I have reviewed numourous document management solutions and considered
factors such as ease of use, ease of integration, search tools,
Microsoft Office integration, price and many more to whittle the
initially large list to these 7. I used my own personal experience, as
well a contact who personally runs a business using a document
management solution (they use Sharepoint) to help decide. I hope you
find this list useful.
Windows® SharePoint Services allows teams to create Web sites for
information sharing and document collaboration, benefits that help
increase individual and team productivity. Windows SharePoint Services
is a component of the Windows Server 2003 information worker
infrastructure and provides team services and sites to Microsoft
Office System and other desktop programs. It also serves as a platform
for application development.
Interface: Windows Explorer-like, Web
Integration: Microsoft Office Systems
- Each SharePoint site can be individually backed up and restored for
end-user support. This ability reduces the cost of restoring an entire
database for a small subset of data.
- With the .NET Framework-based object model and command-line access
to administration functions, system administrators can - create custom
scripts to automate their most common functions.
- To prevent disk space from running low, sites can be limited to a
preset size. Automatic alerts can be sent to notify owners when a site
approaches its quota.
- Site collection administrators can block users from uploading
specified file types when adding attachments or files to document
- Document workspace sites created using Microsoft Office Word 2003
take advantage of platform features by providing a document
- Documents can be reserved by individual users for updating purposes.
- Document changes are tracked and assigned different version numbers
for auditing and rollback.
- Changes can be made in a Web browser by dragging Web Parts onto
personal or public pages, and then customizing them. Themes can also
be applied using a
- Users can determine the online status of site members quickly by
sending e-mail or an instant message, adding the member to a contact
list, and viewing
current free/busy status.
As one of the largest companies in the world, Microsoft Sharepoint is
definitely the leader in the field of document management for
architecture. "Microsoft came out so far ahead that the CRN Test
Center believes Windows SharePoint Services will ultimately become the
collaboration platform." If you are looking for extensive support both
through Microsoft and from web communities, Sharepoint is definitely
the way to go.
Document Locator manages any kind of file you can save on a
Windows-based file server, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF,
AutoCAD, TIFF4 image files, multimedia files, and more. The server
portion is powered by Microsoft SQL Server and runs on current
versions of Microsoft servers. The client installs and runs on Windows
2000 and XP systems. And because Document Locator is integrated into
Windows Explorer, Microsoft Office applications, and Outlook it is
intuitive to learn and use.
Interface: Windows Explorer-like, Web (Add-on)
Integration: Microsoft Office Systems
- Navigate inside Windows Explorer; no need to learn a separate application
- Use the right-click button to access most features of the system
- Use the Search toolbar built into Windows Explorer for instant
access to documents
- Fully integrated into Microsoft Office applications
- Find keywords in documents in seconds with full-text searches
- Create and save powerful searches using multiple criteria
- Use search results to present a customized view of documents that works for you
- Set up batch scanning routines from anywhere on the network
- Build a full-text index of each document as it is saved to the repository
- Works with any TWAIN-compliant scanner
- Integrated scanning access to any scanner on the network from
directly within Document Locator
- Automate the storage, processing, routing and tracking of emails,
attachments and faxes.
- Find emails, attachments and faxes quickly
- Automatically manage versions of documents
- View a concise version history for any document
- Add fully searchable version comments as you save each version
- Promote prior versions to the current version
- Prevent simultaneous changes to documents
- Prevent overwriting of important data
- Ensure that users make changes to the correct version
- Catalog and organize your documents according to the way you work
- Define specific Properties and Profiles to speed up searches for documents
- Customize Profiles to link to external databases
- Control access to any document or directory with flexible NT-style permissions
- Audit users who access or attempt to access critical documents
- Import documents quickly, in large batches or small groups
- Use familiar Windows operations, like drag-and-drop or copy and paste
- Eliminate the need to send multiple copies of the same document as
- Keep workgroups informed about changes to documents
- Enforce consistency in company documents by managing and controlling
- Automatically manage versions of templates; notify users when a template changes
- Enforce document consistency throughout the organization
- Prevent unauthorized changes to important business documents
- Speed up document creation
- Ensure a standardized "look and feel"
- Use common diff tools
- Compare side-by-side versions of Word documents, HTML documents, or text files
- Using Microsoft Outlook, point to documents in the repository by emailing links
- Reduce excessive replication of emailed and forwarded documents
With extensive Office support, Document Locator provides ease of use,
allowing quicker integration into your business environment.
