Document Management Software Review
Why Use Document Management Software?
The top performers in our review are M-Files DMS 10, the Gold Award Winner; eFileCabinet Desktop Professional, the Silver Award winner; and PaperPort Pro 14, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 software programs.
How to Choose Document Management Software
Document management software combines scanning, storage and organizational tools into a single streamlined package designed to transform your office into a paperless work environment. Once a promise of the future, the paperless office is now a reality for businesses of all sizes.
Implementing a document management system using document-control software not only delivers the benefits that come with going paperless, but it can increase employee productivity, improve your business's workflow processes and further enhance document security. Many applications are designed to integrate seamlessly with business productivity software such as Microsoft Office as well as customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning applications. If you're looking to ramp up your office productivity, improve employee collaboration and rid your office space of filing cabinets and clutter, document management software may be just what you're looking for.
Document Management Software: Related Products
Document management software is typically designed to work with a standalone document scanner or flatbed scanner, both of which are used to create digital copies of physical documents. If you have a substantial number of documents you need to digitize, consider a document scanning service that collects your documents and does all the scanning for you under secure conditions.
If you don't need the kind of comprehensive solution that document management software delivers, there are a variety of standalone software products designed to handle individual steps in the paperless office workflow. Optical character recognition (OCR) software converts document scans, PDF files and other document image files into searchable text documents. Convert PDF software lets you to create, modify, combine and split PDF files, a standard business document format. Standalone cloud storage services for business allow you to store your documents securely online and make them accessible to employees, clients or other parties. We also have a number of articles about document management software and other related products available to help you narrow down your choices.
How It All Works
Document management software, or DMS, is a comprehensive set of tools designed to help you create and manage a paperless office. Rather than using multiple programs to handle the various stages of a paperless workflow, this software delivers all of the functionality you need in a single interface. These software tools can be categorized in three major categories: document imaging tools, storage tools and organizational tools.
Most document management software includes imaging tools that interface with your scanner to convert your paper documents into digital files, enabling you to scan and import documents directly into a central document repository. Many of the software packages also include customizable document-creation templates and associated tools that automatically format newly scanned files to match your office or industry formatting standards.
In addition to scanning paper documents, you can also import most types of digital documents, including PDFs, word processing files, spreadsheets, image files and many other file formats. Once a document is imported into the document management system, it's stored in a data repository that can be made accessible to others in your office and, in many cases, outside your office. The best document management software packages give you the ability to grant access to individuals to specific documents in the repository as needed. Many software packages also let you store your documents in the cloud, allowing access to any file from anywhere in the world using a web browser and an internet connection.
Once your documents are in the system, you can organize them into folders for manual browsing. Many electronic document management systems include OCR technology, which converts scanned documents into text files. This lets you search the document repository using keyword tags to speed up the search process for a specific file. Many software packages also give you the option to add short descriptions known as metadata tags to individual files in the system, further improving the organization and quality of text searches. Depending on the type of document, users with appropriate access can edit files in the system, set up document workflows and track document changes over time.
How You Pay for Document Management Software
Depending on the program you choose, you either pay to own the software outright, sometimes referred to as a self-hosted model, or you make monthly payments for a subscription to the software, often referred to as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. There are some important differences between these two payment models that you should consider before settling on a product.
Most of the top document management software packages are available for outright purchase. This is the traditional software sales model in which you install the software on office computers from a CD or from a downloadable installation file. You own the software outright and are free to use it in perpetuity. You might receive minor software updates for a period of time, sometimes extending for years, although major software upgrades must usually be purchased. Customer support and training services are often available for a limited amount of time after purchase, after which you must pay additional fees for continued support.
In the subscription model, buyers typically do not install software on office computers. The software is hosted and maintained on a secure internet server that you access with a web browser. In this model, you don't need to install software upgrades as the software publisher delivers updates automatically on the host server. Unlike the self-hosted model, you must have access to a working internet connection to access and use this type of software. Customer support and training services are normally provided to you as long as you continue your subscription. Online access to the software and related support services ends when you cancel your subscription.
Pricing varies widely within and between the two sales models. Among packages sold in a subscription model, costs can range from roughly $10 per month to nearly $50 per month. Software packages for on-site installation cost anywhere from $30 to nearly $800. PinPoint is one of the few options available in both a subscription version and as an outright purchase.
