In assessing the best DMS platforms, we first examined the installation process to determine how challenging it is to install and then operate the software. Then we assessed the complexity of adding documents and manipulating existing documents already in the system.
Based on the results of our tests, we assigned each application an Ease of Use score from zero to 100 percent. The highest-scoring DMS systems feature intuitive tools, streamlined workflows and easy-to-learn procedures that make the transition to a paperless office quick and easy.
These programs are also flexible and feature varied technical support options, making them a solid choice for all kinds of businesses. Based on our research, below are the features you'll want to pay close attention to in order to find the best DMS system for your business.
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 DMS applications on our list, slightly more than 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, you'll want to confirm this capability is included in the package you are considering with the software manufacturer.
Tools: Version Control Is Critical
Version control tools are critical to safeguarding and tracking editable documents within a DMS. 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 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.
Integration: CRM & ERP Integration Are Uncommon
If your business utilizes a CRM application or an ERP database, you will want to limit your search to DMS 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 allows you to access, edit, back up and monitor digital files and documents created within your CRM or ERP program seamlessly, further increasing office efficiency.
Of the 10 products on our list, five 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 (Check our review matrix for more detail).
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 like Microsoft Office.