Enterprise Document Management
Through every step of the content lifecycle, Documentum Enterprise
Document Management (EDM) solutions help customers address their
document management challenges by providing a common platform that
unifies people, processes, and content. The content lifecycle begins
when content is created by an author or captured through processes
such as scanning and imaging or forms processing. At any point in the
lifecycle, content can be accessed through a Documentum client such as
Desktop, Webtop, Digital Asset Manager, or eRoom Enterprise. Content
can also be accessed through a content-enabled portal or
content-enabled application such as an authoring tool, ERP system, or
third-party product developed by an ISV partner.
Once content enters the Documentum repository, it's managed by the
Documentum Content Server, which offers core content management
services such as document workflows, library services, and security.
In addition to core services, the Content Server also manages several
platform extensions including Content Rendition Services, Content
Intelligence Services, and Media Services.
The next stage in the content lifecycle is delivery to any number of
media types including print, Web site, portal, wireless device, or
CD-ROM. Site Delivery Services help minimize latency when publishing
content over the Web, and Content Distribution Services enable
customers to push content through user
The last stage in the content lifecycle involves archival and storage.
Documentum Records Manager is designed to help companies comply with
regulations and best practices around the retention of e-mail and
other types of business records. In addition, Documentum's integration
with EMC's Centera line of products helps customers ensure that they
comply with all storage-related aspects of records management
Interface: Windows Explorer-like, Web
- Content creation - Integrates at the user interface level with
industry-standard authoring tools built by Microsoft, Adobe,
Macromedia, and others
- Content capture - Transforms paper documents and forms into
electronic images and metadata ready to be integrated into business
- Native XML authoring and management - Using XML to separate content
from layout, non-technical users can easily leverage content across
- Robust security - Protects the valuable enterprise knowledge
contained in managed documents using ACLs, LDAP, and SSL
- Workflow management - Powerful tools for defining and automating
business processes that involve routing documents for processing
tasks, approvals, and
- Lifecycle management - Classifies documents as records and manages
attribute changes as documents pass through stages such as reviewed,
published, archived, and retired
- Virtual documents - Enables the quick assembly of large documents
from multiple sources and can also be used to aggregate related
content items into
virtual folders that deliver a 360-degree view of a customer
relationship or business transaction
Integration with enterprise applications - Links unstructured content
to structured records in enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM
- Content globalization - Enables the creation, management, and
delivery of multilingual content to employees, customers, partners,
and other stakeholders
- Full-text searching - Enables users to easily find and retrieve
documents based on document contents
Another huge document management solution company, definitely
extremely reliable. Its document management solution seems to be
composed of numerous smaller programs, unlike many of its other
competitors. On the plus side, you can buy only what you need.
InQuest Project is a feature rich collaboration and document
management solution. Built using a 100% Internet architecture, users
are able to securely access documents, tasks, action items and
calendars through a standard web browser. To facilitate communication
all users have access to tools such as chat, instant messaging and
Whether it is creating corporate strategy, developing a marketing
program or building a new product, InQuest Project offers a more
efficient way to securely share information, coordinate activities and
deliver project success.
