Whether you want flexibility, ease of use, or scaling, there’s a document management system for any size business.
The demands of running a modern small business require a modern document storage solution. Document management systems (DMS) allow organizations to sort and archive their digital documents for safekeeping and easy retrieval while maintaining appropriate security and compliance requirements.
While these systems have long been the purview of large enterprises that require global access to files, small businesses can also benefit from these services. Document management software for small businesses grants owners and employees flexibility and peace of mind, allowing remote access from home or on the road while providing digital backups in case of theft or environmental disaster. There’s a document management solution available for any budget or business need — these are some of the best options available today.
Find the best document management solutions for your business with our guide, The complete guide to document management systems.
Best document management software for small businesses
Best overall: DocuWareDocuWare is the leading document management system for small businesses because it offers a robust, cloud-based feature set, intelligent search capabilities, and compliance tracking in a single package.
Additionally, organizations can automate workflows that notify team members of document updates, request signatures from critical stakeholders, and more to streamline operations. DocuWare customizes its offerings for each organization based on size and overall need, so sole proprietors, small businesses, and growing chains can find a solution that works for them.
Most flexible: eFileCabinet
eFileCabinet offers many features small businesses expect from a document management system, like robust governance implementation, secure electronic signature gathering, and intelligent search functionality. The platform is also highly flexible, allowing users to access documents via their web browser across desktop computers and mobile devices or through a dedicated desktop application, with files stored on premises or in the cloud.
Beyond file access, organizations can use templates to create standardized file structures or manually configure their workflow. A built-in document previewer provides easy access to side-by-side document previews to compare or copy information between files. Plus, users can build forms directly within eFileCabinet to capture information from direct user input, reducing the need for manual data entry.
Easiest to use: M-Files
Many document management systems can come with a steep learning curve to get the most productivity. M-Files aims to make its platform as easy as possible with its metatag-based search functionality. Artificial intelligence allows M-Files to automatically scan and tag metadata to uploaded documents, granting users quicker access to any file stored in the system, no matter where it’s located.
Additionally, M-Files offers robust access policy and governance automation, ensuring all stored documents — and the users who access them — adhere to necessary compliance and security regulations. M-Files also features built-in optical character recognition (OCR), providing easier retrieval of scanned documents.
Did You Know?:The fi and SP series of scanners come packaged with powerful PaperStream Capture software for automated image correction, OCR, and much more. Upgrade to Pro for additional metadata tagging and database connectivity features.
Best free option: VIENNA Advantage
Most of the options on this list require signing up for a monthly or yearly subscription. If you’re operating on a budget and don’t mind a do-it-yourself approach, look into VIENNA Advantage, an open-source document management system provider offering both paid and free options.
The Community Edition is VIENNA Advantage’s free offering, meant for technically-minded organizations and small businesses looking for basic DMS features without a monthly fee. The Community Edition does not receive official technical support from VIENNA Advantage, though its active user base provides community support, training resources, and troubleshooting through an online portal. Plus, the Community Edition can utilize third-party integrations and VIENNA Advantage’s Market, which provides additional functionality through free and paid add-on modules.
Best for growing businesses: Microsoft SharePoint
If your organization relies on Microsoft’s suite of Office applications (or is looking to migrate operations into an all-in-one solution like Office), you’ll want to consider using Microsoft’s built-in DMS platform. SharePoint integrates directly with Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, and other Microsoft products, enabling seamless collaboration and storage of digital documents to make it one of the most powerful DMS platforms available.
SharePoint’s biggest strength — its flexible toolset and comprehensive functionality — can also act as its biggest weakness, especially for small businesses without much time or resources to spend configuring it to their needs. SharePoint is not easy to use, requiring special training and expertise to get the most out of it. However, for small businesses looking to take the next step in their growth, SharePoint can help your business scale up to the next level.
Did You Know?:PCMagazine called the fi-8170 “state of the document-scanning art.” Click here to read the full review and learn why it earned an “excellent” 4 out of 5 rating.
Our recommendation: fi and SP Series scanners
Those in the market for a scanner to accompany their document management solution have no shortage of options. We take great pride in having spent the last 50+ years researching, designing and developing some of the most advanced and powerful electronics in the world, including our professional grade fi and SP Series scanners.
Built to purpose for the most demanding document handling jobs, fi and SP Series scanners are capable of processing tens-of-thousands of pages per day at the highest levels of accuracy. Their intuitive integration capabilities with all existing work suites minimize time-to-value for businesses looking to invest in tools that will pay dividends for years to come.
Any of the fi and SP Series scanners can act as the centerpiece of your document management strategy. Rely on the fi-8170’s 100-page capacity feeder and 70-page-per-minute scan speeds to digitize the bulk of your paper documents in a flash. For businesses on a budget, choose the SP-1425, which combines automated scanning with a versatile flatbed for taking care of large or awkward documents and photos. Whatever you pick, you can be sure they’ll seamlessly integrate into the best document management systems available. Click here to learn more or shop the rest of our production scanner line.