- What is file management software?
- Why use file management software?
- What are the different types of file management software?
- Best file management software of 2021
File management software was initially developed in response to businesses and organizations wishing to become paper-free companies.
Meaning they wish to securely store documents online rather than keep them in filing cabinets.
However, it’s not just about storing files and documents. File management makes the entire file management process more accessible, from templates to sifting through technical and legal information.
Paper documents and files may not seem expensive, yet the costs of managing paper files could be up to 31 times more.
For instance, in the USA, businesses waste $8 billion annually just managing paper. It costs an organization an average of:
- $20 to file a document,
- $120 to find a misplaced document
- $220 to reproduce a lost document
File management software can save SMBs and enterprises by:
- Saving on materials and pieces of equipment
- Reduce staffing costs
- Saving on physical storage
- Saving money should a disaster occur (like a hack or lost paper files)
With the high costs of paper file management, is it time to switch to a digital solution?
What is file management software?
Most document organizer software operates in the cloud; thus, users can access the software provided they have an active internet connection from any location worldwide.
It’s why file management software has increasingly become a critical part of any business in the digital era. Instead of filing cabinets, file management systems create an electronic archive that any user can access and edit.
Why use file management software?
Every day, organizations document tons of important information to do the following:
- Organize files easier
- Save time searching for files
- Make files more secure
- Track files if they need to be retrieved, deleted, or archived
While many organizations have taken steps toward digitizing this information, not all are taking advantage of file management software per se.
The current global pandemic has brutally exposed those who did not have a robust file management system.
The explosion in remote working meant that traditional paper-based file storage models that have operated for decades are now redundant, almost destroying organizational productivity overnight.
Even those who have returned to working premises have found that paper files are more chaotic to store and manage.
The likelihood of filing errors, losing documents, the time taken to store, and correct mistakes amongst many filing cabinets cause businesses to become grossly inefficient.
It is why electronic document management systems have erupted during recent remote working periods, aiding businesses to practice good file management.
What are the different types of file management software?
A file management system has various uses and helps different industries or departments – whether in business operations, HR, and legal.
The software should improve overall organizational efficiency by including document generation, collaboration, e-signing, and even contract lifecycle management.
With every business embracing digitization, an electronic document control system has become the desired choice of document management.
There are several file storage options:
- contract lifecycle management solutions
- document management solutions
- or generic storage solutions
Contract lifecycle management solutions (CMLS) are for legal documents. They are tailored for working with contracts and their specific requirements.
Most legal departments have trouble finding their executed contracts and seek a repository that goes beyond generic file storage. A CLMS offers visibility into obligations and enables finding critical contract details, with text search across clauses and metadata. Advanced storage features include version control, data extraction, auto-tagging, milestone notifications, audit logs, and reporting.
Document management solutions (DMS) are suitable for any business-related files – from HR to marketing to sales. A DMS can be used (but explicitly designed for storing contracts, and has features designed to track versions and control access.
Generic storage solutions do nothing specific for contracts, merely accommodating all file types. Generic DMS and shared drives typically don’t support contract reporting and workflow analytics to help organizations manage workloads, performance, and compliance.
So with this, let’s begin by examining the ten hottest ones of 2021.
What is the best file management software?
Contract Lifecycle Management Solutions
Avokaado is the best contract lifecycle management software that is fully adaptable to your business requirements. Avokaado’s contract management and document workflow automation allow SMBs to manage all contracts and related workflows in one place – storing documents, creating, collaborating, and executing all forms of legal document management.
- Centralised clause and template library
- Data-driven workflow management
- Editing, approval, and signing workflows
- User collaboration
- Integrations with SignNow & Dokobit
- UI-friendly dashboard for workflow management: contracts, workflows, and 360 views
- Freemium (1 user)
- Starter €29 per month
- Standard €49 per month
- Premium €60 per month
Businesses operating in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare, construction, telecom and fast-growth scaleups.
- Access to a global pre-lawyered template ecosystem
- Unlimited external collaborators and online signatures
- Integrated eSignature functionality means you don’t need to pay for external digital signature providers
- Customizable pricing allows small businesses without lawyers to have the same legal quality as businesses with dedicated legal teams
- No onsite hosting, cloud-only versions
Agiloft is an enterprise contract lifecycle management solution that helps sales, procurement, and legal teams manage their contracts. Agiloft accurately processes and securely stores documents in one place.
- Drag and drop configuration
- Full-text search, including parsing from images and PDF files
- Can set up business rules, so all files are categorized accordingly
- Multi-language support
- From $65 per month
Agiloft is used by leading mid to large companies across a wide range of vertical industries.
- Extensive customization without the need for coding
- Comprehensive dashboard, analytics, and reporting features
- 99.9% uptime service level agreement
- Unlimited customization options can be confusing
PandaDoc streamlines contract management from the sale through contract execution and renewal. Built-in collaboration, version control, document history, and electronic signature make it easier than ever to draft, negotiate, and sign contracts.
- Fully cloud-based
- Has mobile app, templates, and analytics
- Electronic signatures and drop and drag editors
- Free (1 user)
- Essentials $25 per month
- Business $59 per month
- Enterprise, contact sales
PandaDoc serves businesses ranging in all sizes from small, medium, and enterprise.
- Easy to use interface that makes it easy to get started
- e-Signatures make it easy for smaller businesses to get legal documents prepared in minutes
- Integrates well with third-party vendors, including Zapier
- For SMBs, it can become pricey once you add more users
Legito provides automated document generation and management software. It is excellent for business legal teams who desire automation in drafting and assembling legal documents.
- Automated drafts
- Tracks changes when negotiating legal documents
- Audit trails and management in one centralized location
- Single user $100 per month
- Small Business $80 per month (min 10 users)
Legito offers solutions to legal teams across various industries regardless of company size.