Interface: Windows Explorer-like, Web
Integration: Microsoft Office Systems
- Securely store information with Comprehensive Document Management
features including integrated file vaults, direct routing and check-in
/ check-out associations, and full version control - all with event
driven email notifications
- Ensure documentintegrity with Robust File Security featuring full
access control, electronic file signatures, file history, audit
trails, and virus scanning
- Assign and update Task & Action Items to establish baseline budgets
and schedules, and monitor progress in real-time
- Using Desktop Integration Tools open and save files directly from
common business applications including word processors, spreadsheets
- View and mark-up 250 different file types with the Integrated File
Viewer, online in real-time without the file's native application
- Utilize Meeting Manager for creating agendas, capturing meeting
minutes and tracking subsequent action items
- Publish Project Calendars for specific projects, stages, or
highlights and filter the views based on teams and / or activities
- Introduce free form digital Surveys and Questionnaires for gathering
requirements, success criteria, project post-mortems, or customer
- Streamline Project Setup: Streamline project launch and enforce best
practices using project templates with defined file and security
- Enhanced Corporate Personalization: Customize the look and feel of
the platform using logos, images and established directory structures
to create a user-friendly environment
- Unlimited Projects & Users: Manage a powerful system with unlimited
growth and flexibility, that works the way you need it through
configured templates, custom directories, and multiple user groups
- Customized Meta-Data: Apply user-defined information to documents,
folders, URLs and projects for powerful search and retrieval
- Real-Time Collaboration: Maintain contact with system team members
through integrated features like Threaded Discussions, Secured Chat
and Instant Messaging
- Increased Project Turnarounds: Lower costs and minimize mistakes
through 24/7 access to information, instant delivery of change
notifications, and controlled file distribution
Fortis provides the power to: capture documents from any source, such
as scanned, faxed, and electronic files; view and manage more than 200
different industry standard file formats; share documents and content
via LAN, WAN, Internet/intranet, e-mail, fax, CD or printed copy.
Ideal for use in the office, department or enterprise-wide, Fortis
enables seamless communication by leveraging the advantages offered by
client/server technology and ODBC architecture. Fortis supports three
back-end database engines: Microsoft Embedded SQL Server, Microsoft
SQL Server and Oracle.
A feature-rich software suite, Fortis offers a complete imaging
solution to your business needs. With options for Microsoft Office
integration, ERM (Electronic Report Management), CD publishing, and
Web-enabled importing, viewing and editing, Fortis can help you solve
any document or information challenge.
Interface: Windows Explorer-like
Integration: Microsoft Office Systems (minimal, see
Fortis is a Microsoft certified partner with testimonials
numerous success stories (more success stories can be found in the
drop down menu on their site).
Synergy Document Management Software
Synergy Document Management Software is easy to use, powerful and
cost-effective allowing companies to centralize the management,
storage, retrieval and distribution of documents.
- MODELS YOUR OFFICE FILING ENVIRONMENT - The synergy document library
models your office filing environment. File cabinets contain drawers
that contain categories and categories contain folders and/or
- VERSION CONTROL- provides check-in/check-out ability that prevents
documents being overwritten or deleted as documents are updated.
- CUSTOM DOCUMENT PROFILING - provides for the capture of optional and
required metadata for different types of corporate documents using
fields that are populated by text entry, checkboxes, or drop down
- SCANNING & IMAGING INTEGRATION (optional)- provides for highly
automated batch capture scanning of up to 35,000 pages per station per
day. Module supports over 200 different scanners, including
high-speed, color, and duplex scanners. For more information on
- COMPOUND DOCUMENTS- Ability to create document-to-document
relationships that quickly organize documents into logical groups.
- ROLES BASED SECURITY- Access to any file or folder can be quickly
and safely restricted to individual or groups of users. For more
information on system security
- FILE & FOLDER SUBSCRIPTIONS - Users can subscribe to files or
folders and be notified ? via email or subscription list - of changes
or addition of documents in Synergy.
- DOCUMENT IMPORT UTILITIES - quickly index and migrate files or
folders from your existing network into Synergy using our mass import
- DOCUMENT USAGE LOGS- track document usage and version history by system users.
- FULL TEXT SEARCHING- The powerful Verity K2® indexing and full text
search engine allows users to search the contents of your favorite
file types including Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Office, (Word, Excel,
Powerpoint) and more.
METADATA (DOCUMENT PROFILE) SEARCHING- search using any document
profile metadata fields including text boxes, single selects,
multi-selects or check boxes.
- SEARCH SECURITY- ensures users can only search against the documents
they have access to. This prevents unauthorized information from being
searched and retrieved.
