Top 10 Document Management Systems (DMS) in 2021


A document management system (DMS) is defined as a system used to create, store, manage, and track electronic documents and images of paper-based documents through software. A DMS can be employed to capture, distribute, and track documents. It can also be used to manage channel workflows, output systems, and information retrieval systems. This article lists the top 10 document management systems in 2021.

Table of contents

What Is a Document Management System?

Document management system (DMS) is a system used to create, store, manage, and track electronic documents and images of paper-based documents through software. DMS started as a way to convert paper documents into digital documents. Hence, DMS is sometimes referred to as an electronic filing cabinet.

A DMS can have a significant impact on the way your business runs. It gives you more time to focus on the pressing areas of your business as it makes capturing, digitizing, and tagging documents quick and easy. A good DMS provides valuable benefits along with automated document management, such as increased security, collaboration, and automated regulatory compliance.

Hence, when deciding which DMS service is suitable for you, focus on both the features you need now and the ones you may need as your business grows. 

Also read: Top 10 Cloud Security Challenges to Overcome in 2021

Key Must-Have Features of Document Management Software

While each business needs to manage its documents differently, there are key features that every document management system should have.

1. Security features such as customizable access restrictions

With any DMS, the ability to customize access permissions is an integral part of protecting your data. By controlling access, you also have a wider range of options in the way you collaborate and use your DMS. You can set unique permissions for different individuals, departments, teams, and even vendor or customer access to particular files. 

Without this flexibility, your DMS is much more limited and may not have much value beyond some small business use cases. Yet, businesses of every size and industry can leverage access permissions. That’s why the access restriction functionality is a must-have for any DMS. 

2. Ability to store various file types

Businesses use a variety of different files, so document management systems need to have the flexibility to accommodate various types of files in storage. If your DMS only supports a small number of file types, you might need more than one DMS, potentially creating more work for your team and duplicating your business information systems. Generally, the more a single system can do, the better — you can put that flexibility to streamline your business processes. 

3. Search functions for quick location and access to important files 

Your DMS is intended to improve your use and access to documents. Without the ability to search your files, you may not be able to access the important documents you need. Different document management systems offer different search options. The DMS you choose may depend on which search options are the most beneficial for your specific use case. 

4. Document history for auditing and tracking

By tracking your document changes and auditing them, you can manage your documents more effectively and ensure that only authorized changes are made to your files. This helps with compliance for documents as your internal or regulatory rules require you to audit carefully. Hence, a DMS that includes auditing and tracking features is essential. 

5. Version control for documents and backup storage

Your DMS should provide you with a paper trail through tracked changes, allowing you to revert to previous versions and see at-a-glance who has made adjustments to these files over time. In the event of data loss or significant disruption, a backup copy should be available. 

6. Ease of use 

Finally, your DMS must be easy enough to consistently rely on it and train your team to use it. If your system is too complex, you run the risk of the DMS failing to be fully adopted by your organization. 

Also read: Top 5 Enterprise Document Management Systems in 2021

Top 10 Document Management Systems in 2021

Sorting through rows of file cabinets is becoming a thing of the past as more and more organizations and businesses are turning to digital solutions for their everyday processes. With thousands of solutions to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your business. Below are the top 10 document management software systems in 2021.

Disclaimer: These listings are based on publicly available information and include vendor websites that sell to mid-to-large enterprises. Readers are advised to conduct their own final research to ensure the best fit for their unique organizational needs.

1. DocuWare

Overview: DocuWare, founded in 1988, is one of the leading document and content management software Opens a new window (as of 2021). It is available in 16 languages and used by major companies such as IKEA and Sony. 

Meant for: DocuWare provides digital document management and automated workflow solutions. It is best for organizations of any size and across all major industries, from manufacturing and retail to healthcare and government.

Key features: 

    • Operates on Windows desktops, web browsers, or iOS/Android mobile apps.
    • Offers training in person and remotely, with customer support available during regular business hours. 
    • Provides collaboration tools, compliance tracking, and eSignature.
    • Offers features for document archiving, assembly, indexing, and retention.
    • Offers optical character recognition (OCR), file recovery, version control, and offline access.
    • Enables integration with over 500 different applications. 