- No need to know how to code. Easily use Legito’s coding-free Workflow Editor
- Integrates with over 80 countries’ company registers, plus CRM and DMS systems
- Primarily focused on automated document generation the entire contract lifecycle
- Lacking critical features for collaboration and signing
Contractbook is a contract management platform with collaboration tools built into it, catering to both businesses and law firms with their file management.
- Data-driven document automation
- Client portal to collaborate directly with clients
- End-to-end flow with task management, version history, negotiation, and reminders
- Free (limited template)
- Core from $115 per month
- Automate from $420 per month
- Integrate from $1,445 per month
Contractbook helps small-to-medium-sized companies across all industries and can function as a departmental solution in large organizations.
- Contract signing functionality is built-in and does not require a third-party vendor
- Has powerful AI capabilities concerning the contract review process
- No content creation or contract authorship
- A lack of in-built collaboration features make tracking changes between parties challenging
Document Management Software
Rubex by eFileCabinet is an electronic document management system used by legal businesses that require instant and secure access globally while remaining compliant with document storage.
It uses intelligent organization capability to centralize all files using an intuitive interface, making it easy to retrieve documents.
- Full-text searching
- Audit trail and tracking
- Integrates with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook
- $15 per month (no document management features)
- Advantage package is $30 per month
- Business package is $55 per month
- Unlimited package is $99 per month
Legal departments and law firms wishing to convert to a paper-free and cloud-based legal document management software.
- Great for legacy system users with a cabinet system interface
- Integrates with several prominent enterprise vendors
- The features mentioned above which make Rubex a top software are only available in more expensive plans which require several users
- The interface has several icons and windows, which can be distracting and take some time to learn
- Lack of training materials
Another robust document management solution is M-files, designed to store, locate, manage and securely share files to ensure regulatory compliance.
- Search any devices from any location
- On-premise or cloud-based. Can be hybrid if required
- Integrates with Salesforce, Google G-Suite and Sharepoint
- Contact sales
Those small and enterprise businesses who prefer a legacy look to their document management software as M-files mimics the Windows Explorer interface.
- Document alerts warn users about potential duplicates
- Mobile app
- Several integrations
- Easy to learn
- Need to install software and grant permission to the device (and other applications) for it to recognize M-Files as a location you can save documents to
- Adding metatags to every document manually will take a lot of time
Generic Storage Solutions
SharePoint is part of the Microsoft suite of online tools. SharePoint has a comprehensive slate of features that includes establishing content hubs or organizing archives by teams, making it ideal for enterprises but probably too much for SMBs.
It is incredibly convenient for businesses that already use other Microsoft products, like Office 365.
- Share files from Teams, Onedrive, and other Microsoft applications
- Mobile apps to access files anywhere, anytime
- Annotate, highlight, and comment on files
- Business Basic from $5 per month
- Business Standard from $12.50 per month
- Business Premium from $20.00 per month
Large enterprises and organizations with hundreds of employees. Or specifically, those businesses that prefer using the Microsoft Exchange suite of applications.
- Integrates well with MS Office applications
- It can be installed on-premise or in the cloud
- Superb collaboration tools allow teams to simultaneously edit documents
- Excellent at sharing heavy files between users
- No free trial
- Over complex solution requires specialists to train others to use
- Many features that businesses do not need
- No document signing feature within SharePoint, only if you use MS Word
9# Google Drive
A generic storage solution initially designed to upload and store important documents. Google Drive has evolved to be part of the Google Suite of services that leverages Google’s full complement of suite services, namely Sheets, Docs, and Slides. Google AI also offers personalized search suggestions when searching for documents.
- User-friendly, simple design
- Integrates with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides
- Perfect for individual users
- Uses Google’s AI technology for searches
- Free 15 GB storage
- Paid plans range from: 100GB for $1.99, 200GB for $2.99, and 2TB for $9.99 per month.
Any business size that needs document storage software to upload and manage their contacts, photos, videos, spreadsheets, and presentations.
- Easy to get started with a personal account for free
- Integrates with all Google Suite applications
- Tracks changes on collaborated files
- Can convert into other non-Google files
- Locating files can be challenging if you don’t know the names as there is no metadata
- Sharing can mean files end up in different folders
- Permissions can become confusing between personal and business accounts
- Need a third-party app to sign documents
Dropbox is document storage software for both individuals and businesses to organize and store files in one centralized hub. Dropbox offers personalized suggestions that simplify search inquiries, making it easier to locate files.
- personalized search suggestions
- high storage capacity
- syncs to several devices simultaneously
Pricing (for business plans):
- Standard from $15
- Advanced from $25
Companies of all sizes for collaboration, file sharing, online backup, and signatures.
- Excellent at syncing files across multiple devices
- Has electronic signatures
- Offline access
- Large files can take a while to upload, especially on the mobile version
- Multiple users are unable to collaborate on a document simultaneously
- Multiple users mean Dropbox can become expensive very quickly
Investing in file management software delivers several benefits that transform file management. Yet, to take advantage of these benefits, you’ll need to adopt one of the ten mentioned above.
The list we researched and compiled will aid you in deciding which electronic document management system to trial and which ultimately will be the most effective for your organization.
Remember to pick one that provides a complete business snapshot so your organization can retrieve required files faster or focus on your industry itself. For example, legal companies will need a specialist legal files management system to ensure compliance.
If you only need to store documents, then a generic storage system will suffice. A CLMs like Avokaado is superior to other generic storage systems if you crave this for your legal business.
For instance, use Avokaado’s data-driven document management if you want to manage legal documents and track all the changes. Store your documents digitally, use meta-data and full-text search among documents, and get a 360 company view on your documents’ progress. Get started today!