Document management tools combine storage facilities with access rights functions. The best systems enable both administrators, team leaders, and individual users to each have a say in how the files in the system can be accessed. Ideally, the document management system also includes continuity features to enable businesses to recover from disasters.
There is a wide range of document management tools available on the market today and researching all of them will take a long time. We have shortened the task of investigating the document management tools market by producing a shortlist.
If you don’t have time to read through the whole post, here is our list of the best document management tools:
- SolarWinds Passportal (GET DEMO) A password manager and a document manager available from the cloud.
- IT Glue Cloud-based document and password manager.
- ITBoost Cloud-based document management system.
- Confluence A document management system that is widely used for IT projects.
- G-Suite A combination of Google Drive and Google Docs marketed to businesses.
- Zoho Office Suite A bundle of document editors, storage, and document management tools.
- DocuWare Cloud Cloud-based document storage, archiving, and management service.
The best document management tools
You can read more about each of these systems in the following sections.
Passportal by SolarWinds is aimed at managed service providers and is marketed by the SolarWinds MSP division. The proposal is that MSPs will use the document management system both for their own documentation and as an added service that can be remarketed to their clients.
There is no reason why companies shouldn’t acquire the system directly for their own use. This is a cloud-based service and so is accessible from any operating system through a browser.
The Passportal Suite includes a password manager as well as a document manager. This is the base package of Passportal so it isn’t possible to subscribe just to the document management tool, which is called SolarWinds Document Manager.
The SolarWinds Document Manager is more than just a cloud file storage system, although server space is included in the package. The service includes publishing frameworks for different types of documentation. For example, it is very easy to create an online knowledgebase for users within the Passportal system. The tool includes an editing suite as well as allowing documents to be uploaded to the file storage system.
The file storage system is protected with encryption and access is only permitted by password-protected user accounts.
This system is great for creating team information documents and user information systems as well as managing corporate documents. If you are also interested in the password management utility in the package, this tool can integrate with Active Directory and LDAP systems to unify the access rights of your entire business in one location.
Passportal is charged for by subscription per user, paid monthly in advance. There is no need to take out a contract to use the service and there is no minimum subscription period requirement. The system is multi-tenanted, so if MSPs want to sell the SolarWinds Document Manager to their clients they can give each of them their own segmented storage space that is kept separate for each client. You can request a demo on their website.
IT Glue is a cloud-based service and it is very similar to Passportal because it also combines password and document management. Like Passportal, this tool is marketed to managed service providers, but also has a version that is aimed for direct purchase by end-user companies. That version is called MyGlue and it can be bought by MSPs as an add-on to IT Glue, or subscribed to as a standalone package. IT Glue is owned by Kaseya, which also produces RMM and PSA software for MSPs.
As well as enabling documents to be uploaded and stored in the IT Glue system, the user interface includes a knowledge base/wiki-style editor, which helps teams create information sources through a guided structure. The editors include templates for different types of documentation and these act as a guide when preparing new documents within the platform. The ability to deploy a framework is particularly important for structured information stores, such as Wikis.
The IT Glue package includes storage space, which is segmented per user and requires credentials for access. Those access rights can be managed within the password manager that is built into the IT Glue platform. Document storage is encrypted and all transfers between your site and the ITGlue system are also protected by encryption. That includes file uploads and downloads and also the communications between the console software on the ITGlue server and the browsers of users that access the dashboard.
The IT Glue package can be augmented by add-ons. The MyGlue system is one of these. Another is a network discovery system, which will list all of the hardware and software operating on your site. This process creates an inventory of your IT infrastructure, which is constantly updated. So, it is possible to use IT Glue for system monitoring as well as document and password management.
IT Glue is paid for by subscription. It is packaged in three editions: Basic, Select, and Enterprise – all plans include the documentation platform. Charges are levied per user per month.
ITBoost is another cloud-based document management system that is marketed to MSPs, but it could also be used by in-house IT departments. The service is owned by ConnectWise, which also produces infrastructure management systems and MSP support software. Like ITGlue and Passportal, ITBoost also includes a password manager.
The administrator dashboard of the service includes a monitor for the document storage space that is included with the package. The main aim of this documentation system is the creation and maintenance of a knowledge base. However, not all documents need to be made available to users. The system allows for documents to be imported or exported and it is also possible to keep documents private and not made available to the knowledge base visible by users.
The system enables the creation of different categories of document groups, such as advice for users, and guides for internal use by MSP or IT department staff. An example of departmental documents would be standard operating procedures (SOPs). User guides would be added to the user-oriented knowledge base. A third category is a knowledge base that is intended for use by the customers of the client companies served by an MSP. This category also includes feedback forms for the customers to fill in and give their ratings on the quality of the goods, services, or support that they received.
The ITBoost platform includes document editors that enable the creation of documents within the environment. The system can either be used as a primary store of documents or as a backup/live system, with original documents help in a separate document store on-site or on another cloud storage service.
Data stores are all protected with encryption as are all communications between the user and the ITBoost servers. Documents are protected by revision controls.
The plan includes other system management features, such as configuration control and backup. There is also an SSL certificate management feature on the platform.
ITBoost integrates with some of the ConnectWise system administration systems, such as ConnectWise Control, ConnectWise Automate, and ConnectWise Manage. It will also integrate with MSP RMM and PSA software produced by other providers, such as SolarWinds, Pulseway, Atera, and Kaseya. ITBoost is available on a 14-day free trial.
