11+ Critical Document Management Challenges and Solutions

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak

About: Haissam is a digital software product manager with 15 years of expertise in developing enterprise content management solutions. His core capabilities encompass digital transformation, document management, records management, business process automation, and collaboration.

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What are the document management challenges that businesses confront and how can they be addressed?

Document management challenges can affect a host of concerns. Digital file management chaos, high document process cycle time, document traceability, losing important documents, version control, and so on are examples of these.

Every organization, regardless of size, has faced document management challenges in its everyday operations. Even with the availability of a document management system to assist manage all document-centric activities, some businesses continue to rely on paper documents, which can lead to inefficiencies.

Managing an ever-increasing volume of documents is a difficult task. To get the most out of our documents, we need complete control over how we handle and track them.

If done correctly, the documents, data, and vital information will be securely kept in a centralized repository to which only authorized individuals will have access.

If you handle it poorly, the document process will be inefficient, and searching for documents will take a long time, costing you time, productivity, and money, not to mention how difficult it is to manage modifications and collaboration while also being exposed to various legal and regulatory risks.

With so much at risk, businesses must carefully plan, execute, and overcome some of the most prevalent document management obstacles in order to help their business develop.

In this article, we will go through the top 12 document management challenges and how to overcome them.

document management challenges

Document Management Challenges

The top document management challenges are:

1- Digital file management chaos

Most organizations rely on individuals to handle their digital documents in the absence of a document management system (DMS). This might result in a variety of concerns, including trouble finding documents, working on non-active document versions, overriding other people’s changes, and duplicating content dispersed over numerous sites.

Setting up a universal file management strategy that defines file name standards, document revisions, storage, and access is the best method to tackle this difficulty.

In a recent article, I discussed several strategies for improving file management within your business.

Tips For Maximizing File Management FAST! – The Number One IM Blog (theecmconsultant.com)

2- High document process cycle time 

Paper-based documents are typically associated with significant time waste. It is prohibitively expensive to maintain, store, search, and enable collaboration. Organizations are losing ground if they continue to rely on paper documentation for day-to-day operations.

Consider the amount of time wasted during the time the document is written, edited, authorized, and shared amongst departments.

Implementing a system will streamline document processing as much as feasible. The document cycle will be considerably reduced, allowing businesses to complete far more work in less time.

3- Inconsistency

Failure to impose consistency throughout the whole company in how documents should be managed, controlled, monitored, shared, titled, versioned, and so on will result in “Information Chaos.”

Inconsistencies in sales, product management, or operations may impact negatively on your business over time.

A tangible example would be when customer requirements agreed upon by pre-sales during discussions are not correctly documented in contracts or the service design, it is not delivered effectively, and this is exactly the type of thing that burns the customer’s goodwill and begins to damage your brand.

Inconsistency may be addressed by implementing a well-defined document management plan in each and every department, particularly those working with legal, financial, sales, and accounting papers.

Document control can help impose consistency and accuracy in your document management implementation. Read the below article for more info

Why You Really Need DOCUMENT CONTROL – Document Management (theecmconsultant.com)

4- Document traceability

One of the most important challenges of document management is to be able to trace documents throughout their lifecycle.

At any point, you should be able to determine the status of the document, what changes have been made, if it has been authorized or not, whether it has been shared with other stakeholders, and so on.

Document traceability is difficult to achieve without a DMS; this is one of the benefits of digitizing your documents and implementing a system to manage records lifecycle.

5- Losing important documents

How many times have you tried and failed to find a previously produced document?

Each document that is lost must be reconstructed, and you may find yourself unable to do it on your own.

Critical documents, such as customer requirements and contracts, should be treated with care to avoid losing them.

Organizations typically arrange several backup plans for their digital records, allowing them to be recovered in the event of an emergency.

Backing up your documents and have an archive management should be part of your document management plan.

6- Security

Document security is one of the top document management pitfalls your organization can face.

If you run a successful business, chances are you create valuable data, paperwork, or intellectual property. That worth must be safeguarded against unauthorized access.

This is a very large and difficult problem that businesses must face.

If you operate digitally, it is critical to keep track of who has access to each document type. Ideally, you should utilize a spreadsheet with document categories as rows and user groups as columns, and cross-reference each group that has access to certain document categories.

As a result, you’ll always have a high-level overview of your department’s or organization’s whole security model.

Document security
Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

7- Accessibility barriers

Remote working has become a more acceptable business model hence employees want access to their documents from anywhere, at any time.

Working with paper documents is a show stopper, as we saw during the COVID19 pandemic. That alone should be a red flag for your firm, prompting it to begin the digitalization effort as soon as feasible.

With the correct solution implementation, digital documents, on the other hand, are easier to read and access from a mobile device or the internet.

If your document management or cloud storage solution isn’t mobile-ready, you’ve simply added a costly new roadblock to the many areas of the business that are critical.

8- Version control

Among the top document management challenges that businesses encounter with paper-based documentation is version management.

It can be time-consuming to keep track of all document versions until they are finished, as well as the authors of various modifications and rollbacks.

To summarize, a system maintains major and minor version control based on a stated approach.

Check out the article below to learn how to overcome this obstacle.


9- Collaboration

Because of the importance of collaboration in improving your team’s overall decision-making skills, your business should do everything possible to support it.

All of our modern businesses, particularly small enterprises, operate inside an ecosystem of customers, partners, and extensive supply chains.

Without the ability to share documents simply, precisely, and securely, unnecessary friction and expenses are imposed.

Modern solutions have extended their collaboration model to simply allow employees to exchange documents within the firm or with external stakeholders while tracking each activity performed on the document.

Document collaboration
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

10 – Employee buy-in

Document management, as a critical component of your organization, requires employee buy-in in order to be successful. Even with the most effective system and tactics, businesses cannot achieve the desired business outcome without their people understanding and respecting the efforts made.

Training your staff and explaining the increased value and time saved by correctly handling documents can assist you in overcoming this difficulty and smoothing up your business processes.

11- Integration with other business applications

Without proper integration, your organization will suffer from information silos and you should avoid this as much possible.

The majority of the published documents are part of a larger procedure. Documents, on the other hand, should be accessible by other business programs such as business process automation systems, CRM, ERP, and so on.

Relying on paper documents is a show-stopper and will prevent you from streamlining your company processes. Digital documents stored in a DMS, on the other hand, will allow other applications to access them for digital signatures, routing, and delivery to the appropriate person at the right time.

12- System implementation

When you pick up a new system to assist in solving the majority of the document management challenges, you need first to ensure that your workers are thoroughly taught and feel comfortable using it.

Ensure that users can do the fundamental duties of document management in a simple and straightforward way. Organize seminars, group discussions, and Q&A sessions on the new DMS deployment for staff. They will be more ready to take on the system once you have outlined its benefits to them.


Having worked in this field for over 15 years, I attempted to develop a list of common challenges of document management.

Let me know in the comments area below if you face any barriers that were not addressed in this post and how you plan to solve them.

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