Pros: The user interface is easy on the eyes, intuitive, and user-friendly. The tool has an effective drag and drop functionality, and users can perform multiple tasks in multiple documents without leaving the main console.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 on G2.

Price: DocuWare offers a free trial. Its basic plan provides four users with 20GB of storage for $300 a month.

Editorial comments: DocuWare has an incredible administration tool, allowing you to create multiple access profiles, with rules for viewing and writing. It allows you to create several file trays for separation and organization, among other features. However, the support leaves something to be desired. DocuWare’s own support takes a long time to answer simple questions at times.

2. Dropbox Business 

Overview: Dropbox is a cloud-based file storage and collaboration platform designed for the modern workspace to reduce busywork so that you can focus on the things that matter. Dropbox Business helps your company grow without limits while you maintain complete control over important company information and user activity.

Meant for: Dropbox Business is best suited for collaboration across a team of users.

Key features: 

    • Operates on Windows/Mac desktops as well as web-browsers, iOS, and Android apps. 
    • Provides live training with 24/7 support with live representatives. 
    • Offers collaboration tools, eSignature, version control, and compliance tracking.
    • Offers features for document archiving, assembly, indexing, and retention.
    • Offers file recovery, file type conversion, offline access.
    • Enables administration with user and role management.

Pros: Dropbox Business provides a good amount of storage space for a business entity. It is a great collaboration tool for our team. Working on common projects, revising documents, and creating system backups can all be done with ease.

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 on G2.

Price: A free trial is available. The Standard plan is $12.50 per month per user (starting at five users). For full access to more sophisticated features and unlimited storage, purchase the Advanced plan at $20 per month per user. 

Editorial comments: Exporting documents can be a bit of a challenge as the tool has a significant delay. Dropbox Business can benefit from loading and unloading a heavy document faster.

Also Read: What Is Enterprise Content Management? Definition, Key Advantages, and Best Practices

3. eFileCabinet

Overview: eFileCabinet provides businesses with intelligent organization, workflow automation, secure file-sharing, and eSignature requests, all on one platform.

Meant for: This tool is ideal for content management of businesses of all sizes across industries, including accounting, construction, real estate, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Key features:

    • Offers a cloud-based and on-premise platform.
    • Operates on Mac and Windows, iOS, and Android mobile apps.
    • Provides features for managing workflows, OCR, secure file-sharing, email importing, and eSignature.
    • Allows file type conversion, version control, file recovery, and document archiving.
    • Offers in-person and remote training along with 24/7 support.

Pros: Offers on-premise and cloud options, giving customers the flexibility to choose the best plan for their business.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 on G2.

Price: eFileCabinet offers three subscription tiers: 

    • Advantage: The Advantage tier is priced at $55 per user per month (billed annually). It requires a minimum of three users.
    • Business: The Business tier costs $99 per user per month (billed annually).
    • Unlimited: The Unlimited tier costs $199 per user per month (billed annually).

Editorial comments: A potential weak point could be the fact that eFileCabinet has no automated document assembly.

4. Google Drive

Overview: Google Drive is a cloud-based DMS that is accessible to anyone with a Google account. It can store, sync, and share files easily.

Meant for: This tool is best suited for teams collaboratively working on real-time projects. Shareability and real-time editing features of Google Drive take professional collaboration to the next level.

Key features: 

    • Provides extensive storage for many file types.
    • Enables integration with other Google products and outside apps and files.
    • Offers Search function to find documents by file type or by name.
    • Allows file conversion, file editing history, document back-up to the cloud for easy synchronization across devices and easy recovery.
    • Offers easy file sharing with external members through like sharing and email.
    • Offers offline capabilities for selected files and accounts.

Pros: Due to its intuitive UI, Google Drive aces it when it comes to usability. Its efficient built-in search engine is a highlight, allowing users to search files by type and owner.

