Paperless document management has a lot of benefits for your organization. It saves money, space, and time along with numerous other advantages. However, when companies use inappropriate software for document management, it can actually decrease workspace efficiency.

One system that is commonly used as a document management system is Microsoft SharePoint. But it is missing several features that are necessary for a true document management system. In this article, we’ll go over what capacities you should be using SharePoint for, and explain why, despite its claims, Microsoft SharePoint is not document management software.

Microsoft SharePoint is for File Sharing

Microsoft SharePoint was created to help employees within a business easily share files and business content with each other, making collaboration on projects simple. It allows several people to have access to the same files so they can edit content simultaneously from different locations.

If you’re looking for collaboration software, SharePoint delivers. However, a true document management system is more than just sharing files – and that’s where Microsoft SharePoint falls short compared to a document management system.

What is a Document Management System?

A Document Management System (DMS) is a complex system that integrates a variety of tools to manage the entire document lifecycle. In addition to having sharing and access capabilities similar to that of a file management system, a DMS also manages and organizes the creation, editing, deleting and archiving of the document.

So while Microsoft SharePoint has the document sharing portions of a DMS, it doesn’t really offer a complete solution. SharePoint also has several other shortcomings that limit its ability to be a complete document management solution, including its use of metadata, limited version control, and the lack of ability to control document access.

The Use of Metadata

One of the shortcomings of trying to use SharePoint as a DMS is that it uses metadata to tag files.  Metadata is basically a description of a file’s properties. Similar to keywords and tags, each file can have several different properties, by which it can be found later. The problem with using metadata is that it takes a lot of time to manually tag each file, especially if your business has thousands of files. This dependence on a metadata means that if a file is inappropriately tagged, it will be very difficult to find later on.

Contrastingly, a full document management system provides the ability to not only search by metadata, but to search the content inside of an actual document, using the the full-text search function. This saves time and increases productivity because there is no need to spend time tagging your files.

Limited Version Control

SharePoint offers some form of version control. However, it’s difficult to figure out which version is the most current one being used. You might find yourself renaming file after file, so you’re left with 10 files called “Actual Final Final” or “This is the Actual Real Deal”. As you’ve likely experienced, this can quickly lead to chaos.

On the other hand, a complete document management system is built around version control. It’s easy to see which version of a document is the most current one. A document management system is even advanced enough to give you alerts if you attempt to open or edit an outdated version of a file.

Inability to Control Access

Perhaps the biggest downfall of SharePoint may be its inability to restrict and control access to content for specific users. Setting up varied access and restriction settings for different groups like employees, co-workers, business partners, or clients is very complicated through a file manager like Microsoft SharePoint. You can attempt to set up new “filing cabinets” for each department to restrict groups from accessing it, but that makes it difficult to keep track of which records are being stored where.

A complete document management system, on the other hand, places the variety of file sharing and access needs at the center of the system. You can easily restrict and allow who is able to access every document you create. Plus, role-based user access streamlines, simplifies, and secures access to important documents, without the need for complicated departmentalized “filing cabinets”. You can share documents instantaneously with other users as long as they have the right user permissions. You can even share documents with your clients via SecureDrawer.


eFileCabinet Provides Everything You Need

If your company is dealing with a large number of files or a variety of access needs, or are looking to further organize your files, you likely will want to choose a complete document management system, like Rubex by eFileCabinet, over a file manager like Microsoft SharePoint. And although Microsoft SharePoint is a useful program for collaboration, a DMS like eFileCabinet provides the same collaboration features, as well as even more flexibility and tools.

To learn more about how eFileCabinet can change your business document organization, let’s chat.