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How to find the best document management software for your business

All of us at monday.com

    In a world where almost half of all businesses are working remotely, filing cabinets and paper trails won’t cut it when it comes to document management.

    Businesses need a robust and accessible electronic document management platform.

    They need document management software.

    In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the benefits of document management software, the features you should look out for, and a few of our recommended platforms.

    First, let’s clarify what document management software actually is.

    What is document management software?

    Document management software is used to store, track, and manage documents, data, and information about your business.

    From Word documents and images to Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations, every digital document needs effective management.

    And that’s where document management software can help.

    It allows teams to store their documents in a central location, organize them efficiently, and keep track of business processes. Take a look at monday.com, for example.

    Businesses can use our online document management software to store all of their files and manage their documents.

    monday.com's digital asset management (DAM) template storing a variety of files

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    6 benefits of document management software

    Organizing your business documents can sound like an arduous task. But with the right software, it’s much easier to manage.

    So let’s take a look at some of the benefits of document control software to see how it can help your business be more productive.

    1. Increase productivity

    83% of workers have recreated a document that already existed because they couldn’t find it. That’s a lot of time spent being unproductive.

    But with a document management solution, teams can find what they need much more efficiently.

    Everyone knows where to look to find what they need. There’s no confusion about which platform to go to or where the digital file lives.

    As a result, teams spend less time trying to find the documents they need and more time being productive.

    Not to mention, if you use the same platform for document management as you do for managing your workflow, your team will spend even less time flicking between platforms.

    monday.com is a perfect example of this. Our platform allows teams to manage their day-to-day work and provides them with all the features they need to manage their documentation. We’ll talk about these features more later.

    Example image of monday.com's interface in a dashboard

    2. Improve business processes

    When used properly, a document management system can help you improve your business processes.

    How?

    Well, there are a couple of ways:

    • Spot room for improvement: having a document management system in place helps you keep track of all your business processes in one location. As a result, you can easily spot areas of improvement and implement changes to make things better.

    • Review past processes: with document management software, you can look back on your previous business processes. You can see what worked well in the past, what didn’t go according to plan, and view how your processes have evolved. This information is a solid basis for making informed decisions about your business processes.

    3. Track your documents with version control

    Version control — sometimes called source control or document control — involves managing and tracking changes to your documents.

    It allows you to see what changes have been made, who made them, and when they were made.

    But why is this helpful?

    Let’s take a look:

    • Identify the development stage of any document: if you have a document that undergoes many changes and revisions, you need to know which version of a document you are looking at.

    Has the document gone through the approval process? Or are revisions still necessary? Version control will show you.

    • Which version was used at a certain time: version control helps you identify which version of a document was in use at a particular time. Let’s use an example.

    Imagine you’re reviewing a formal business policy. 6 months ago, someone on your team didn’t follow the policy. Using version control, you can see that at that time, the policy was different. This means your colleague did follow the policy that was in effect at the time.

    • Ensure smooth collaboration: some of your documents will have frequent visitors and a variety of contributors. To ensure collaboration runs smoothly, users need to know when changes were made and who made them. That’s where version control can help.

    To see version control in action, take a look at monday.com’s activity log.

    It shows users the changes made to their workflow, when they took place, and who made them.

    monday.com's activity log for a wedding guest plan

    4. Backup your documents

    Imagine you have a paper-based system. All your business documents are hard copies in filing cabinets.

    What happens if a paper document gets misplaced or destroyed? Unless you have copies of every single document, you’re in a sticky situation.

    But with a document management system, all your business documents are backed up online.

    If anything accidentally gets deleted or misplaced, you’ll still be able to access it.

    But what about the documents you no longer need?

    Good question.

    Instead of worrying about what to do with outdated documents, you can simply archive them within your document software. That way, if you ever need them in the future, you still have access.

    5. Better team collaboration

    With a document management system in place, collaboration becomes easier. Here’s how:

    • Working from a single location: everyone is working together in the same location, making it a much more efficient and streamlined workflow.

    • Access live documents simultaneously: you can easily share documents with your team and work on live documents simultaneously.

    • Additional features: depending on the software you use, you’ll get some additional features that make collaboration even easier. Take a look at monday.com, for example. In our workdocs, you can tag users in documents, add comments, and share updates within the document itself.

    monday.com's workdoc with comments and and user tagging

    6. Keep on top of privacy and regulatory compliance

    There’s a lot of legislation in place to make sure that you handle data correctly. GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA are a few of the big hitters.

    But keeping on top of data privacy and compliance regulations is no easy feat.

    Fortunately, document management software reduces the risk of non-compliance.

    Not only will document software provide you with a high level of transparency, but it also allows you to automate your data management — depending on the software you use, of course.

    monday.com's automation page in action

    Let’s use an example.

    GDPR states that you can only keep personal data on record for as long as is necessary. To make sure your business is compliant, you create an automation within your document management system. The automation removes consumer data after a certain timeframe.

    This means you don’t have to worry about manually tracking your data. Your software does the hard work for you.

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    What should I look for in document management system software?

    Now that you know the benefits of using a document management system, let’s explore some of the features you should look out for.

    Ease of use

    With document management software, you need a platform that’s easy to navigate.

    Why?

    Because it’s meant to help you and your team be more efficient. If it’s not easy to navigate, it defeats the point of using it in the first place.

    Take a look at monday.com as an example.

    Our user interface is simple, visually appealing, and intuitive. It allows users to easily move around the platform and find what they need. And we have a variety of tutorials online to help with any queries.

    Image of monday.com's project board as well as the Gmail integration, an Excel document, and tagging a user in a comment

    Customizable features

    To make the most of your document management, it needs to be customizable.

    Why?