An extremely successful company with a large customer-base. Also
OpenEDMS is a new generation document management software solution
built with Internet technologies starting from the beginning. The
system is 100% Java based, supports any platform on the server side,
and can be accessed from a simple web browser without any client side
installation. Unlike most traditional electronic document management
software solutions, OpenEDMS was designed from the ground up to work
smoothly and seamlessly across the Internet, as well as corporate
intra- and extranets. The system integrates with Search Engine,
Document Workflow Engine, OCR Engine, PDF Converter, Email and PKI
Altimate's document management software solution empowers
organizations to manage and share documents in a distributed
environment, to management document with enterprise defined document
workflow at a legally compliant environment.
OpenEDMS was successfully developed by using Rational Unified Process
(RUP). The system has n-tiered system architecture with Altimate
E-Commerce Framework as its foundation layer. The system was desgined
to integrate and interface with mission critical enterprise systems.
- Create File/Folder/URL - HTTP based transfer - User can create files
by uploading existing files or by using the web editor from the web
browser to upload/download files to/from the system.
- Directory Monitor (supported by OpenEDMS Advanced Client) - users
can set up multiple directories that are monitored so that newly
arrived files (e.g. Scanned images, Faxed files, or any files that
need to be imported to the server from monitored devices) can be
transferred to multiple target directories on the server.
- Pluggable File ID API based on the enterprise specific document
identification requirement. The default OpenEDMS File ID supports
barcode and timestamp file identifications.
- Create Web Meeting - online chat and offline forum. Chat room and
Forum can be recorded and monitored as required by management.
- Create Documents by using Template - user can create new files by
using system template files.
- Editing - the user can delete/cut/copy/paste multiple folders and
files using a persistent clipboard (across user login sessions).
- Version Control - the user can lock/unlock files to avoid
conflicting modifications. The system keeps all versions (the physical
files) in the archive, while the default reflects the most current
version. Creation Notes and Review Comments
- Email Integration - provides email client connections with message
routing to an email inbox. The Outbox keeps all the outgoing messages
for the user. OpenEDMS only reroutes their email service to the
OpenEDMS email service.
- OCR and PDF File Format Converting - the system can automatically
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) process imported files with OCR
requirements and convert them to compressed searchable PDF files for
17 languages. The system can also convert MS word, text, and HTML
files to PDF format based on the user's request.
- New File Notification - provides a way to notify user when a new
file is created. Multiple Domain Support - enables an organization to
create and manage multiple domains in a large enterprise environment.
- Domains can be used to partition the system into logically smaller
units and enable the use of different file disk sections or servers.
- FTP based transfer (supported by OpenEDMS Directory Monitor) - the
system is integrated with FTP to support uploading/downloading files
and directories to/from the system.
- Document Sharing Management - the user can control the access level
of their files and folders. The user can control the access rights of
a single user or a group by assigning Read, Edit, Delete and Admin
access levels. The subfolder can inherit the parent folder ACL (Access
Control List) setting or the user can override it.
- Monitoring - user and document access auditing with all the system
transactions logged and monitored. The user can monitor folder and
file access from audit report.
- File Encryption is provided to support higher information privacy.
The Digital signing feature is designed to protect document integrity
and document author authentication.
- The system uses SSL technology to support communication between the
web browsers and the EDMS server. File Content Search - supports most
document formats (MS Word/Excel, RTF, Text, HTML, PDF, etc.) providing
full content indexing. Handling large document searches by providing
content context sentence preview and image preview.
- Web Content Search - user can input and save web URLs in the system,
just like files. The system will index the saved web URL so that the
user can search websites based on the contents.
- Metadata Search - search by document type, classifications,
keywords, authors, date range and many more. User Search - allows user
to find any other user on the system
Extensive searching capabilities coupled with cross-platform support
(Microsoft platforms are, of course, supported). Web-based interface
for ease of access.
Other (Some of the okay ones that deserved mention but didn't make the list)
Feel free to ask for clarifications.
Clarification of Answer by
12 Jun 2004 15:45 PDT
I am following up my answer with a further discussion of each vendor.
