Sage, QuickBooks, Oracle and more.
  • DocuWare integrates with business hardware including document scanners, printers and more.
  • Users can combine their HR management and payroll tools to automate their workflow with digital employee records and forms.

DocuWare Cons

  • DocuWare’s storage allowance could pose a challenge for businesses that require a lot of paperwork.
  • DocuWare’s lack of transparent pricing means businesses cannot budget for the program without first consulting a sales representative for a quote.
  • DocuWare doesn’t have a desktop application for operating systems other than Windows; Mac and Linux users are required to use a web-based application.

What DocuWare Customers Have To Say

DocuWare customers praised the company for its ease of use, good OCR, powerful scanning tools, and wide swath of integrations. However, some noted that the web interface could be slow at times. DocuWare earned an 8.2/10 on TrustRadius.

Read our full DocuWare review for more information. 

FileHold company logo
  • Starting Price: Requires custom quote
  • Key Features: Built-in search functionality; document check-in and checkout; versioning and offline editing; user permissions and restrictions; OCR technology; calendar tools.
  • Free Trial: 30-day free trial
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10

Why We Chose FileHold

FileHold distinguished itself as the top choice for scalability due to its capacity to store millions of documents, given the appropriate hardware configuration to meet your business’s requirements. Companies aiming to expand will appreciate FileHold’s storage capabilities, which range from 32 GB to 4 TB. This substantial capacity enables businesses to grow alongside the software, regardless of size, though larger storage capacities may incur additional fees. While FileHold is ideal for five to 20 users, businesses can easily upgrade to a FileHold Enterprise license to scale up. At the enterprise level, FileHold can support thousands of users, allowing your team to expand significantly while continuing to use the same platform.

FileHold search field

FileHold offers a feature rich experience, including the use of OCR functionality to make scanned paper documents easier to search. Here, a user can easily search through files for the keyword “Hamlet.” (Source: FileHold) 

FileHold Pricing

Subscription Plan Price Features and Tools
FileHold Variable pricing, though includes options like a monthly pay-per-user subscription program and a financing option Browser access; search; document viewers; mobile capable; Microsoft Teams and Office integrations; records management software; Courier “proof-of-delivery” system; document version control; virtual folders; offline document editing; user access controls; user audit logging; FIPS compliant

FileHold Pros

  • FileHold is scalable with the right hardware configurations and can be used to store millions of documents.
  • Unlike many competitors in the industry, FileHold offers a full-featured free trial with no credit card required, so businesses can see how the software fits its workflow.
  • The software offers numerous add-on features so businesses pay for only the features they need.

FileHold Cons

  • FileHold customer support may not be suitable for those who prefer to get help over the phone.
  • FileHold’s on-premise solution isn’t compatible with Macs.
  • FileHold only offers a cloud-based solution through a third-party host.

What FileHold Customers Have To Say

FileHold customers often praised the company for its integrations and ease of scalability. However, some users complained about customer support’s slow response times. FileHold earned a 7.1/10 on TrustRadius.

Read our full FileHold review for more information. 

Dropbox Business logo
  • Starting Price: Starts at $15 per month per user
  • Key Features: Unlimited device connections; 256-bit AES and SSL/TLS encryption; easy and secure sharing; real-time document analytics; document scanning; remote device wipe; granular permissions; ability to enable HIPAA compliance; ransomware detection and recovery.
  • Free Trial: 30-day free trial
Editor's Rating: 8.7/10

Why We Chose Dropbox for Business

We chose Dropbox for Business for mobility because of how seamlessly it allows remote team members to work in the system. We especially liked that Dropbox can also be used anywhere, so teams that work remotely can connect and search for documents as if they were working in the office. When working remotely, Dropbox offers mobile offline folders. We also liked that it comes with the option of a remote account wipe, which can help you remove sensitive data from a lost or stolen device before it falls into the wrong hands. Whether your team is often on-the-move or the documents you work with are, Dropbox’s mobility features will help your team stay on-task.

Dropbox select documents

Dropbox for Business provides an easy and secure place for remote workers to collaborate. In the image above, a user is selecting a document to send and track; Dropbox provides real-time document analytics . (Source: HubSpot) 

Dropbox Pricing

Subscription Plan Price Features and Tools
Business $15 per user per month Starts at 9 TB of storage for the team; transfer files up to 100 GB; 180 days to restore files; track file engagement; unlimited signature requests; PDF editing; set up admins; know what content is shared
Business Plus $24 per user per month All the features of the Business plan; starts at 15 TB of storage for the team; transfer files up to 250 GB; 1 year to restore files; set up tiered admin roles; suspicious activity alerts; compliance tracking
Enterprise Variable pricing based on business needs All Business Plus features; custom number of users; custom storage options; enterprise-grade security; integrations with security solutions; live support from dedicated experts

Dropbox Pros

  • Dropbox features clear pricing schemes as well as month-to-month contracts.
  • Easy interface allows for increased productivity among remote workers collaborating together.
  • Competitively large storage offerings immediately available at the lowest cost plan.

