Document Management System – how to select one

Store, manage and track enterprise documents.
How to locate, retrieve, update and share critical information from various work periods and from various work projects in a timely and efficient way and thus simplify the work process of the organization.

That’s an hard topic I’m facing up from a long time: hot to select the right platform.
There are many DMSs available currently in either affordable or expensive models or as downloadable open source systems, available free or for a fee. While price is certainly a deciding factor in purchasing a management system, the features offered by the system should be of primary consideration. The priciest systems do not necessarily have the best features or at least the features you particularly require for your business operations. So having a precise idea of requirements it’s the most important step.

DMS is something more that a simple storage solution, something more that Cloud storage (Google Drive, Microsft skyDrive, iDrive, Adrive, etc..). Data and resources need to be managed, shared, controlled, organized properly. Most of loud based simple storage service are something very useful for your personal purpose, but don’t try to use it as a DMS replacement in an enterprise environment (I tried. Believe me, it doesn’t work…)

Below a list of features you should take into account when selecting a DMS:
- User based access: user have to login with their accounts
- Roles & permissions control: detailed and granular configuration of what each user can do (view, edit) and on which folder
- Tree-based folder/section organization: I’m really addicted to the concept of folders …
- Search: possibility to search for files using relevant keywords, categories, name, tags
- Sharing: possibility to share document (with different permission) with internal or external users
- Document versioning: management of document version, tracking of document changes
- Collaborative editing: possibility for a group of users to work on the same document at the same time
- Document proprieties: specific information regarding author, size, modifications made, dates of creation and modifications, and any other pertinent details.
- Resource allocation: storage resources to reserve and split among different categories, folders or specific users
- Cloud storage: make the resources always available from everywhere, with a simple web based management and access to the material

Many companies are adopting holistic solutions which simplify enterprise collaboration, knowledge management and team work organization that usually includes also the document management. Usually such platforms are simpler than professional DMS, but depending on your needs they probably completely satisfy your needs.

API availability an integration with third party systems are probably the most important features if you plan to grow and build a complete IT environment. Integration with the CRM, e-mail, enterprise social platforms, is something you probably will consider when your company grow. Independently from the type of market and sector you company is, for all the company division (R&D, marketing, product management, sales, support, etc..) the DMS will be always one of the most important pieces of the pictures.

Here some nice resource about DMS:
Wikipedia – Document Management System

Here some commercial DMS you can have a look to find out which is the best for you: