A document management service is a great way to way to store, manage, and organize your electronic documents at scale.

For maximum productivity and efficiency, it’s essential that information is easily and readily available to the right person at the right moment. 

This is where a Document Management Service or System (DMS) comes into play.

A document management system that allows the users to go paperless by turning physical documents into electronic documents and images via a document scanner. It enables categorization, organization, sharing, and storing of business information.

The document management service may include features like:

  • Document scan and capture.
  • Document security.
  • Access control.
  • Centralized storage.
  • Audit trails.
  • Streamlined search and retrieval of data.

A document management service works in three stages: 

  1. Document capture. 
  2. Document storage. 
  3. And document distribution. 

DMS captures documents from multiple sources, with the main ones being paper documents, email, system-generated reports, and applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

In this article, we’ll discuss, eight essential elements of a good document management service

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What Elements Should a Good Document Management Service Include?
  • Cloud-storage
  • Document control, delivery, and access
  • Automated workflow
  • Security
  • Centralized workspace
  • Capabilities and user experience
  • Scalability
  • Productivity and flexibility

What Elements Should a Good Document Management Service Include?

A good document management service is important for the meticulous organization of your data. 

If you want to keep track of your documents, down to where they’re coming from, who has access, and how they’re being used, you need a DMS.

In addition to this, a DMS speeds up your workflow, improves productivity and accuracy, and allows access to data from almost all around the world.

In today’s fast-paced world, many big businesses and corporations have needs when it comes to document management. In order to keep up with the competition and avoid data theft, they require high-security centralized data management, and nothing does this better than a document management service.

To back this up by the numbers, here’s why a proper document management strategy is essential:

  • 77% of business owners want to be able to access files and documents remotely.
  • 7.5% of all paper documents get lost. If hard-copy records of important information go missing, you could be subject to heavy fines
  • Document challenges account for a 21.3% loss in productivity. Whether recipients can't open documents or your team members can't locate the document they need, these little things add up to a big loss in productivity.

Source: Business.com

a business plan laying on a table

Below, we’ll cover some essential components of a good document management service for operation teams and big business organizations. 

These elements are as follows:

  1. Cloud-storage
  2. Document control, delivery, and access
  3. Automated workflow
  4. Security
  5. Centralized workspace
  6. Capabilities and user experience
  7. Scalability
  8. Productivity and flexibility

Now, let’s take a look at each DMS element in detail.

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1. Cloud-storage

It’s a no-brainer, cloud storage is extremely essential for businesses in today’s automated world. It increases accessibility and saves tremendous amounts of time that, otherwise, would be wasted in going through tedious paper-based storage.

Imagine going through a hundred-page paper document to look for a single line, when its computerized version could give you results in just a few minutes by using the CTRL + F or Command + F shortcut keys!

In addition to finding information easily, thanks to impressive search functionality, cloud-based document management services allow you to update and manage data at an accelerated pace.

This way, remote secure data management and delivery become a breeze.

You can access a cloud-based DMS from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. 

You can also improve contract management efficiency, as you can create a contract and provide access to it to the relevant parties in a few clicks. They can access and review it immediately, saving time and effort.

You can also enable external commenting and editing of your documents on a cloud-based document management service.

2. Document control, delivery, and access

Document management service allows the users to have the most up-to-date information as the changes are updated in real-time and communicated instantly. This results in improved productivity and efficiency as each project member has a single source of the most updated information.

DMS enables you to manage who accesses your documents. 

You can manage the accessibility of your documents by assigning different access privileges (such as viewing, editing, commenting, or sharing data) to different team members and stakeholders.

This way, you can track who has access to certain documents and who made changes when.

For more information on document access, see our full guide to user roles and permissions.

3. Automated workflow

One of the most essential capabilities of a document management service is its ability to turn mundane tasks into automated ones. Which leads to an increase in productivity, efficiency, and time management.

For instance, assume you have a long project schedule that keeps changing as milestones are achieved. Some of the tasks might be interrelated resulting in a change in them. Keeping on top of these changes would be daunting, document management services can easily rescue you by automating these changes.

Here’s how automated workflow in a document management service can support you:

  • It will alert all the team members automatically about their tasks.
  • It will notify all the team members and stakeholders in case of any changes.
  • It will automate the reporting processes.
  • Documents will be archived automatically after a certain period of time.
  • Gantt charts will be updated automatically.