Dropbox Cons

  • Security solutions are not included in the base plans.
  • Dropbox search capabilities can feel limited compared to some of the other offerings on the market.
  • Dropbox version control can be confusing, with conflicting copies of the same document sometimes being uploaded into the system.

What Dropbox Customers Have To Say

Dropbox customers often praised the company for its auto-sync functionality with documents on a user’s desktop, its collaborative nature with remote workers, and the large amounts of storage offered. However, some noted that they found access management to be confusing and that sometimes features of Dropbox would appear to stop working. Dropbox earned an 8.3/10 on TrustRadius.

Document Management Software Costs

Document management software can vary widely in pricing and cost structure. The first and perhaps most important factor in the cost of your document management system is whether you select a cloud-based or on-premises version.

Cloud-based document management software takes the infrastructure maintenance and burden of security off your business and places it with a third-party company. While this reduces the expense and challenge of managing it in-house, you’ll just have to trust that the company is handling your data properly. Cloud-based software is typically paid for on a subscription basis. For most document management software, this could range from $15 to $200 per month per user, depending on the complexity of the solution you choose.

On-premises versions of document management software require your own servers and, generally, a dedicated information technology staff for maintenance. Your business is wholly responsible for the security of your data, but this also means you have full control over your own data. With on-premises solutions, you generally have to purchase a license for each user. Each license can cost $1,000 or more, but it is a one-time fee. However, on-premises solutions typically charge an additional fee for technical support and software updates after the first year, which is usually about 20 percent of the initial licensing cost.

For small businesses looking for software that is easy to manage and not a large overhead expense, we recommend a cloud-based solution. However, make sure your provider adheres to the best cybersecurity practices to protect your data.

The actual price for document management software varies by company. Systems with more complex features tend to cost more while costs for basic document management software without extra features (such as task management tools and workflow automation functions) can be pretty low. Also, the more users you add to a cloud-based system, the higher the monthly subscription price will be.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway

Cloud-based document management software typically costs between $15 and $200 per user, per month. The price varies on how many features and tools you want access to.

Document Management Software Features

While all document management systems digitize and organize documents, making them easy to retrieve and revise for users with permission, many other features might be built into your document management software. Here’s a look at some of the tools and aspects you might want to consider when choosing a document management system.


One of the most important elements of any software is usability. It could offer all the features in the world, but they won’t do you any good if the system isn’t user-friendly. Many document management systems offer free trials that allow you to test them before buying. If possible, allow your team to try out the software during the free trial period and offer their feedback on what they like and dislike about it. Since everyone has to use the system, be sure all stakeholders get the opportunity to test it out and provide insight about their experience before buying.

Document Sharing and Collaboration

While the primary function of a document management system is to digitize and organize files, most modern software also allows users to share files and collaborate on editing them. Some document management software allows users to edit a document simultaneously while others rely on a check-in/checkout feature that guarantees only one user can work on a document at a time. Others offer both options. Determine which is best for your team’s workflow and the types of documents you collaborate on together.

Docuware exporting data

Document management software should make it easy to upload, download, and export data. Here, a DocuWare user configures and exports data to their desired location. (Source: DocuWare)

Version Control

Version control, sometimes referred to as “versioning,” is a critical feature of document management software that lets you keep track of changes to a document. The best document management software even maintains an archive of old versions, letting you see how documents have changed over time and revert to an old version if needed. This is especially important when collaborating to edit documents as human error could result in important information being altered or deleted. With version control, you can revert to an old version of the document and recover any lost information easily.

M-Files test document

Version control helps organizations track changes to a document, as well as when the change was made and by whom. In this example, a series of changes can be seen to a test document in M-Files. (Source: M-Files)

Image Scanning and OCR

Image scanning and OCR are useful features for businesses that have a lot of paper records they would like to digitize. Scanning is the first step in turning a paper record into a digital file that can be imported into the software. OCR is a more advanced feature, but it’s a necessity for streamlining large digitization projects. OCR reads the text of an image and makes the content of the image searchable. The best document management systems use OCR to fill out metadata automatically and make it even easier to search for the document later.

