Overview of DMS? What is a Document Management System?

Posted by Jeremy Greer | Thu, Aug 20, 2020

With the push for more companies to go paperless, processes to manage, organize, and store electronic documents has had an increase in demand and acceptance. As a result, filing cabinets are now being replaced with e-document management systems.

In this article, we’ll talk about document management systems and why they’re so vital in today’s digital office. We’ll also run through a document management vendor list to help you find the best one for your needs.

What is a Document Management System (DMS)?

A document management system (DMS), or document management software, is an electronic solution that helps manage documents throughout an organization. It provides a centralized repository where documents can be organized, accessed, and shared securely. From text files and spreadsheets to images and videos, a DMS offers a unified platform for handling various file types.

Additionally, document management systems often include features for version control, document indexing, search capabilities, and workflow automation. These functionalities streamline document-related processes, enhance collaboration, and increase overall productivity.

The best DMS addresses the many issues companies face when multiple users try to access a single document at the same time. Instead, it helps decrease conflict and increase communication. Enterprise document management software also tracks different versions of a document. It makes rollbacks possible in case of unwanted edits.

Document management solutions come in a variety of packages, from stand-alone software to company-wide systems. However, the most convenient are those that make use of cloud storage as it permits access within remote teams. 

What is the Value of Document Management?

The value of document management is two-fold: it helps businesses optimize their document-related workflows and ensures data security and compliance. By implementing a DMS, organizations can eliminate manual and time-consuming tasks, such as searching for files in physical cabinets or dealing with outdated paper-based systems.

With document management systems, documents can be easily located, edited, and shared among authorized individuals. Access control features enable businesses to define user permissions and restrict sensitive information, protecting it from unauthorized access or accidental deletion. This not only improves productivity but also safeguards confidential data.

How a Document Management System Works

A document management system typically follows a structured workflow. The process begins with document capture, where files are imported into the system. This can involve scanning physical documents, importing digital files, or automatically capturing documents from external sources, such as email.

Once imported, the system organizes documents based on predefined criteria like file type, date, or department. This categorization aids in the efficient retrieval and management of documents.

Document indexing and metadata tagging enhance searchability by associating relevant keywords with each document. Users can search for documents using these keywords, making it easy to find specific information within the system.

Why Do Companies Need Document Management System Software?

Companies need document management systems to address several challenges associated with document handling. First and foremost, paper-based systems are prone to errors, loss, and damage. A document management system eliminates these risks, ensuring the safety and longevity of digital documents. Moreover, digital document management systems facilitate collaboration among team members. Documents can be remotely accessed and shared with ease, regardless of geographical location. Real-time collaboration features foster seamless teamwork and reduce communication barriers.

What are the Benefits of DMS?

Document management systems offer numerous benefits to businesses. Firstly, they enhance productivity by eliminating time-consuming manual processes, allowing employees to focus on core tasks. By reducing inefficiencies, organizations can allocate resources optimally and improve overall operational performance.

Secondly, document management systems streamline collaboration. Team members can work on the same document simultaneously, avoiding version conflicts and reducing back-and-forth communication. Furthermore, notifications and task management features enable effective team coordination and project tracking.

Additionally, document management systems provide enhanced security and data protection. Through access controls, encryption, and backups, organizations can safeguard sensitive information and mitigate the risks of data breaches. Data loss prevention mechanisms ensure the integrity and confidentiality of critical data.

Key Must-Have Features of Document Management Software

Most document management software companies need to have some basic features at a minimum. These include:


The best document management software needs to be able to keep track of changes to a document, plus who made them. It must also allow rollbacks to a previous version of this document.

File Conversions

A lot of the documents that most companies use come in various formats, from Word to PDF. The DMS needs to be able to convert between these doctypes as needed while preserving the formatting as much as possible.

Access Management

Document systems need a way to control which users in an organization can view, edit, and open documents. This helps control confidentiality.

Powerful Search Features

DMS needs to be able to search through hundreds of documents, including specific content, quickly and efficiently.

Automated Document Creation

One of the most convenient features of DMS is the ability to manage templates. These can then be filled with data automatically, eliminating the time and effort of having to retype it.

Document Management System Applications

Small Business

Small document management systems can benefit small businesses by giving them an inexpensive way to handle all of their document needs. Even the smallest expenses can hurt these businesses, and this is where a DMS can help them tremendously. Businesses can go paperless with electronic invoices, saving them significantly in printing costs while keeping their most important documents secure, organized, and accessible.


Finance deals with plenty of necessary paperwork that will only grow. In addition, they often require linking one financial document with another, such as connecting cash flow data to the balance sheet. Document management systems help finance departments manage the large volumes of documents they face every day. These systems also allow quick retrieval of critical financial statements and help make comparing multiple spreadsheets easy.


Marketing departments often generate many creative documents, from brochures to posters. Larger companies might even have their own graphic design team that’s directly responsible for producing them. A DMS is especially useful for marketers due to its versioning features. They can easily keep track of different versions of graphic mailers, for example, and gives them the ability to go back to any of them. This helps speed up the review and approval process for creative projects.


Lawyers and law firms frequently work with documents that are hundreds of pages long. They also need to comb through mountains of case information during the discovery and eDiscovery process of litigation. Solutions like Digital WarRoom’s eDiscovery document management system help legal professionals quickly browse through tons of documents. It can help speed up case preparations and increase the chances of winning for their clients. It can help speed up case preparations and increase the chances of winning for their clients by utilizing advanced software document review features.

How to Choose the Best Document Management System?

If you’re researching a document system you can use and don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. Here’s a handy document management software list. We’ve included some of the best ones with great user reviews.

Google Drive

One of the most popular document management systems, this is a free cloud-based solution that offers many features from access management to versioning.


Hubspot is a popular web-based marketing suite. It includes a document management system to help coordinate and archive sales documents for teams.


PowerDMS is a content and document management solution with a focus on compliance and regulations. It’s often used by public agencies like law enforcement, fire departments, and healthcare offices.


This is an open-source content management system that goes beyond just documents. It helps organizations handle records, images, and other types of content.

Digital WarRoom

Digital WarRoom’s eDiscovery software is document management software that’s made specifically for legal professionals. It gives lawyers and paralegals access to a wealth of legal information that’s useful during the discovery process.

Organize Your Workflow

Are you going through a list of electronic document management systems to find the best fit for your needs? If you’re a lawyer or senior partner at a law firm, our eDiscovery company can simplify your legal research. Schedule a demo today to learn more.