Confluence, by Atlassian, is widely used for IT project documentation. It integrates well with Jira, which is a project management tool produced by the same company. This document management tool, therefore, would be a particularly good choice if you are looking for a project management documentation storage system. The Confluence and Jira combination is particularly suitable for agile development projects.
The Confluence system is a cloud-based service that includes document storage space. It is also available as on-premises software. It is possible to upload documents into the document store and also import them into the document presentation system that is part of the confluence platform. It is more common to produce documentation in the Confluence editors and then store the text within the Confluence system as part of a document presentation structure.
The editor includes templates, which act like the CSS system for websites and impose a consistent presentational format for the document suite. In, fact, the end product of a Confluence document looks a lot like a web page.
As well as forming a document base, the Confluence system includes the facility to create team collaboration pages. These include chat forums for task coordination, announcements, and notifications.
The cloud-based service is marketed in three editions and on-premises software is available through two purchase options.
The three Cloud Confluence editions are Free, Standard, and Premium. The free version is suitable for small businesses as it includes the document management system but is limited to 10 users. The Standard and Premium versions allow up to 5,000 users per account. The paid versions include audit logging, which you will need if you follow a data security standard. The Premium edition includes an analytics module. The storage space included with the Free account is 2 GB, the Standard account has 250 GB included and the Premium edition includes unlimited storage space.
The on-premises versions are Server, with a one-time fee based on the number of users, and Data Center, which includes cloud backup storage and is priced per year.
Google G Suite is a cloud-based business package that adds an administration console to a number of Google online products that are usually free to use. These tools are Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep, Forms, Sites, and Google Drive. Although this is essentially a productivity suite, the inclusion of a management system and cloud storage makes this a document management tool.
Docs, Sheets, and Slides are the equivalent of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Files created with those Microsoft products can be uploaded to Google Drive and stored, viewed, and shared through it. However, to get full collaboration features, it is necessary to import those documents into the equivalent Google format, which is easy to do.
The document manager console enables an administrator to issue credentials for access to a private, segmented area of the company’s Google Drive storage space. The G Suite system includes document annotation and controls given to the creator over who has access to a document and what degree of access others have. A mobile device management tool within the document manager controls and logs how each document is accessed from mobile devices. Deleted documents can be restored and all changes are logged, enabling documents to be rolled back to earlier versions.
G Suite is available in three editions: Basic, Business, and Enterprise. All include the document management console and a user password management system with a password vault. The Basic edition has 30 GB of storage, while the Business and Enterprise editions have unlimited cloud storage space. Google offers a 14-day free trial for each plan.
Zoho Office Suite is an online bundle of productivity software that mirrors the elements contained in Microsoft Office. The service can be used for free by individuals, but businesses need to pay for the system in order to get added team and document management functions. The team’s version of the system is free to use for up to five users.
The administration console of Zoho Office Suite enables user accounts to be set up on the storage space. Access to the storage also doubles up as document editor accounts. Users can upload documents into their folders or create new documents. Each document owner has the right to permit access to others and specify the actions that those colleagues can perform on a file-by-file basis. It is also possible to set up shared folders that automatically give those participants full access rights to documents stored within them.
The editors within Zoho Office Suite are called Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, and Zoho Show; these are compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The suite also includes Zoho Notebook, which is similar to Microsoft OneNote. Another user feature in this document management system is Zia, a virtual assistant, which performs services such as spell checking and user help.
Zoho Office suite is charged for by subscription per user per month. It is available in three editions: Free, Standard, and Premium. The Free version includes 5 GB of cloud storage per user. The storage allocated to each user in the Standard version is 100 GB and each user gets 1 TB of space with the Premium plan. Both the Standard and Premium plans can be tested on a 15-day free trial.
DocuWare Cloud is a pure document management system – it doesn’t include online editors for the creation of documents. This service aims to provide document storage and archiving functions. After creating documents through an application such as Microsoft Word, the user uploads them to a personal “tray” in the cloud storage. That tray is the personal space for that user. The tray can be set up as a folder in the user’s Windows Explorer so that saving documents automatically uploads them and applications on the desktop instantly get access to the cloud-stored documents without having to download them first.
Once in the cloud, documents can be shared by sending a link rather than emailing a copy of the document. All sorts of files can be stored on the DocuWare server including images of scanned documents and media files. The DocuWare server will index each file, searching it for keywords to enable easy retrieval, for example during the e-discovery phase of a legal procedure or auditing exercise.
Although there isn’t a comprehensive suite of Microsoft Office-style editors in the DocuWare Cloud package, the platform does include a document viewer. This viewer has some editing features, such as the ability to mark text and annotate documents.
Both the owner user and the administrator are able to see metrics for each document in the store. Such details as file size, number of pages, author, and keywords are available for individual files, for each tray and for the account as a whole.
DocuWare Cloud is a cloud-based system and is available in four editions: Basic, Pro, Enterprise, and Large Enterprise. The main difference between these is the amount of storage allocated to each and the number of users that each plan allows. You can access DocuWare Cloud on a 30-day free trial.
Choosing a document management tool
The definition of “document management” is very broad and encompasses a wide range of options. If you want a team productivity suite with an administrator’s console, then you will find options on our list of recommendations. If you just want document storage and archiving service with manual and automatic management features, you will find that too.
Our list of recommendations includes document managers that are suitable for MSPs and IT departments. There are tools in this list that will reformat and standardize all documentation, store them in their original format, or provide editors that will enable you to present all of your information uniformly.
Whether you need a document manager for storage or presentation, you will find the right solution among our recommendations.