Top 10 Must Have Features in a Document Management System

Organizations nowadays are searching for ways to reduce cost, automate processes, and improve efficiency. Investing in an ECM solution or a document management system can help these organizations achieve their goal by digitally transforming the way their departments operate.

Companies must start moving away from paper based documents if they want to stay competitive and achieve success. Getting started on how to make the transition from papers to electronic documents can be difficult but with the help of an ECM system or a document management system, this process will be easier.

I already discussed in a previous blog post how to choose an ECM solution, however in this blog post i will explain what are the most important features to look for in a document management system or the document management module in ECM.

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Cloud & Mobile Support

The most important feature to have is the ability to access your organization’s document on the move. Employees need to be able to access their documents from the office or from home.

Fast Documents Retrieval

Do you know that professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information. That could be a thing in the past if your organization adopts a robust ECM solution or a DMS. Also make sure that there is a way to search inside the uploaded documents, we call it Full Text Search, as most of the time employees will not remember the title of the document but for sure they can remember a keyword inside the uploaded 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. A mature document management module/system, will allow employees to keep track of document versions, their attachments, and metadata plus their ability to revert back to a previous version in no time.

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 lifecyle. Make sure that this functionality is available.


OCRing stands for Optical Character Recognition, in simple terms the 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. Make sure that your language is supported

Flexible & Robust Security

Most of the systems available in the market have a robust security model making sure that the documents stored are secure from any risk of security breaches. If your organization is going to use it in departments where data is sensitive such as HR or accounting, you should make sure that the system has advanced encryption where the data in the database and the files residing on the server will be encrypted.

Multiple Import & Edit Methods

If you are going to deal with big amounts of documents, you need to make sure that the 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 system.

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 available out of the box.

Backup & Data Recovery

A good document management module will make sure that organizations never lose their data anymore. A scheduled backup should be available to restore the data in case of emergencies. Remember Information are the most valuable asset of each organization.


Workflow Module

Having the ability to automate your internal or external organizations’ processes will be an extremely added value in a document management system. Digitized documents usually tend to follow certain workflows in each department in your organization such as document approval or collaboration and some actions to be performed such as electronic signature, PDF conversion, etc.

All big ECM solutions are now in a way or another providing non IT users the ability to model their own workflows without the need for extra IT knowledge. This will have big effect in the industry as automating work processes is going to help organizations cut expenses, be more efficient, and allow their employees to be more productive.

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