How to Implement a Document Control Process for Your Business
Once you've determined that electronic document management software is something that can benefit your business, you need to start thinking carefully about how to introduce and integrate this technology into your office without causing major disruption. Transforming your paper-based office into a clutter-free paperless one will take some work, but you can make digital document management a reality in your business with proper planning while reaping the productivity and document-security benefits that come with it.
The first step of the planning process begins by thinking about how you manage your documents today. Make a list of all the different types of paper documents that flow through your office, including invoices, receipts, business correspondence, contracts and other legal documents. Also make a list of common digital documents used in your business, including spreadsheets, image files and PDFs.
Identify the procedures and processes that govern the handling of each type of document in your office. Work with your office staff to identify exactly how documents are handled, used, stored and managed under current standards and procedures. Understanding how you currently manage documents lets you identify software packages that best match your current paper-based system. You should also work with your staff to identify bottlenecks and other inefficiencies currently affecting productivity. The transition to a paperless office is an ideal time to update and improve on office procedures and document workflows.
After you've developed a deep understanding of document workflow in your business, it's time to begin researching software. This is an important step and requires some time to complete. Study all the best DMS systems to identify the programs that deliver all the scanning, storage and organizational tools you need to handle every stage of the process as carried out in your office. Pay special attention to the customer support and training services available with each software product. Depending on your office staff, integrating new technology into your business may require substantial employee training. Many companies offer terrific training materials and programs to help get your staff up to speed quickly. Don't neglect this area when evaluating software packages.
Once you've narrowed down the document management solutions to the one that best fits your needs, prepare a detailed plan for introducing the software into your office. Utilize the implementation guides, training programs and other support services available to you through the software provider to chart an implementation and training schedule. Decide whether you want to focus substantial resources on scanning existing documents into the system from the beginning or if you want to delay this task until the software is fully integrated into your office's daily work processes. You may also decide to use a document scanning service to handle existing documents so that your staff can focus on day-to-day document management.
The final step is to purchase the software and implement it in your business. With careful preliminary planning, good communication with your office staff and a little hard work, it won't be long before your business reaps the benefits of a paperless workflow.
Document Management Software: What We Evaluated, What We Found
Help and Support: The Best Products Are Also the Easiest to Use
In assessing the best document management software platforms, the platforms with the highest overall scores also scored the highest in our Ease of Use category. In conducting our evaluations, we first examined the installation process to determine how challenging it is to get the software up and running. Then we looked at the complexity of the procedures used to add documents to the system and to manipulate existing documents already in the system.
The highest-scoring DMS systems feature intuitive tools, streamlined workflows and easy-to-learn procedures that let you get your paperless office operating quickly. These programs are also flexible and feature varied technical support options, making them a solid choice for all kinds of businesses.
Features: Regulatory Compliance Support is Not Universally Available
Many businesses operating in regulated industries are required by law to track, maintain and audit business documents. Among the document management software in our lineup, only half provide a document control system that supports the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes-Oxley, Good Manufacturing Practices required by the FDA, or ISO 9000/9001 regulatory compliance requirements. This is a critical capability that many businesses cannot afford to do without. If your business operates under regulatory-compliance requirements, confirm this capability is included in any software package you are considering with the software manufacturer.
Tools: Version Control is Critical
Version control tools are critically important to safeguarding and tracking editable documents within a document management system. They ensure that all new edits are properly saved and old versions are retained in the system for later access. These capabilities are especially important when multiple people in the office have editing access to the same file. In most DMS systems, version control limits editing access to a given file to a single person at a time, forcing all other users into read-only status until editing is completed. In some systems, you can set a notification to alert specific users when a particular file is edited. These capabilities are especially important to businesses that utilize collaborative editing tools and processes in their daily work.
Integration: CRM and ERP Integration Are Uncommon
If your business utilizes a customer relationship management (CRM) application or an enterprise resource planning (ERP) database, you will want to seek out document management solutions that integrate seamlessly with the programs you use daily. While you can use software that doesn't integrate with your CRM or ERP program, choosing compatible software is going to allow you to access, edit, backup and monitor digital files and documents created within your CRM or ERP program seamlessly, further increasing office efficiency.
Only some document management products are specifically designed to integrate with CRM and ERP platforms, so it's worth the time to identify compatible options during your initial software research. Another noteworthy fact is that most document control systems are designed to integrate with popular email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and business software suites such as Microsoft Office.
Operating System: Limited Options for the Mac
During our evaluation, we learned that only a few document management software products are compatible with Apple's operating system for Macs, including PinPoint and Paperless. Both products are also available for Windows operating systems.
