The Features of a Document Management System (DMS)

There is huge array of Document Management Systems on the market today – from basic solutions to platform solutions with a broad range of capabilities to manage all content and the lifecycle of them across an organisation. Here’s an overview and explanation of common Document Management Systems capabilities:


Data extracted from documents and other sources is stored as Metadata to facilitate other functions such as search, version control, workflows and automation etc

Data Capture:

Ability to ingest and extract information from scanned documents and other digital data sources and information containers such as e-forms, apps, databases.

Data validation:

Automatic checks can be made for document failures, missing signatures, misspellings and other issues as part for real-time validation as the data is imported in to the DMS


Rapid querying and retrieval of information and documents is possible through Indexing which helps rapidly track documents through unique document identifiers and metadata.


Storage of the documents which often includes, where they are stored, for how long and their eventual governed destruction. Purposes can range from temporary file transfer to long term archiving


DMS often allow documents to be shared via a link as part of a workflow to control and manage the document dynamically. Originals Masters are never shared, it is often a controlled version in a PDF format.


Provides a mechanism for publishing a document in a controlled manner involving procedures of proofreading, peer or public reviewing, authorizing, printing and approving etc.

Analytics and Intelligence

Many document management systems include analytics & dashboards capabilities to provide business intelligence associated with the performance & KPIs of specific workflows and related business documents

Document Security

Document Management Systems allow for more sophisticated rights management and an extra layer of security for documents. They enable access and permissions to be controlled at user level and object level. Integration with Active Directory systems means this control can be managed centrally management and dynamically.


Versioning using a process of checking in and checking out documents. It allows users to be clear of the current official version as well as support retrieval of previous versions in the event of an issue. It is important safeguard for governing official documents and incorporate full tracking of any edits and views.


Collaboration is a basic and essential part of a DMS allowing authorised individuals to simultaneously access, share, process and edit content in controlled manner to protect the integrity and authenticity of document. Version control, roll back, the ability for multiple people to view the files simultaneously as well as to lock files if content is being marked up.

Search & Retrieval

Search finds relevant documents and folders using template attributes or full text search. Documents can be searched using various attributes and document content. Some DMS support federated search which extends the search to multiple sources and other systems

System & Application Integration:

A key element of Document Management Systems is the ability to integrate with necessary existing systems and processes ie. ERP as well as referenced directly via everyday applications such as Microsoft Office 365. This ensures a Document Management System is the single point of control and truth for documents and also supports fully integrated digital and automated workflows.


Most document management systems will include the ability to manage the approval or rejection of internal digital workflows. For external workflows, where the other user needs to be verified, the DMS workflow should be able to integrate with E-signature solutions that use digital signatures to identify users and provide a legal way to get consent or approval on electronic documents or forms.

Workflow & Automation

Some document management systems include powerful digital workflow capabilities that can be used to govern a business or departmental process or task as part of a rules-based manual, semi-automated or automated workflow. A workflow can be multi-step and can include a wide arrange of tasks from validation or conversion through to logic gates, calculations and publishing. These workflow capabilities are often used for custom workflows and are particularly suited to a range of industry or departmental workflows such as invoice processing, Employee or Student record management, on-boarding & off-boarding, sales order processing, contract management, case management, project management, proposals. A workflow mechanism is particularly useful for integrating and managing human processing as part of a wider process.

More Information & How Can We Help?

What’s your Document challenge? We offer No-obligation consultations with our Experts & Business Cases to help you discover and identify the best approach to Document Management for your business. To find out more or to book a consultation, please call +44 (0)1962 835053, email, or fill in the form below.

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