Storing and working with paper tends to be time consuming. Documents can easily get lost and become expensive to purchase and maintain so more offices are looking to go “paperless” – hence the need for document management solutions.
Document management software (DMS) has a long history – it started out as an electronic filing cabinet of sorts in the 1980s. At the time, document management software was restricted to a user’s desktop computer. Over the years, DMS has evolved into being available on multiple computers on a network server and being deployed in the cloud.
Aside from reduced expenses and improved productivity, document management software offers other benefits, such as improved customer service (since employees can find information much faster), improved disaster recovery and improved compliance with any legal or regulatory mandates.
Document Management Market Trends
There are many long-term players in the document management software market, such as Lexmark, Nuance, docSTAR and eFileCabinet, to name a few. However, in recent years, the DMS market has introduced new features, trends and vendors.
One trend is the rise of mobile functionality. As more employees are working outside the office and outside normal business hours, they’ll need to be able to access their documents. Many vendors are now offering mobile capability as a standard feature. Not only can users access files from their smartphones or tablets, but they can also collaborate with other users, make edits or upload images.
Another trend is an increased focus on collaboration. Users need to be able to work on the same files together without the hassles of tracking changes by user. Many document management solutions include a version control feature where users can check out a file, make changes to it and check the file back in.
A different collaboration feature that’s on the rise is simultaneous collaboration. Users can work on the same files together in real time, and changes to the documents are automatically saved. Users can also chat with each other within the document. Some of the vendors that offer this include Google Drive, Zoho Docs and Dropbox.
Top 3 Emerging Vendors
However, there are other new vendors that are poised to offer innovative features and benefits both in 2017 and beyond.
We’ve selected three of those vendors – they are:
Date founded: 2009
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
What’s unique: Although Slack is technically a communications app, it does have some document management features, namely, sharing files between users. Collaboration is set up in channels that can be based on teams, projects or any topic. Channels can be set as public (available to all users) or private (available to select users by invitation only). Users can share any file, such as messages, spreadsheets, documents and images via Slack. Slack also integrates with many other applications, such as Google Drive, Box and Dropbox. Slack offers an unlimited free trial with basic features such as searchable message archives, the ability to integrate with up to 10 apps and up to 5GB of file storage. It has two pricing plans: Standard, which costs $6.67 per active user per month (if paid annually), and Plus, which costs $12.50 per active user per month.
Date founded: 2011
Location: Manhattan Beach, CA
What’s unique: WebMerge is a document creation solution designed to help companies reduce the hassle of manually adding data into documents. It supports the creation of many different types of forms and documents, such as PDF, HTML and spreadsheets. Users simply create or upload a form, and WebMerge automatically pulls in data from an integrated online solution (e.g., Microsoft Word, customer relationship management systems, etc.) WebMerge can send the merged documents to email, a document storage application or an electronic signature solution. There are four pricing plans ranging from Micro ($29 a month) to Business ($299 a month) that are based on the number of documents a company expects to create and merge each month.
Date founded: 2007
Location: Mountain View, CA
What’s unique: Egnyte has been in the document management market since 2007, but earlier this year, it released a new product called Egnyte Protect. Egnyte Protect is a solution that allows companies to track and further restrict unauthorized access to files and data, and still stay in compliance with federal law and other regulatory guidelines. The solution automatically alerts IT of any unauthorized access in real time. Other features of Egnyte Protect include selective encryption, data retention and data residency (defining whether content can stay in the cloud or on-premise, as well as the geographic location of data if the company has more than one location). Finally, Egnyte Protect is deployed in a cloud/on-premise hybrid environment, meaning there are no upfront costs for hardware and no need to maintain the solution, but companies can have their content stored on their servers.