General Information on Our Testing
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. The companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, and the results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
What Else is Important in Selecting Document Management Software?
What Makes a Good Document Management System?
First and foremost, a good electronic document management system includes all the tools you need to create and manage a secure digital database that makes all your business documents immediately available to those who need access to them. The technological tools, features and capabilities required to make this happen vary widely from business to business. The special demands of your company should ultimately determine which systems are good options for you and which systems don't meet the minimum standards for adoption.
Which Features Are Best for a Good Document Management Application?
There are a number of critical features most businesses need to successfully transform a paper-based office into a paperless one. Some of the most important features include document scanning software, OCR tools, a document organizer, document-control software and secure access capabilities. Most quality document management solutions include these features, making them good options for businesses of any size.
Some businesses, however, may need additional capabilities beyond that of other businesses. For example, some businesses need the ability to integrate a new DMS solution with an existing ERP database, a sales platform or a CRM application. Many also need special support for specific regulatory compliance requirements while others need integrated cloud storage in order to grant employees online access to documents from locations around the world. The best features in a good document management software package are those that match all of your paperless office needs. A variety of programs on the market offer diverse features to meet the needs of most businesses.
Tips on Buying the Best Document Management Software
Your initial research into document management software should focus on identifying every quality program that meets your basic needs. To help you, read our comprehensive document management software reviews to compare the top programs. We also have helpful articles about DMS software. Once you have identified a list of relevant programs, consider the suitability of each program based on our product review, whether the program lacks important add-on features you absolutely need or other factors you identify during your own research.
If you haven't settled on a single program after this process is complete, choose one of the remaining programs and sign up for a free software trial, if one is available. Many document management programs offer a free trial for a limited evaluation period, giving you the chance to use the program interface and most of the features and tools right in your office. Free trials are commonly available for both desktop programs, such as Dokmee Professional, and online subscription-based programs, such as eFileCabinet Desktop Professional. Spend some time during the free trial testing the document scanning tools and using the control features to gain a thorough understanding of the program's capabilities. If you don't like a given program, try other ones until you find the one best suited to your needs.
Business DMS Systems
When evaluating DMS solutions, it's important to understand the differences between programs designed for business document management and programs designed primarily for home use. While features vary from program to program, those designed specifically for corporate users typically include several critical features not often found in programs designed for home users.
Many enterprise document management software packages include version-tracking tools, audit logs and other features required to comply with certain federal regulations and reporting standards, including Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and FDA regulations. If your business operates in the finance or healthcare industry or in another regulated market, it's important to seek out enterprise document management software that includes compliance features. Some very capable document management programs for business, such as FileCenter Pro, do not include regulatory-compliance features. Be diligent during the software research phase and ask questions if you require these features.
Business document management programs are also more likely to be compatible with other business software, including business productivity suites like Microsoft Office, CRM applications, sales and human resource platforms and ERP database programs. DMS solutions that can integrate with these programs provide more streamlined workflows and enhanced productivity. Software designed primarily for business also tends to have better support for document workflow design, multi-user collaboration, user access restrictions and version control. In combination, these features let you provide access to files your employees need to do their work while tracking file changes and maintaining file-level security.
It's important to study feature sets carefully before deciding whether a given program meets all of your business needs instead of assuming that they do because they are marketed to the business community. DocPoint Professional, for example, is a worthy option for small business document management as it offers a wide variety of basic and advanced features, including most tools a busy office needs to manage digital files effectively. The program, though, does not offer regulatory compliance features, which is a deal-breaker for some potential buyers.
Is Any Special Hardware Required?
In addition to at least one desktop computer with a compatible operating system and an internet connection, you need to have a document scanner or flatbed scanner to import paper documents into your DMS system. Scanning equipment is not required to utilize any of the other features and tools included in the best document management software, so if you don't need to scan paper documents, you don't need to invest in this hardware.
Most document scanners are automated self-feeding machines designed to scan up to 50 pages at a time. When the feeder tray is emptied, simply place another stack of documents into the tray to continue the scanning process. While flatbed scanners tend to be substantially cheaper than document scanners, most models require you to manually place individual pages on the scanning surface for imaging. This is a very time-consuming process that can make the road to a paperless office a long and grueling one. If you have a substantial number of paper documents that need to be imported into your new document management system, it's a good idea to invest in a quality automated document scanner to help you complete the work efficiently.
What Kind of Training is Available for DMS Software?