Electronic Signatures

Document management software is often home to files that require a manager’s signature, such as purchase orders (POs). Many document management systems integrate with an e-signature tool, such as DocuSign, to allow electronic signatures. You can often send a document to a recipient with a request for their signature through the software. This can improve efficiency when it comes to getting clients to sign important documents or when onboarding new employees to the company, helping you to sign and store files in one central location.

Workflow Automation

Workflow automation features move tasks along automatically. Take a PO workflow as an example: You could set up workflow automation so that once a PO is generated, it goes to the appropriate manager automatically for their signature. The manager will receive a notification, and when the task is complete, the next relevant team member, such as someone in the accounting department or the manager’s supervisor, will be notified. If more action is necessary, you might be able to build that into the automated workflow as well. The best document management systems allow you to customize workflows to suit the way your teams work together.

FileHold templates

Templates and automation are key features of a customizable and scalable system. In this example, a user uses FileHold to configure templates for auto-filing certain types of documents, as well as automating push email notifications for certain actions within the system. (Source: FileHold)


Automated workflows can help streamline your business processes and maintain legal compliance.

User Permissions

An essential element of document management software is the ability for administrators to set individual user permissions. Permissions allow certain users to view or edit files while others can be prevented from even seeing those documents in the system. Not only is this useful for efficiency purposes, but it is also an important security measure. The best document management software allows administrators to set permissions by specific groups, as well as to change permissions on the fly if you need to make an exception while keeping the default permissions settings the same.

Mobile Functionality

Many document management systems have a dedicated mobile app. Others rely on web browsers or online portals. Make sure the mobile version of any document management software you are considering is truly mobile-friendly. Even if you personally don’t use it on mobile devices, it is likely other members of your team will.

Not every document management system checks all these boxes while others offer all of them and more. When choosing your document management software, consider which tools and features would be most useful to your business. It is important to strike a balance between comprehensiveness and usability. Some systems can do it all but are a challenge to navigate (not to mention more expensive than simpler software).

Data Security

Data security is a vital part of any document management system. As an increasing number of businesses go digital, more customers are entrusting sensitive personal information to the companies they do business with. Your organization is responsible for ensuring sensitive information is safe and protected from a data breach.

Did You Know?Did you know

Look for document management services that offer encryption and compliance tools, auto-updates, data redundancy and backups.

Choosing Document Management Software

1. Conduct market research

Researching the document management market will help you understand the most common and important features of document management software. Understand the most basic document management software elements like centralized document storage, built-in collaboration and task management, mobile functionality and data security. Identify market leaders and vet your options before selecting the right software for your organization.

2. Assess your needs

Understand your unique document management needs as a business. For instance, maybe you’re seeking a digital archive that can be updated periodically, or perhaps you’d prefer software that enables the daily creation and editing of new documents. Weigh the benefits of a locally hosted, on-premises solution in relation to a cloud-based solution managed by your vendor partner or a third party. Get specific with what you require in a system before searching.

A good document management system is also easy to implement and scale. The complexity of the software should be based on your team’s technical know-how, allowing them to store and locate documents easily as needed. Your team should be able to share documents and collaborate within the platform, even when they are using mobile devices.

Although every document management system should have security protocols, access controls and file versioning, these features are especially important for those operating within heavily regulated industries. Other features that lend to a document management system’s usability are metadata and tagging options, keyword searching, document editing history and restoration, automatic document retention and deletion, image scanning, optical character recognition and customizable workflows. The best software can also integrate with your other business platforms.

3. Vet your options and read customer reviews

Once you understand what you need from document management software, ask the following questions to software providers:

  • What operating systems support this software?
  • Is document imaging and digitization included?
  • Are there any collaboration tools, workflow automation or project management tools?
  • How many file types does the software support?
  • Is there a versioning feature for tracking changes to documents?
  • How many users can access a document at once?
  • What third-party software does the system integrate with?
  • What level of technical support can I expect to receive?

Additionally, read through customer reviews to get a more grounded understanding of each service’s pros and cons. This is where you’ll get the most authentic and holistic view of a particular software and its offerings.

4. Put everything in writing

Once you choose document management software and are ready to sign a contract, closely read any legal documents and ensure everything you’ve discussed is in writing, including which features you are getting for your money. Additionally, ensure there is a fair exit strategy included in your contract that does not threaten you with outrageous fees.

