Document Management System Features

In this article, we will cover in brief what is a document management system and cover the top 10 features that you should for.

What is a Document Management System (DMS)?

A document management system is a computer software used to capture, store, manage, and easily retrieve documents within an organization resulting in cost reduction and employees productivity improvement.

Back in the early 90’s, document management system vendors started to create software to manage organizations’ electronic documents such as word files, spreadsheets, and PDF files. The ultimate goal was to achieve what used to be called “Paperless Office”.

Document management systems (DMS) adoption was significant for their abilities to capture, store, manage, and easily retrieve documents resulting in reducing cost and improving employees productivity.

Document management system kept on evolving over time to cater for more complex document related functionalities such as collaboration, security, automated approval workflows, automatic retention, powerful OCR, version control, & audit trails.

Companies must start moving away from paper based documents if they want to stay competitive and achieve success. Using document management system features available will certainly help organization moving forward in their digital transformation journey.

To have a complete view of a document management system features list, check my article What is an EDMS?

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Document Management System Features – Top 10

Cloud & Mobile Support

The most important capability to look for in the list of document management system features is to have is the ability to access your organization’s documents whenever you are (office, working from home, travelling).

Challenges finding information

Fast Documents Retrieval

Do you know that professionals spend 50% of their time searching for documents. That could be a thing in the past if your organization adopts a document management system. In addition, make sure that full text search is among the list of their document management system features as it will provide a way for users to search inside the content of a document.

Version Control

Without a system to control the organization’s documents lifecycle, employees can easily lose a document, work on an older version of the document, or can’t revert back to previous versions. one of the top document management system features is allowing employees to keep track of document versions, their attachments, and metadata plus their ability to revert back to a previous version in no time.

Accessing information easily & quickly

Audit Trail

Audit trail is the complete history or log of any activity being performed on a document. It will allow users to see who created, edited, copied, etc. the document throughout its lifecycle. Make sure that this functionality is available. Audit trail is one the most important document management system features.


OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, in simple terms the document management system should be able to recognize text inside images in scanned documents and photos. This will allow users to easily and quickly locate a document in addition you need to make sure that your languages are supported.

Flexible & Robust Security

A document management system should have a robust security model allowing documents stored to be secure and minimize the risk of data breach or information falling in the wrong hands. In addition, one of the top document management system features is having the ability to have advanced encryption allowing data and files residing on the cloud or on premise to be encrypted and that will ensure even system administrators can’t view documents or their metadata.

Multiple Import & Edit Methods

If you are going to deal with big amounts of documents, you need to make sure that the document management system has the capability to edit or create documents in batch. This will save a lot of time on the employees as they will be able to create for example 100 documents in few minutes.

Integration with MS Office

Email is still by far the most used medium to transfer documents and communicate between team members. For that it is very important to have the ability to directly import documents from Outlook, word, excel to your document management system.

Collaboration on documents via email

Enhanced Collaboration

A good document management system will allow users to collaborate with extensive customization capabilities. Annotate, comment, and redact in real time should be included among the document management system features list.

Automated Workflows

All organizations today are document-heavy and automating document related processes such as approvals, request for information, will certainly improve day to day operations resulting in cost reduction, customer satisfaction, and increased employees’ productivity.

Using a document management system will help you automate the approval cycle of different activities such as leave requests, purchase orders, insurances & claims, invoices, etc.


Document management system features will help in transforming your organization from paper based documents to digital and that is considered one the main step in the digital transformation journey. A good document management system will increase your employees productivity, reduce storage & operational costs, and improve your customer experience.


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