All of the electronic document management products in our lineup include access to a variety of online training materials and technical support by email, phone or live online chat, although the extent of the training materials varies from product to product. It's important to confirm exactly what kind of training is included with your software purchase and what kind of additional paid training is available at your request.
Many companies provide a deep selection of free distance training materials. eFileCabinet Desktop Professional, for example, includes access to dozens of online manuals, guides, articles and videos covering the ins and outs of its software. The company also conducts regular video webinars on a wide range of topics surrounding software usage. LSSP Corporation, the publisher of PinPoint document management software, offers a similar selection of free online training materials. The company goes a step further by assigning a project manager to coordinate the implementation of the PinPoint system into your business. You can also opt for live web-based or in-person training designed specifically to meet your needs.
Are Documents Secure Once They Are in the DMS System?
Scanning and shredding paper documents provides an upgrade in security once the digital documents are stored in a quality electronic document management system. When important paper documents are stored on site at your business location, there is always a risk of an unauthorized employee, a customer or an intruder rifling through your filing cabinets or otherwise getting their hands on your private information. A restricted-access DMS system, combined with good digital security practices among your office staff, ensures your documents remain secure.
All of the document management programs on our lineup provide software that lets you grant specific access rights to system users, often on a document-by-document basis. In many cases, you can specify whether an individual has read-only access or full-editing access to a particular document. You can also block access completely. Many DMS systems include version-control tools that track all changes to a document, letting you to revert to a previous version with the click of a button. This operates as an important security feature that protects you against sabotage and other dishonest acts by any user who holds editing rights to a file. It also protects your documents against simple editing mistakes and other inadvertent changes to a file.
How Does Document Management Software Improve Office Productivity?
The more document-intensive your business operations are, the more potential productivity gains you can achieve by implementing a good electronic document management system. These productivity gains come primarily from the near-instant access to documents this software enables. If you rely on paper and filing cabinets to store your vital business information, you know just how much employee time is dedicated to filing, retrieving and copying paper documents. You also recognize how often documents are misfiled or otherwise misplaced and the time that is lost trying to find or replace these documents.
With a good document management system in place, your employees can access files with several clicks of a mouse. OCR software enables your employees to search documents by keyword, a much more efficient method than thumbing through a filing cabinet document by document. When your employees spend less time at the filing cabinets, they have more time to dedicate to the high-value tasks that generate income for your business.
Another source of a gain in productivity comes from the workflow tools included in many DMS software systems. Workflow tools allow you to associate a set of tasks with a document or collection of documents. You can then assign those tasks, along with corresponding deadlines, to any of your employees. When a specific task is completed, the workflow tool notifies the next assigned employee that the document is ready for them. This automated process ensures that work never lingers or is lost between work stages. Once all of the tasks are complete, the document is forwarded to management for final approval.
How Do I Back Up My Documents?
Most document management solutions include tools to help you back up all the documents in your system. In most cases, you can set up an automatic backup schedule so you don't have to remember to do so manually. You can typically choose to back up your data in a location on the same computer or on an external or networked hard drive. The best document management software also allows you to create a second backup on a secure internet server maintained by the software publisher.
If you experience a hard drive crash or if you lose your data for any other reason, your prior backups can be used to restore your system exactly as it existed at the time you created the most recent backup file. If you opt to store a backup online, your files will remain secure even in the event of a fire or some other catastrophic event at your place of work.
What Happens to My Documents If I Stop Using the Software?
You always maintain ownership of the documents in your desktop document management system, including all PDF files, image files, word processor files and any other types of digital documents you have filed away. You can export your documents whole and intact from one DMS system and import them into another if you so choose. It's important to understand that if you cancel your cloud storage service, you will lose access to any files stored in the cloud. If you utilize such a service, be sure to maintain a regular backup schedule to ensure you have a full copy of your documents on site at your business location at all times.
When you stop using a software product, you may lose certain metadata tags created by the software that is associated with your files. For example, many DMS systems let you create informational tags to describe the contents of a particular file in order to improve document search functions. If you stop using a program, you will likely lose these informational metadata tags though the original file remains completely intact.
Are DMS Systems Available for the Mac Computer?
Among the document management programs we reviewed, PinPoint, Paperless and BlueDoc are each available in a Mac version as well as a version for Windows. Unfortunately, our Gold Award, Silver Award and Bronze Award winners are not currently available in a Mac version.
Can I Access My Documents With a Smartphone?