5. Reassess performance

Once you start using your document management software, regularly test your performance with it to optimize your workflow. Do this by inputting and storing documents, granting access to your team to make edits or updates to documents and testing document security to ensure your data is safe. Should you run into any issues, address your concerns with the software provider. If they are unable or unwilling to resolve these issues, consider terminating your contract.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway

Assess your options and consider your unique needs as a business before deciding which document management software is best for you.

Advantages of Document Management Software

A document management system can improve efficiency for you and your staff by organizing all of your files and making them easy for anyone in the organization to find. A good document management software is more than just a file cabinet, but an interactive depository for all the files your organization needs.

Time savings

If you are currently using a manual system, you are costing yourself hours that could otherwise be spent on other, more pressing business matters. A document management system automates many aspects of document management, taking that responsibility off your hands.

Easy scaling

A document management system is more flexible than a traditional paper filing system. It accommodates your business’s growth easily, and your indexing system can be adjusted with a few clicks. For growing businesses, most document management software providers offer multiple pricing tiers, so you can increase your storage capacity as the size of your organization increases.

Enhanced document security

Ensuring that your information is secure is critical, from customer payment information to company trade secrets. Document management systems come with built-in security and access controls so you determine who can access certain documents. In addition, you can see all activity on any given document. In the event of a disaster, like a fire or flood, your files are stored safely in the cloud, away from physical harm.

Quick and easy document retrieval

Searching for the right document can be difficult and time-consuming; it can even cost you money. With the right indexing system, finding a document can take mere seconds, and employees can access the documents they need remotely. The best systems apply appropriate metadata and tagging automatically to make finding documents even easier, without much need to classify them on the front end.

Did You Know?Did you know

Organizations can lose thousands of hours of productivity each year due to poor document management. Discover some other benefits of a paperless office.

Better regulatory compliance

Compliance requirements for many business documents can be complex and demanding, but a document management system can help you avoid fines, revoked licenses or even criminal liability by automating key documents within the requirements. For example, HIPAA and the Sarbanes-Oxley anti-fraud law have strict security and policy regulations regarding documents and records. The best document management systems automatically follow those guidelines, so you can rest easy knowing your business is compliant and has an auditable trail of required documents.

Improved collaboration

A document management system makes sharing information and collaboration easy, allowing documents from different sources to be accessed from multiple locations. Users can also share documents, monitor workflows, grant or deny access to certain documents.

What to Expect in 2024

In recent years, document management software has been increasingly moving into the cloud, a model that’s more affordable and easier to maintain than the on-premises model. We expect this trend to continue, particularly as more teams adopt remote and hybrid work as a permanent arrangement.

The document management software business industry is expected to grow steadily in 2024 and beyond. Market research from Fortune Business Insights suggests the industry will reach a year-over-year growth of 17.2 percent by 2030, increasing from $6.23 billion in 2023 to $18.97 billion in 2030.

This increase in value can be attributed in part to the growth of AI-powered solutions. Document management platforms are leveraging AI to automate workflows, improve search capabilities, analyze data, bolster security and ensure legal compliance. As technology continues to evolve, we expect further adoption and capabilities of AI in document management.

Document Management Software FAQs

Document management systems are used for several things, including securely storing important documents, tracking changes made to documents and sharing documents easily between members of an organization.

A document management system also makes it easy to find certain files by assigning keywords and tags to each document. These systems can also help companies ensure compliance for sensitive documents, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, by providing required security and permission restrictions on certain key documents.

A document management system captures the document, which is done by scanning the physical document or downloading a digital version via email or using other applications. Next, the document is indexed, meaning it is classified with tags, keywords and metadata that make it so it can be searchable. Finally, the document is organized and placed in a folder, where it can be accessed by the appropriate employees.

Most document management systems are cloud-based, so once a file is appropriately secured into the system, it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

The best document management system should be easy to use; it should allow for document sharing; and it should have collaboration tools, mobile functionality and version control. The first two features allow your team to work together on critical documents without needing to be in the same office. Version control maintains a log of every change (and who made it) to your company’s documents. You’ll also want to make sure the software you choose offers airtight security protocols to ensure that only those with the right permissions can access files.

Jeremy Bender contributed to this article.

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Nicole Fallon, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Analyst
Nicole Fallon is a small business owner with nearly a decade of experience overseeing day-to-day business operations. She and her co-founder self-funded their company and now lead a team of employees across multiple disciplines. Fallon's first-hand experience as an entrepreneur running a staffed business has given her unique insight into startup culture, budgeting, employer-employee relationships, sales and marketing, and project management. Fallon's business expertise is evident in her work with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she analyzes small business trends. Her writing has been published in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Newsweek, and she enjoys collaborating with B2B and SaaS companies.
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