4. Security

All the document management services have high-profile security systems in place to safeguard your documents. In addition to this, the access control also serves as security as it restricts access to documents.

Data breaches could result in the leaking of new projects and prototypes, which could compromise the growth of a company. In addition to this, it could also lead to harming its reputation.

Furthermore, customers and vendors would not appreciate their data being leaked and their privacy being compromised.

Some other security issues that come with document management systems include:

  • Legal issues related to paperless payment processing and customer communications.
  • Rendering software issues.
  • Storage and software security problems.

For more information on overcoming security issues and solutions, see the full guide to going paperless: legal, software, and security challenges

5. Centralized workspace

An efficient document management service is the one that allows you the ease of efficiently controlling a document throughout its lifecycle, i.e., from the time when it’s created to the time it's archived.

Most of the time documents are outside the DMS, from where they are scanned and placed inside the service. 

From there they become accessible to almost anyone in the world as long as they have an internet connection and your permission to access them.

The document management services work as whiteboards where your team members can:

  • Jot down and discuss their ideas.
  • Record and share notes.
  • Create plans.
  • And work on a project in a single place. All in one place.

The centralization of DMS reduces time, improves productivity and collaboration, and stores information that you work on for later reference and review. 

What’s better than working on a project from different parts of the world with updated information without even traveling a mile?

6. Capabilities and user experience

Even though the overall goal of data management services is to store data digitally and make it accessible globally, there are differences in how they function in the additional services. 

For example, they differ in how easy they are to operate.

Keeping in view that not everyone is tech-savvy, you need to ensure that the data management service of your company is user-friendly

If you come up with a DMS that has tons of features but is absolutely a nightmare when it comes to its usage, then what’s the point of its capabilities as very few people will be able to utilize them.

Ideally, you’d also like to spend less time teaching your employees and team members how to navigate and use the DMS.

Similarly, if most of your team uses cell phones to go through documents and data, then you need to have a mobile-friendly data management service. This requirement is quite common because, in many outdoor activities, such as construction, employees won’t have access to a desktop, and are more likely to use a tablet or cell phone to access information.

In addition to user experience, you need to have a look at its integration capabilities

Will it complement your existing applications, or will you require multiple add-ons?

Tools like Zapier help with automation and integrations, but at the end of the day, it all depends on the specific DMS you use.

The best way to ensure that you are getting the right DMS is to discuss with people from various departments in your firm and have their feedback regarding its user experience. 

Just because the IT department thinks it's user-friendly doesn’t mean that the others will have the same response.

7. Scalability

Your DMS should be such that it evolves as your business grows. 

This means before buying a DMS, ensure that it comes with upgrades and scalability

No one wants to switch data management platforms after every few months as it kills the purpose of having a data management service, which is efficiency, time-saving, and productivity.

This growth isn’t just limited to increasing the number of your employees. It also involves revenue, custom-uses, service volume, and so on. 

For instance, in the start-up phase, companies are okay with having a simple excel sheet to manage their finances. But as the business grows, they are forced to shift to either a more advanced level of excel or other advanced finance tools.

On the flip side, if you don’t plan on expanding your company, then you can keep using the same DMS for years to come, so you won’t have to worry about scalability or switching platforms.

8. Productivity and flexibility

The main purpose of a DMS is to improve how you and your team work together. 

It isn’t just limited to improving everyone’s productivity and efficiency, it’s also about improving your data management. 

Here are a few things that a good data management service does:

  • It offers solutions to tracking the company’s accounts.
  • It supports and, in a few cases, automates claims and customer management.
  • It optimizes the document and data flow through your company and with its stakeholders.
  • It applies your business rules and terms to data as it flows through the system
  • A good data management service has permissions functionality to ensure the maximum security of data.

Your DMS should be such that it handles all the activities with flexibility. 

In addition to this, you also need to be flexible because cramming all the functions within a single DMS may mess with it. Therefore, the best approach is to cover as many scenarios as possible and chose a system that improves productivity, provides flexibility, and is user-friendly.


These are our top eight elements that you should look out for before getting a document management service. 

In today's fast-paced digitized world, there’s no doubt that a good data management service is essential for a company’s secure and efficient data and document management. 

Now, if you’re looking for more information on document management and generation to help you make a more well-informed decision, you also might want to read:

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