Most full-featured document management systems will let you or other users who have the appropriate system-access privileges view documents with a smartphone or tablet. If your DMS software stores copies of your files in the cloud, you can generally access them with your internet-connected smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the world. If your files are only hosted locally, you may need to connect your phone or tablet to your business network to gain access to your documents. This depends on the software you use and the type of network you have at your place of business.
Some DMS products, such as M-Files DMS 10, provide full mobile access to the system so you can upload, view and edit documents using your smartphone. You can even take pictures of paper documents with your mobile device and then file them away in your M-Files repository, eliminating the need for a scanner.
Document Management Software: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Best DMS Software
Our comprehensive evaluation of DMS software identified several standout options that provide all the features most home and business users need to create and maintain a paperless office, in addition to advanced tools that let you manage file-level user access, editing, and collaboration. We rated each of these programs as easy to install, learn and use so you don't have to struggle with complicated filing procedures or overly complex work tools. We also identified a few good options for Mac users and buyers on a budget.
M-Files DMS 10 is the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner due to its comprehensive feature list and its high score in our Ease of Use evaluation. This program is the best overall DMS solution for most businesses as it includes user access management and document version-tracking tools and enables integration with CRM and ERP software. M-Files DMS 10 also includes regulatory-compliance features, including special compliance workflows for regulatory frameworks like Sarbanes-Oxley and regulatory agencies like the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission. M-Files DMS 10 is only available for the Windows operating system.
Narrowly missing the top spot in our lineup, eFileCabinet Desktop Professional is the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner. This DMS software delivers most of the same capabilities as M-Files DMS 10, but it falls just a little short of the top in our Ease of Use measure, primarily due to a slightly complex set of administrator options. We found the interface and tool set for regular users intuitive and easy to use. eFileCabinet Desktop Professional is designed for the Windows operating system.
PaperPort Pro 14 is the Bronze Award winner. It is a very good option for business and home users, and it has a well-rounded feature set that is easy to learn and use. This DMS software falls into third place in our ratings because it is not designed to integrate with CRM applications or ERP databases. If you don't require such compatibility, though, PaperPort Pro 14 is well worth your consideration. This program is designed for Windows computers.
Ranking just below our top three DMS systems is the best program for Mac users, PinPoint, which is also available in a version for Windows computers. While this software offers a good set of features, it does not include OCR capabilities or standardized document-creation templates. If you're looking for an inexpensive DMS solution, Speedy Organizer is your best option. Speedy Organizer doesn't include document imaging tools, so you must rely on your scanner's imaging software to create document images before importing them into the DMS system. This software also lacks OCR capabilities, PDF tools and regulatory-compliance features, limiting its appeal to certain business users.
Throughout our comprehensive study of the DMS market, we were continually impressed with the powerful yet intuitive technologies found in the best DMS products. With one of these software packages in your office, it's possible to improve productivity, reduce costs and cut waste all at the same time. For a quick overview of each of the DMS products we evaluated, check out the review synopses below.
M-Files DMS 10 - Ranked #1 out of 10
M-Files DMS 10 delivers a remarkably complete feature set that should appeal to virtually any business looking to transition to a paperless office. This DMS software packages its powerful tools into an intuitive interface that is easy to navigate and learn, enabling you and your staff to get up to speed quickly.
From collaborative workflow tools to automated regulatory compliance features, this software is designed to help you capture all the potential productivity benefits that the paperless office has to offer. The interface is designed to mirror and expand on the Windows operating system's native file manager, Windows Explorer. While M-Files DMS 10 functionality goes far beyond Windows Explorer, the design similarities lets new users hit the ground running without hours of preliminary training.
M-Files DMS 10 also provides tools to import, organize, store and utilize paper and electronic documents of all kinds. OCR technology lets you capture the full text of every paper document when you scan it into the system, creating fully searchable and editable digital documents with no retyping required. You can even add descriptions and other metadata tags to any files in the system to further improve file categorization and search functionality.
This document management program also delivers a wide selection of workflow tools designed to boost collaboration in your organization, enhance workflow tracking and management, and improve quality control. Powerful document control software lets you set file-level access rights across your workforce to ensure document security and monitor document changes across all the files in the DMS system database. Other key features include compatibility with Microsoft Office and other business applications as well as support for mobile phone and tablet accessibility.
M-Files DMS 10 is Top Ten Reviews' Gold Award winner for a reason: It delivers a full selection of features and tools that few other programs on the market can match while being one of the easiest document management systems to learn and use, a combination that can make your transition to a paperless office a seamless and easy one.
