4 best document management systems for today’s workforce

Bolster collaboration, innovation, and knowledge sharing in the workplace using these tools

Author: Ben LuthiJanuary 25th, 2019Illustration by Robert Samuel Hansen

The best document management systems make it easy to store, organize, and share knowledge digitally. Without one, your employees might feel like they’re in a constant game of “Where’s Waldo?” when it comes to hunting down important online files.

Sharing knowledge and important documents effectively in the workplace is also crucial for running a productive business. In fact, more than 70% of companies anticipate that they can increase productivity by at least 20% through effective knowledge sharing, according to the Technology Services Industry Association. Yet only 15% of the companies surveyed say they have a formal knowledge management process in place.

4 effective document management systems for your business

There’s no single best document management system on the market today—it all depends on the size and needs of your business. It’s also possible you may need to use more than one for effective knowledge management. That said, here are our top choices to consider.

1. Google Drive

Major pro: Inexpensive
Major con: Difficult to navigate without a good organizational system in place

If you’re a small startup with a handful of employees, there’s no need to spend a lot on a document management system. An inexpensive tool like Google Drive will do the trick. It’s free for the first 30 GB of storage, then $1.99 per month for 100 GB and $9.99 for 1 TB.

Google Drive allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more within the application. You can also upload copies from your hard drive.

The key is to have a strategy for organizing your documents, so they don’t all end up in a confusing soup of files that’s difficult to navigate. Create folders and subfolders to systematize your knowledge base and make document titles easily searchable.

2. Confluence

Major pro: Easy to navigate and customize
Major con: Expensive for midsize and large companies

If your business has expanded to the point where searching Google Drive feels like searching for a needle in a haystack, consider upgrading to Confluence by Atlassian.

The software is an open and shared workspace that enables you to create, manage, and collaborate on documents, projects, campaigns, and more. It can even serve as an internal wiki for the company, with an easy-to-navigate hierarchy.

The tool provides templates, page histories, and in-line and page comments, as well as real-time notifications when a page you own or are following is updated. It also integrates with multiple other tools, including Google Drive, Trello, Jira, and more.

The primary drawback is that it can be expensive. Instead of charging you based on data storage, Confluence’s pricing model is based on how many users you have. For example, up to 10 people can use the software for $100 per year, but with one more user, the annual cost spikes to $750. The more employees you have using the tool, the more expensive it gets.

3. HelloSign

Major pro: Streamlines an important business process
Major con: It’s limited in its purpose

Whether it’s a business agreement or an offer letter, keeping track of a paper trail can be frustrating and inefficient.

HelloSign is a cloud-based solution for digital signatures that allows you to close deals, onboard new hires, and implement new agreements more quickly. You can keep track of who has and hasn’t signed a document and maintain a history of completed documents for your records.

What’s more, HelloSign integrates with several other document management tools, including Dropbox, Google, Oracle, and Evernote. Pricing ranges from free to $40 per month for most businesses when paid annually. For the enterprise platform, pricing ranges from $99 to $449 or more.

If needed, HelloSign also offers an API that allows users to sign directly on your website to speed up the process.

4. Quip

Major pro: Its mobile-first focus gives users more flexibility in how they interact
Major con: Doesn’t allow for task delegation or project workflows

Collaboration is key to a productive workplace, but multiple people working on the same document at the same time can get messy fast. Whether you’re creating a project plan, a product roadmap, or a budget, Quip provides living documents that allow for smooth collaboration without piling up emails in your inbox.

You can create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and members of the team can chat and comment in real time. The software is mobile-friendly, making it easy to keep up the conversation even when you’re away from your computer.

Quip integrates with several other document management systems, including Jira, Box, Dropbox, and more. Pricing starts at $30 per month for a team of five and $10 per month for each extra user if you pay annually.

So which document management system is right for your company? Think about the pain points within your current system. Then choose a tool that addresses them effectively and fits your budget seamlessly.

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