These days, a DMS (document management system) is indispensable for organisations. Especially since the massive cloud migration and remote working trend. But what exactly is a DMS? What systems are there? And how can you compare different document management systems?

The necessity of a DMS

Even before the corona crisis, companies decided in large numbers to go paperless and facilitate location-independent working. This resulted in the business world migrating to the cloud at a rapid pace which the pandemic accelerated even further. With all or most documents now digital and employees in multiple locations, there is a need to streamline and – most importantly – to manage document management.

Does your company have a document management system? If not, employees spend much longer searching for documents, files could get lost and you run the risk of having multiple versions of documents in circulation.

What is a DMS?

This raises the question: what exactly is a DMS and what is its purpose? In a nutshell, a DMS ensures that all documents are centrally available and that your document flow is efficient and organised.

Functionalities that are required to a greater or lesser extent include file management, version control, improving workflows, collaboration tools, document editing, managing access rights, backup and recovery, file sharing, document classification, cloud storage, e-signing, scanning documents to digitise paper documents and the ability to work simultaneously in documents.

The advantages of a DMS

A DMS is about much more than being able to store and share files. It addresses one of the most fundamental aspects of successful organisations: collaboration. What exactly are the advantages of implementing a DMS? First of all, it facilitates paperless work, which has numerous benefits in aspects such as the environment, efficiency, business agility and even employee happiness, to name a few.

In this day and age organisations are almost drowning in mountains of data. A DMS helps to make the storage and exchange of data easier and faster and to automate workflows. It also provides a secure way of sharing files, partly because you can very specifically control access rights. Last but not least, a DMS means that you have new and better ways to exchange information, allowing you to make better decisions and anticipate changes within the organisation or in the marketplace.

You maximise the value of a DMS by integrating it with other business applications. Because document management systems work with documents – which are often the foundation of business processes – DMS systems can act as an engine for many business processes, providing data and functionality to other applications. For example, your DMS allows you to create, edit and process content online, then publish the information through a marketing automation system.

What DMS systems are on the market?

Because the need for a DMS is so great, the market is vast. There are countless high-quality and reliable systems. Among the best-known are undoubtedly SharePoint and OneDrive for Business from the Microsoft suite as well as Dropbox Business.

SharePoint and OneDrive are also easily integrated into the Documents App from Workspace 365, along with your network drive.

SharePoint is Microsoft’s DMS within Microsoft 365. This content management platform is all about collaboration: it is primarily intended for storing and sharing files as a team. It offers plenty of opportunities for real-time collaboration whether or not within documents. In addition, you can create intranet pages and link flows to files, among other things. Due to its versatile nature, SharePoint is used much more widely than just as a DMS; companies also use it for project management or as an HR portal, for example.

Another widely used DMS, especially among companies that work with Microsoft technology a lot is OneDrive for Business. In contrast to SharePoint, this has more of an individual character, which is also evidenced by the fact that documents that are stored are not shared by default. Basically, OneDrive for Business is a synchronisation product for storing and sharing files such as documents. For smaller companies or organisations with limited complexity it can function perfectly as a DMS, but it is worth noting that the scope of DMS functionalities is rather small.

How to compare document management systems?

If you want to compare DMS systems, there are a number of factors to consider. It is useful to start with the price: the price differences are great and some systems might already be discarded due to budgetary constraints. There are also big differences in terms of functionalities. They can all store and share files, but not all include tools for extensive collaboration, apps for iOS and Android, OCR, electronic signatures, conflict tracking and encryption.

Furthermore, it is advisable to look at the possibilities of integrating with other applications and to check which document types are supported; pay particular attention to images and legacy file formats if this is relevant to you.

The Workspace 365 DMS

Workspace 365 is an adaptive digital workspace with a form of built-in DMS: the Documents App. Instead of separate document systems such as the network drive, SharePoint, OneDrive, documents in Microsoft Teams and other storage locations, everything is displayed within one document app. This means that all your documents are available on any device: you can search, edit and share documents on your mobile, laptop or tablet.

Within this DMS, you can make use of various storage options such as SharePoint, OneDrive for Business or the network drive, with each document solution displayed in the same way. The handy thing: this view corresponds to Windows Explorer, so your users will get used to it quickly.

One document app tackles the problem that when organisations work with SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and a network drive, it is not always clear where employees should store documents. The Workspace 365 DMS is easy to integrate within your Microsoft 365 environment, but can also be offered within your Workspace 365 workspace.

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Georgien Modijefsky

Georgien Modijefsky

Master of Content

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