Want to learn more? Read the full M-Files DMS 10 review.
eFileCabinet Desktop Professional - Ranked #2 out of 10
eFileCabinet Desktop Professional is our Silver Award winner. This software is a full-featured DMS solution that makes a good fit for just about any business looking to move from a primarily paper-based workflow to one that harnesses the substantial productivity and security benefits that a paperless office provides.
It also delivers the compliance features companies in regulated industries need to meet all regulatory demands pertaining to document retention, version tracking, auditing and security. Workflow tools and version-control software ensures document creation and maintenance meets all regulatory standards and requirements. These tools are also designed to schedule and manage document workflows and document access rights to enhance collaboration among employees while maintaining file-level security.
This document management software is also compatible with popular business applications, such as Microsoft Office and QuickBooks, and CRM applications like Salesforce. Seamless integration with other important applications on your desktop computer means you waste less time searching for files in different applications and more time getting work done. You can even integrate eFileCabinet Desktop Professional with your email account to automatically save email messages and attachments as they hit your inbox.
eFileCabinet is available in a cloud-based version and an on-site version. The cloud-based version enables you and other authorized users to access the full functionality of the software in a web browser from any location in the world. The on-site version is designed for installation on your office computers. Both versions let you create backups of your documents in the cloud and on site at your business location.
eFileCabinet Desktop Professional is a truly premium option among the many document management solutions currently on the market. It delivers all the specialized tools most businesses need to manage paperless documents and workflows successfully while avoiding much of the complexity that lesser software packages present to users.
Want to learn more? Read the full eFileCabinet Desktop Professional review.
PaperPort Pro - Ranked #3 out of 10
PaperPort Pro warrants a place among the top three digital document management programs due to its diverse set of tools and features for business users as well as its simple user interface. Alongside our Gold Award winner, PaperPort Pro is one of only two products that received the highest score in our Ease of Use category.
This document management software provides all the basic functionality you need to scan, store and organize paper documents in your office. The included OCR software transforms your scanned-image documents into editable text documents. This gives you the ability to access all your documents through PaperPort Pro's integrated text-search tool rather than hunting down files in the database manually. PaperPort Pro also allows you to add descriptive metadata tags to any file to further improve search functionality and document organization.
PaperPort Pro delivers a set of file-access settings and file tracking tools to help you maintain complete security over all the documents in your document management system. Integrated compliance features allow you to meet all regulatory standards and demands that may be required in your industry. You can assign a variety of access rights to any user in your system, from read-only access to full-editing access. What's more, the software always maintains both old and new versions of edited documents to protect against editing errors.
While this software includes all the document scanning, control and management tools most users need, it is not designed to integrate with CRM software or ERP databases. It is compatible with popular office productivity software, such as Microsoft Office, Evernote and Adobe Acrobat, among other programs.
If you don't use CRM or ERP software, PaperPort Pro fares very well in a comparison with the other two programs at the top of our lineup. If you're looking for a full-featured document management solution, PaperPort Pro is well worth a serious look.
Want to learn more? Read the full PaperPort Pro review.
PinPoint - Ranked #4 out of 10
PinPoint document management software offers a good selection of critical document scanning and management tools, and is a solid option for small- to medium-sized businesses operating in virtually any industry. PinPoint is also the first program in our lineup that provides a version compatible for both Windows and Mac computers.
While PinPoint offers many of the same basic scanning, importing and organizational tools found in other top DMS solutions, it stands out for its time-saving automated filing feature. This feature automatically analyzes a newly imported document to identify key information, including file format, date, contact name and document topic. For example, when you import a set of monthly billing statements, PinPoint identifies each as a bill and works to extract contact information for the billees. It then creates a metadata tag for each file with the corresponding data to make it easier to find in the future.
Like other top document management programs, PinPoint is designed to integrate with common business applications, including CRM applications and media creation software like Adobe Creative Suite. The software also allows users with appropriate permissions to access files with a smartphone or tablet.
Although PinPoint includes many useful features, it falls a little short in a few key areas. It doesn't include OCR software. OCR software lets you extract text from scanned documents and other image files, allowing you to run text searches across your full document database. If you plan on scanning large numbers of paper documents, OCR technology is a crucial feature. This software also omits document-creation templates, which are used to automatically ensure all documents in your database match office or industry formatting standards.
PinPoint isn't as full-featured as other business document management programs, but it has a lot of useful features and tools that should appeal to a wide range of businesses. It also rates as the best program in this list for Mac computers.
