Electronic document management system – how to choose

By , last updated December 25, 2015

As our company grows, we get more and more different kinds of documents, both paper and electronic. The question arises – should we start using some kind of document management system? The one that archives all our incoming and outgoing documents and is easily searchable?

The reason for question is simple: we are programmers and hate dealing with documents. Here’s a list of general problems in our small business:
boxes paper on top balanced

  • Searching for all the documents we needed to get started took a lot of time and effort.
  • Some documents (printed on dead trees) were thrown away by mistake.
  • There were some papers in our huge document box that we weren’t sure what was.
  • Documents weren’t available when we were out on business trips. We couldn’t do a thing.

So we thought we needed to do something about it. There are a lot of document management systems out there. We were stunned actually of how many there are. Implementing a new document management system is a complex process and many people advise to either do a proper research or get help. As our company is still small we are choosing another approach – do some research and try it out on free demo versions or even totally free community editions with the possibility to upgrade later when the budget and need is really there.

Set requirements

Requirement is a long and a serious word. What it really means is that we need to fully understand our needs. What do we need?

Answer the following questions and you will get your answers:

  1. How many people are going to use it?
  2. What systems do you have already? Is it Windows, Linux or Apple? Maybe all of them?
  3. Do you have people to handle a complex system?
  4. Do you or your people travel a lot? Will you need to use the system remotely?
  5. Does your business has a potential to grow a lot?
  6. Do you have technical staff or resources to handle upgrades?
  7. Do you have money to waste on trials or do you prefer Free trials?
  8. Do you need revision control?
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question marksAnswering these questions we’ve come up the following list of requirements for our business:
– It should run on Windows as it is a system we use,
– It should be a low complexity system as we don’t have much time dealing with complex document management,
– Must be possible to access the documents everywhere in the world,
– Scalable from several users to several hundreds or maybe thousands,
– Free trial or even free use for small companies,
– Easy upgrade,
– Revision control. This one is especially important as we use Word and Excel some times and those can easily get corrupted or overwritten.

Define a budget

This is easy – we don’t want to spend anything yet. We would like to try a free version and see how it works.


In this step we need to find more or less popular software and compare their features according to the list of our requirements.

  • There are several good sites where you can compare different systems (although not very many good ones) and read reviews. Search for them in Google. These sites change a lot, so I won’t be giving you any links. Just do a search!
  • Check out software discount sites like FreeSoftwareDiscounts.com. There may be deals that can get you a good system for less money.
  • Ask people around. Get help on open forums like Reddit.


Choose the one you like best and try it out on a small number of documents. Test all parts of the system like remote usage, version control and integration.

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As to our requirements, we’ve chosen to try LogicalDOC. It has a clear list of features available in each product type:

It has :

– Version control
– Full-text indexing and searching
– And a community edition, which is open source.

We’ll see how it goes!


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