Microsoft Sharepoint is a very well respected document management
system and it has been around for a while in (Sharepoint 1.0, 2.0).
You cannot go wrong in using this solution as it has extensive support
both through Microsoft.com, and numerous online communities
http://www.sharepointserver.com/forum/default.asp?CAT_ID=4. to name a
few). It has the tightest integration with the Microsoft Office
System of any of the reviewed products, allowing rapid deployment and
employee education. However, one of the greatest benefits of using the
Sharepoint service (if you're running Microsoft Windows Servers 2003)
is that it is covered under the server license, and thus, is provided
by Microsoft free of charge
This single fact probably makes Sharepoint a godsend for a business
paying licensing costs for each of its workstations and servers. On
top of this, it features a detailed permission and quota system to
prevent the server from being swamped with unnecessary/unwanted files.
For a medium business, potential for growth is huge, so ease of
scalability is also something that needs to be considered. Since
Sharepoint is a service integrated into the Server 2003 system,
scaling up by purchasing new servers to create server farms for load
distribution is easily done. The functionality of Sharepoint can also
be easily extended as sites are built on a .NET framework and
templates, custom applications and web components (Web Parts) are
easily created. A more complete and detailed set of features can be
found on their website. However, all of these features, coupled with
the price (free!), add up to one thing: Microsoft Sharepoint is
without a doubt, one of the best choices for a document management
solution in your company.
Enterprise Document Management
Documentum takes a different perspective on the document management
question. The provide seperate products for the server and user
portions of document management. The benefit of this is that you only
need to purchase the portions that you need. Their Content Server
application provides many of the features that Sharepoint does under
robust security. Their user interface is also integrated into
numerous authoring tools by Microsoft, Adobe, Macromedia and more. The
user is given a choice between desktop or web interface, or both.
Their desktop interface resembles Windows Explorer and allows simple
dragging and dropping of files. They account for mobile users,
allowing employees to synchronize files offline and connect from
anywhere through their webtop interface. On-site training is also
available at a price. They are also a company dedicated to document
management and thus, they provide fast and specific support for your
problems. The down-side is that the application is not free. It is
however, an extremely strong program, with numerous corporate
customers, and is an excellent choice for document management.
!!! Side Note !!!
The above two vendors, Documentum and Sharepoint, are the largest of
their kind, having the greatest customer base, and provide the most
comprehensive and complete feature set. However, since you asked for
seven, the following five applications are the best of the reviewed,
though none are as good as the ones Sharepoint and Documentum
Document Locater by ColumbiaSoft (Microsoft, Autodesk, Adobe certified
partner) provides a solution for Microsoft Windows users, but would be
more beneficial for companies running Windows Server versions older
than 2003 (for Windows Server 2003, Sharepoint is highly recommended).
It provides most of the features in the above two applications and
on-site training is provided at $2500/day. For a medium sized
business, the Document Locator Professional is probably the
application you are looking for and starts at about $4000. The
application itself is extensible through a plug-in system. The client
software is integrated into the Windows Explorer interface and most
commands are accessible through a right-click. This removes the need
to learn how to use propriety connection software and facilities rapid
integration into company workflow.
InQuest Project allows viewing files from a web-interface without
having the native file viewing application installed on a computer.
They also allow an unlimited number of projects and users and provide
integration with Office applications by saving directly to the
Fortis is a solution with many success stories to its name. Developed
by Westbrook (a Microsoft certified partner), it provides many of the
features that Sharepoint does. It also includes options for Office
Integration, as well error reporting, CD publishing and web viewing
Synergy Document Management Software
Synergy utilizes a customizable web-interface with all the features
expected of a document management system (check in/out, security,
importing utilities, folder subscriptions, etc...) Its web interface
reduces compatibility issues which plague many desktop interfaces. It
also has the added benefit of reducing training costs with its
intuitive point and click interface, and reducing ownership costs
(minimal licensing fees)
Altimate OpenEDMS, while Java-based, can be installed on Windows
Server systems. It has a nice feature set, including the ability to
OCR files and to convert files to PDF's with a click of a button.
I hope this helps.