Want to learn more? Read the full PinPoint review.
FileCenter Pro - Ranked #5 out of 10
FileCenter Pro lacks some important features that many larger businesses and organizations need to reap the benefits that a paperless office promises. This DMS software provides a solid set of core tools in an intuitive package that should appeal especially to small businesses taking their first steps into paperless document management.
With everything you need to scan and organize your paper documents, this software program provides the most important part of any electronic document management system. It's well-designed and quick to learn and use, and its organizational tools are especially strong with a customizable filing system you can match to complement the current filing methods used in your office. You can also set up an automatic backup that saves your documents to the cloud, ensuring they are secure no matter what happens at your office location.
FileCenter Pro falls short when it comes to workflow scheduling tools, version control, regulatory-compliance features and integration with CRM applications and other specialized business software. While few small businesses require these types of capabilities, medium and large businesses should take special note of these omissions. Workflow design and task-scheduling tools can be used in bigger businesses to enhance collaboration, communication and work efficiency, even when a workforce is spread across the globe. For businesses in regulated industries, the lack of compliance features and document control software is probably a deal breaker.
FileCenter Pro strips away extraneous features and specialized tools to focus on file maintenance and organization. It is well designed and most of its tools are intuitive. Software publisher Lucion Technologies also provides helpful customer support and software training materials to help you and your office staff get up to speed quickly. If you're primarily interested in scanning and storing digital documents safely and securely, this software is well worth a careful look.
Want to learn more? Read the full FileCenter Pro review.
Dokmee Professional - Ranked #6 out of 10
Dokmee Professional is an expensive document management software option that should have the greatest appeal to small businesses looking for quality document scanning and filing tools. If you're interested in a full-featured document management solution, including tools to enhance workforce collaboration and document security, you might be better off with another product.
This program scored very well in our Ease of Use category, which means it won't take hours of preliminary training before you can get started using the software. It also stands out for its intuitive imaging software and its integrated OCR capabilities, which automatically transforms your paper documents into searchable text. The program's filing tools are also capable and intuitive, and you can add metadata descriptions to individual files to improve search functionality and document categorization. You're also free to organize your filing system to match your business needs.
Even though it comes with a high price tag, Dokmee Professional fails to provide some important features that many businesses need in an enterprise document management product. The software does not include document workflow tools for scheduling and managing individual and collaborative workflows. Without these types of tools, many of the potential productivity gains that arise from paperless technology are left unrealized.
This software also lacks version-control tools, which are important to document maintenance when multiple users have access to the DMS software. This is not a serious omission for offices with a small staff, but a large office should carefully consider the absence of version control. Dokmee Professional also lacks automatic backup and database-restoration tools. While it is not difficult to complete a backup of your documents, a scheduling tool would help to ensure you never forget such an important task.
Dokmee Professional offers tools to handle all basic scanning and document maintenance functions in a paperless office. However, the lack of advanced tools and the high price tag are less-than-impressive when compared with other top-rated products.
Want to learn more? Read the full Dokmee Professional review.
DocPoint Professional - Ranked #7 out of 10
DocPoint Professional delivers a decent selection of digital document management tools to help you scan, organize and manage all the documents in your office. There are some drawbacks, however, to the program, including an outdated user interface and the lack of several valuable DMS features.
It includes a full selection of document scanning and organizational tools to assist you in transforming documents in your office file cabinets into digital files. The included OCR tools create text files from your newly scanned documents, a process that gives you the ability to search your document database by keyword. To enhance search quality and automate file categorization, you can use the metadata tool to add informational tags to your documents as you import them into the system.
This DMS software also includes version-control tools that let you to access former versions of your documents, which is especially important when multiple users have editing access to a file. DocPoint Professional integrates with popular office productivity software such as Microsoft Word and Excel so you can open associated files from within the software interface. It also integrates with your email account to maintain emails and associated documents in the database.
Alongside the clunky interface design, two other valuable features that many businesses would find helpful and convenient aren't included in this program. Regulatory-compliance features are not available, which should concern any business operating in finance, healthcare or another regulated industry that has special document control requirements. Additionally, DocPoint Professional does not integrate with popular CRM applications or ERP databases.
While it doesn't deliver a full feature set, DocPoint Professional provides helpful tools that small businesses and home users need to handle all the most important tasks for creating and managing a paperless office. If the tools match your needs, this software is worth considering.
