Electronic Document Management and Storage Systems: A Buyer’s Guide

d render of laptop with colored folders inside screen. Storage concept
Initially, only larger enterprises switched over to electronic document management and storage systems. However, with DMS becoming more commonplace and sophisticated, smaller businesses have started to use electronic document management as well. Nowadays, physical storage, such as filing cabinets, is slowly becoming obsolete due to digital document management and storage systems being so much more convenient.

Why Do You Need a Document Management and Storage System?

If you are still deciding whether an electronic DMS is needed by your business, begin by discerning your weekly paperwork requirements. A reason why a lot of businesses ultimately decide to switch to DMS is because they were receiving paperwork (forms, invoices, receipts, customer information, emails, employee records, etc.) both physically and digitally. It can become hard to efficiently organize all of these documents. The hard copies are supposed to be organized manually into folders, which are then stored in filing cabinets. This can take a lot of effort and time. Digital documents, while easy to search for compared to physical documents, can also be hard because they are spread throughout various locations.

Some may be in your email inbox, some in an online platform of storage such as Dropbox or Google Docs, while some may be on your computer. This careless, non-organization of electronic documents actually poses a security threat. If your company’s information is in so many different places, most of them not secure, protected, or encrypted, it can make your data susceptible to theft or leaks.

Main Features of Document Management and Storage Systems

Generally, a Document Management and Storage System provides your documents a complete filing system, including storage space and security, making them easier to search for. Some document management and storage systems also have a scanning capability, which utilizes Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to create electronic, searchable forms of a physical document. While it may take a little bit of time to digitize all of the old paper documents, it is worth it as you will save more than enough time by not having to manually dig through cabinets anymore. Some other key features that are included in most document management and storage systems are as follows:

File Organization

How is it possible for a software to help you seamlessly make a switch from a physical storage system to an electronic one? It allows you to create a file hierarchy replicating the physical filing system. Electronic document management and storage systems let you organize your documents into digital files and folders and reconstruct your old physical filing system into a digital arrangement.

Text Search

One of the major benefits of going paperless and buying a document management system is being able to look for a file just by typing in the name of the file. With a search option that is text-based, the solution will go through the text of every file present in your system to quickly locate the document you are looking for.

Multiple Users

The sole purpose of document management and storage systems is not just file storage. In fact, a good solution will allow you to work together on documents and files across your organization. Various users will be given the permission to access, edit, and share files.

Remote Access

Most software options will create a back-up of your documents and files in the cloud so that you are able to access them no matter where you are, even if you are outside the office premises. Some document management and storage systems also have a mobile app which expands the accessibility of your files beyond computers to tablets and smartphones.

Built-In Compliance

While a lot of open-source choices are available for DMS software, a major reason you should go for a paid solution for your business is that they are designed with government compliance kept in mind. 


These features represent only a small fraction of all of the important functions a document management and storage solution can provide. A few other things to look for are file versioning, encryption, audit trails, security aspects, disaster recovery, redundant storage, file retention automation, access permissions that are user-based, and substantial space for storage.

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