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 on G2.

Price: Free, single users are given 15GB of storage, and they can pay for more storage (billed by month). GSuite subscriptions include 30GB with the Basic Plan at $6 per user per month for those looking to implement it in a business setting. The Business plan, which is the most popular one, offers unlimited cloud storage for $12 per user per month. For complete pricing options, check Google’s websiteOpens a new window . 

Editorial comments: Google Drive’s most prominent feature is its ease of use. It’s very simple to figure everything out with tons of customer support. However, one area of improvement is the categorization and sorting of documents and folders.

Also Read: Top 10 Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Software Systems in 2021

5. Laserfiche

Overview: Laserfiche provides intelligent document management and business process automation. It eliminates manual processes and automates repetitive tasks, accelerating how business gets done by employing powerful workflows, electronic forms, document management, and analytics.

Meant for: Laserfiche platform is suitable for content management of businesses of all sizes in industries such as accounting, construction, education, real estate, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Key features: 

    • Operates on Windows, iOS/Android apps, and web-based access.
    • Offers collaboration tools, eSignature, and compliance tracking.
    • Offers features for document archiving, indexing, retention, version control, and offline access
    • Offers file recovery and file type conversion.
    • Provides business process management, workflow management, and enterprise content management features. 

Pros: Laserfiche boosts efficiency with automation, optimizing the application process, simplifying case management, and eliminating paperwork for employee onboarding. Laserfiche makes it easy to create, store, and send digital documents within the business, speeding up correspondence and making it easy to make data-driven decisions since all the information is in one place.

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 on G2.

Price: The product uses a subscription-based model for $50 per month. 

Editorial comments: Laserfiche seems more expensive than other solutions and does not provide document assembly 

6. LogicalDOC

Overview: LogicalDOC aims to help organizations gain control over document management by focusing on fast document retrieval and business process automation.  

Meant for: Thanks to its flexibility, LogicalDOC can adapt to various needs and is best suited for small, medium, and large organizations, including banks, healthcare, mechanical industries, and medium-sized municipalities.

Key features:

    • Operates on web-browsers, iOS, and Android App with a multilingual interface.
    • Provides multilingual full-text indexing, version control, document password protection.
    • Allows document search, check-in/check-out function, annotations, internal messaging, and email sharing.
    • Enables modifications under specific functions. 

Pros: LogicalDOC is a very intuitive tool for planning, executing, and managing business projects.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 on G2.

Price: LogicalDOC Community is free, open-source software. There are larger packages available with consultation. Check LogicalDOC’s website for more. 

Editorial comments: The free, open-source software, while being a cost-effective option, lacks some safety and document recovery features. These are available with paid licenses.

Also Read: Top 5 Enterprise Document Management Systems in 2021 

7. M-Files

Overview: M-Files provides a next-generation intelligent information management platform that improves business performance by helping people find and use information more effectively. Unlike traditional enterprise content management (ECM) systems or content services platforms, M-Files unifies systems, data, and content across the organization without disturbing existing systems and processes or requiring data migration. 

Meant for: M-Files is suitable for small to mid-sized businesses that lean heavily on paper-based processes. Their packaging is unique. Customers can choose which features they want and can opt-out of others, making it both flexible and cost-efficient.

Key features: 

    • Enables customization with other features available for purchase and bundling.
    • Offers offline access, file recovery, file type conversion, version control.
    • Provides OCR features for more complete search capabilities.
    • Offers collaboration tools, automated workflow, compliance tracking, eSignature.
    • Offers features for document archiving, assembly, indexing, and retention.
    • Provides access and control permission tools.

Pros: M-Files is very safe and offers enough cloud storage. Accessing content across devices is easy. It enables easy content retrieval by using the search feature. Besides, sharing files across the team is also easy, especially when working together on the same project.

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 on G2.

Price: M-files offers a free trial. The cost after the free trial depends on the features you need and the number of users as M-Files is focused on giving you the exact features you need. 