Want to learn more? Read the full DocPoint Professional review.
Speedy Organizer - Ranked #8 out of 10
While Speedy Organizer delivers many of the basic tools and functions required to manage a paperless office, it misses several important features, but it's also cheaper than most other document management systems on the market today. The combination of a decent feature set and low price should appeal to budget-conscious businesses and home users.
Speedy Organizer is one of two programs on our lineup that does not include document-scanning tools that let you import documents directly from your scanner into the DMS database. This is a bit disappointing as scanners come with their own scanning software. If you opt for Speedy Organizer, you must use the scanner's software to complete the document imaging step before importing the finished digital files into the database.
It does not come with OCR software and PDF conversion tools, both of which rate as very important for most users. OCR software lets you convert your digital scans into text files so they can be edited and are compatible with text-search functions. PDF conversion tools allow you to create and manipulate PDF files, which are a standard file format used throughout the business world. Note that OCR software is sometimes packaged with scanner software, so if you own a scanner, a lack of OCR capabilities in Speedy Organizer may not be an issue.
The software delivers when it comes to workflow tools, document control features and an automatic backup scheduler. The workflow tools let you organize, schedule and track progress on work projects and collaborative assignments. Speedy Organizer's document-control tools also allow you to revert to prior versions in case of a mistaken edit or an inadvertently deleted file.
Speedy Organizer is priced lower than the other document management software applications in our lineup. While this software package isn't for everyone, it remains a good option for small businesses and home users that already own document scanning software and OCR tools.
Want to learn more? Read the full Speedy Organizer review.
Paperless - Ranked #9 out of 10
Paperless, by Mariner Software, is a Windows- and Mac-compatible document management system with basic scanning and filing tools. This software is best suited to home office and small business use because it does not support multi-user access. While this software is on the inexpensive side of the price spectrum, it's important to consider whether the lack of advanced features is worth the cost savings.
Paperless delivers an intuitive interface that give you quick access to scanning, OCR and organizational tools. The software lets you add metadata tags to any file to improve document categorization. The combination of OCR technology and metadata tagging capabilities lets you find files quickly with a simple text search, and its filing system is fully customizable, placing it among some of the best DMS software we evaluated.
On the other hand, Paperless lacks multi-user access capability, making it the only program we evaluated that cannot grant file-level access rights to users on a business network. The software also lacks version-control tools and regulatory-compliance features. Any business operating in a regulated industry may want to consider other DMS options that include integrated compliance features.
Many of the tools included in Paperless are quite basic compared to other programs we evaluated. For example, the integrated text editor is simplistic and does not allow rich text editing. This is a notable problem when you consider the fact that Paperless software does not integrate with Microsoft Word or any other word processing software, leaving the basic text editor as your only option for editing inside the DMS system.
Given its low price, Paperless is worth considering if you're looking to manage digital documents for a small business office or home. If you're looking to harness powerful tools and features to increase productivity across your workforce, this is probably not the solution for you.
Want to learn more? Read the full Paperless review.
BlueDoc - Ranked #10 out of 10
BlueDoc features a nice mix of document management functions, including advanced features like a workflow module and version-control tools. The program lacks some important functions, including document scanning software, OCR technology and PDF conversion tools.
BlueDoc is one of three programs we evaluated that are available in both a Windows and a Mac version. The program delivers strong document-filing tools in a slightly dated user interface, and the workflow module is especially notable. With a few clicks of your mouse, you can associate tasks with particular documents in the system and assign them to an employee or other user. Task tracking is automatic so you can keep tabs on work progress. Both administrators and users receive workflow updates by email, allowing everyone involved with a project to stay on schedule.
Like Speedy Organizer, BlueDoc does not have an integrated set of document scanning tools, so you must use whatever software came with your scanner hardware to make images of your paper documents. After scanning a document, you must then import the new file into the BlueDoc system, which is a little cumbersome compared to most of the DMS software we looked at. The lack of OCR software and PDF conversion tools is likely to be a bigger problem for most users. OCR technology is a critical tool if you want to convert document images to text files to enable searching and editing.
BlueDoc also lacks regulatory-compliance features that provide specific benefits to businesses in finance, healthcare and other regulated industries. The software also has limited integration capabilities, and it's one of the few programs that does not integrate with the Microsoft Office suite of programs. BlueDoc is also not compatible with CRM applications and other business database and sales programs. If you a document management program with these features, there are other options that may better suit your needs.
Want to learn more? Read the full BlueDoc review.