    Because having a customizable platform means you can create the perfect document management workflow.

    monday.com offers hundreds of customizations, all of which make it easier for teams to manage their workflow from end to end. And that includes document management.

    Image of monday.com's project overview with the user dragging the owner column

    Control user access

    Having all of your business documents stored in one location is incredibly useful. But not everyone needs access to all the documentation.

    To make it easier for your team to navigate, you can control permissions and user access.

    For example, it’s unlikely the design team will need to review financial documents and vice versa. With user access control, you can grant access to the relevant documents for each specific team.

    This means they have less information clogging up their system, allowing them to focus on the information they need.

    It’s also a helpful feature to have if you’re managing important documents or confidential information, such as work contracts or other HR documents. You don’t want everyone accessing each other’s personal information, after all.

    So make sure you find a platform that allows you to control user access. This will make sure your team has access to the information they need, and it’ll help you manage confidential documents with ease.

    Image of monday.com's board permissions and user access

    Integrations with third-party platforms

    Integrations are a great way to enhance your document management system, especially if you already use third-party platforms to create or manage documents.

    For example, let’s say you’re creating a content plan for your YouTube channel.

    Part of the plan involves competitor research. Naturally, you want to link to competitor videos to show what type of content you should be posting.

    Now imagine you could integrate the YouTube app with your document management platform. This would allow you to embed videos directly into your document.

    As a result, your content management process is more streamlined. Whoever reviews your plan will easily be able to see the videos you want them to, saving them from clicking the link to view the video in a separate window.

    In other words, it’s more efficient.

    So make sure you use a system that integrates external platforms with your document management system. It’ll help you streamline your entire document management process.

    Image of monday.com's system allowing users to embed an external file or platform into the software

    Search functionality

    86% of employees face challenges when searching for information they need to do their jobs.

    That means productivity takes a hit.

    To avoid this situation, make sure you use a system that has a search function.

    Having a search bar, for example, makes document management a whole lot easier. Users can search for a word or phrase, filter through the relevant documentation, and find the information they need.

    Here’s an example of a search bar on monday.com’s support page.

    monday.com's support page search bar

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    The best document management software on the market

    If you’re thinking about using document management software but you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve outlined some of the best document management platforms out there.

    1. monday.com

    monday.com is more than just a document management system.

    It’s a Work OS. That means we help teams plan, organize, manage, and track their entire workflow from start to finish.

    Using a selection of over 200 customizable templates, teams can create their ideal workflow in a matter of clicks. No training is necessary.

    And when it comes to document management, we pull out all the stops.

    Here’s how:

    • Automate your document management: save yourself the time and hassle of manually keeping your documents up-to-date and automate some processes. Our workflow automation recipes make it easy for teams to efficiently manage the document lifecycle.

    • Assign roles and responsibilities: do you want someone to update a business document? Or review a proposal you’ve put together? Simply assign them a task, and they’ll know what to do.

    • Create documents on monday.com: our monday workdocs allow users to create documents within the monday.com platform. Simply add a new document to your board and customize it to your heart’s content. You can add images, embed widgets, integrate project boards, and tag users.

    Image of monday.com's workoc with a project board embedded

    • Use our document generation apps: monday.com’s apps allow you to add widgets, automations, integrations, and custom views to your workflow. When it comes to document management, you can use DocuGen, Online Docs, or PandaDoc with our platform.

    2. SharePoint

    SharePoint is a document management tool that allows teams to build an internal intranet. Using this intranet, teams can share, manage, and edit documents with both internal and external users.

    Sharepoint is a cloud-based platform, meaning that users can access the software online. If you don’t want the cloud version, you can download and launch the server on-site.

    Top tip: creating an intranet can be a confusing and time-consuming task if you’ve not done it before, so bear this in mind when you’re deciding on which platform to use.

    3. NetDocuments

    NetDocuments is a cloud-based platform that focuses on document and email management.

    It allows teams to create, edit, store, locate, and collaborate on documents and emails.

    The platform works best on a Windows PC, mostly due to its Microsoft Office add-in called ndOffice. ndOffice is installed onto the desktop, and users can save Microsoft Word documents directly to the system.

    However, this add-on is only available for Windows. It doesn’t work on a Mac. So if you’re using a Mac of any kind, you might want to think about using a platform that’s a little more versatile.

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    Using monday.com as your document management system

    We’ve already talked a little bit about monday.com’s document management features.

    Here, we will look at some other features in more detail to give you a good idea of how we can help you and your team manage documents.

    Customize your document management

    At monday.com, we want our software to work for you. Not the other way around.

    That’s why we offer a variety of customizations.

    Whether that’s changing your board views, creating custom automations, or customizing our templates, you can create a document management system that’s perfect for what you need.

    monday.com visual showing the interface managing creative files and documents

    Collaborate with your team

    monday.com is built for collaboration.

    With our cloud-based software, you can access all your documents in real-time. You can also tag users in documents, share updates, and embed widgets and project boards straight into the workdoc.

    This makes collaboration pretty straightforward. Your team can work together on the same document and have access to all the information they need.

    monday.com allowing users to add updates directly into the workdoc

    Easily share documents

    We want teams to communicate, work together, and achieve their goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    That’s why we make it easy to share documents.

    Once your workdoc is live, simply click the file sharing button in the top right corner and choose exactly who to share it with. It’s as easy as that.

    monday.com allowing users to share the workdoc

    You can also create shareable workdocs to share with people outside your company. All you have to do is invite them as a guest to your account, and you can show them whatever documentation you like.

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    Give monday.com a try

    Effective document management can help your business improve collaboration, be more productive, and keep business processes up to date.

    If you’re thinking about using a document management platform, take a look at monday.com. You can sign up for our free individual plan to test the waters and get the ball rolling.

    If you decide we’re a good fit, we’d recommend starting with our digital asset management template.

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