Editorial comments: The user interface takes some getting used to, the check-in/check-out feature requires additional tasks and reminders, and licensing can become more complicated with larger groups. 

8. OnlyOffice 

Overview: OnlyOffice is a software office suite and DMS developed by Ascensio Systems SIA. Offering a 3-in-1 editing suite, reviewers have called this software “TheSwissArmy App for the Microsoft Universe.”

Meant for: OnlyOffice provides a platform for document management best suited for multiple educational organizations (schools, higher education institutes), small and medium-sized companies, enterprises, and government organizations.

Key features: 

    • Offers collaboration tools, eSignature, document archiving, version control, file recovery, file type conversion, OCR, document assembly.
    • Provides project management tools, team chats, file sharing, and presentation tools.
    • Operates on the desktop version for Windows, iOS, and Android apps. It can be accessed via a web browser.
    • Offers training through live, online calls. 

Pros: OnlyOffice has perfect desktop integration. It runs on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows smartphones and cloud, like no other software in the market.

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 on G2.

Price: A 180-day free trial of their cloud-based service is currently being offered. The price varies based on what edition you choose. The Cloud-based Edition can be as low as $3 per month per user when purchased at a 3-year subscription. Other editions offered are Enterprise, Integration, and Developer. 

Editorial comments: OnlyOffice lacks compliance tracking, offline access, and document indexing. 

Also Read: What Is Knowledge Management? Definition, Process, Examples, Strategy, Best Practices, and Trends

9. SharePoint

Overview: Microsoft’s document management solution was initially presented in 2003. With each update came better integration with Microsoft’s other products, making SharePoint one of the most widely used DMS. 

Meant for: Compounded with its ability for lists and integration across the whole Microsoft ecosystem of products, SharePoint is best suited for large organizations to segment their access policies and controls.

Key features: 

    • SharePoint is very customizable. Nearly 65% of users choose to add custom functions.
    • Allows external sharing of files. 
    • Offers content management using libraries, lists, metadata, records management, and retention policies.
    • Provides search functions to find files and contacts.
    • Team sites provide space for predetermined groups of users to collaborate. There are also customizable sub-sites.
    • Automates business processes by creating alerts and workflows.

Pros: The tool is easy to use, configure and deploy, ensures the security of data, and allows role-based access to SharePoint sites.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 on G2.

Price: SharePoint does not offer a free trial, but SharePoint Online Plan One starts at $5 per user per month. The largest package, Office 365 E3, is $20 per month per user. For full pricing information, check the company’s website.

Editorial comments: Transitioning to SharePoint is time-intensive, often taking large companies 3-5 years before fully adopted. Users have also noted SharePoint’s unwieldiness in its daily functions. 

10. VIENNA Advantage

Overview: Founded in Germany in 2005, VIENNA Advantage prides itself on being the first DMS to be securely integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. 

Meant for: VIENNA Advantage is the right choice for medium and large size enterprises looking for a reliable, scalable, cost-effective, and well-supported DMS product along with ERP and CRM integration.

Key features: 

    • Provides cloud-based and on-premise options.
    • Offers highly secure encryption, eSignature, version control. 
    • Provides 24-hour customer service from live representatives.
    • Offers indexing and OCR.
    • Automates workflow management.
    • Enables customization.

Pros: The product provides enterprise resource planning, document management system, and customer relationship management, all in one application.

Rating: 4.3 out of 5 on G2.

Price: The community edition is open source and free. Larger packages are available with a consultation with a VIENNA Advantage representative. 

Editorial comments: VIENNA doesn’t offer a mobile app for access, but it can be accessed through a web browser.  

Also read: 5 Visual Collaboration Apps to Transform Employee Engagement in 2021


Businesses are constantly collecting and managing files, and choosing a reliable and scalable DMS is key. Using a DMS not only keeps your files organized and in line with industry standards but also streamlines and automates workflows. Now that you’re equipped with all the up-to-date information about the top-most document management systems, we hope you find one that best suits your business needs.

What other document management systems do you prefer? Comment below or let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you!