DMS – Document Management System

Document Management System

DMS is the abbreviation for document management system. In this respect, the frequently used term DMS system is actually redundant. DMS is a system that enables the creation, processing and storage of documents in electronic form. Document management systems aim to make documents available at any time, regardless of location. This should be done in a legally compliant manner and, in particular, make internal processes more efficient.

If you are looking for a DMS software, you will find basic knowledge about document management systems here. Before making a decision, please be sure to read the most important steps for DMS implementation.


Why is a document management system needed?

A DMS enables the digital management and audit-proof archiving of documents. Basic functions include document import, document creation, editing and versioning and long-term stable storage. Digitized documents can easily accessed, read and edited in a DMS by several employees. Hence it avoids time-consuming searching.

Processes can be automated through workflows, which also saves a lot of time. DMS is part of the solution on the way to a paperless office. A good DMS saves time and money.

How does DMS work

How does a DMS work

All types of documents such as invoices, orders, notes, etc. should be made available digitally to the responsible persons. This allows them to be retrieved at any time and from any location. The following steps are required for this.

Capture documents

Documents traditionally sent by mail or handed over in person are first digitized by scanning. Workstation scanners or central multifunction devices are usually used here. OCR processes extract the full text of the documents and make it available for searching.

Many documents and information are transmitted digitally by e-mail or provided by other means. They are therefore already available in electronic form. These e-mails and the attached documents and file attachments must also find their way into the DMS. At humbee, workflows support the automatic import. Alternatively E-Mails can be manually transferred into the DMS by drag&drop.

Structure and edit documents

The captured documents are provided with so-called metadata. In document management systems, you can find documents not only via a full-text search, but also via attributes or properties and links. For example, documents are assigned to a customer, a process or a digital file. This means that documents can be found in a targeted manner, without the need for tedious searches in nested folder structures.

With a simple DMS, metadata can usually only be created manually. Each search term must be entered manually. With a high-quality document management system, all metadata is automatically recognized and necessary links are also automatically created. The automatic text recognition can recognize customer data, invoice data and many other types of data. These properties are available for searching as well.

The DMS enables the editing of documents. Versioning allows old processing statuses to be reactivated. Versioning is also the basis for revision security. This is because revision security requires proof of the change history.

In the early days of DMS, editing was enabled by check-in and check-out procedures. Today, documents are protected from concurrent access by multiple people, or even simultaneous editing is enabled.

Workflows for documents

Productivity is further enhanced by the use of workflows. Ideally, work processes are fully automated. Rules are created in the systems that determine what should happen to specific documents under which conditions.

Based on the full-text information automatically obtained by OCR processes, the DMS thus classifies a document as an invoice, for example, and determines the necessary metadata. This can be, for example, the invoice amount and the supplier. At the same time, access is granted to the accounting department and the task „Please check new invoice“ is created and assigned to the auditor.

Since humbee is not only a DMS, but also a transaction processing system and a collaboration platform, the document is also assigned to the correct transaction. So not only all authorized employees get access. Tasks are also assigned and all other documents required in the process are made available. To learn more about these workflows, see Workflows with DMS Software.

Audit-proof archiving of documents

An important goal of document management systems is legally compliant archiving. The term audit-proof is often used here. This is not a term in the legal sense. The The GoBD place increased demands on secure archiving. Above all, the DMS must ensure that documents cannot be changed without this change being traceable. Compliance with legal retention periods is also one of the important requirements of document management software.

In this context, a DMS must implement powerful authorization concepts. These ensure that only authorized persons have access to documents. The European GDPR, in German DSGVO, also places requirements on document management systems. For example, information and documents for which the reason for storage has ceased to exist must be deleted on a regular basis. This applies, for example, to data on applicants who have not been hired. The DMS should provide procedures to help employees locate and securely delete this data.

In various industries, there are further legal requirements for the management of documents, their retention and archiving. These are, for example, companies in the finance and insurance industries or in the aviation and healthcare sectors.

The extent to which these aspects are fulfilled by free or open-source software must be checked in each individual case.


Advantages of DMS

A document management system offers significant advantages. With DMS, companies save time, as the search for documents is largely eliminated and processes are accelerated. In addition, material costs are saved.

Employees can not only work more efficiently and productively with the help of a DMS. They can work independently of location, e.g. also in the home office, and provide better service to their customers. This not only contributes to customer satisfaction, but also increases the satisfaction of your employees.

Save time

The main advantage of DMS systems is the increase in employee productivity. Accordingly, DMS bring about a considerable saving in working time and thus in personnel costs. The time saved, e.g. by eliminating the time spent searching for documents, is usually replaced by higher-value activities.

Document management systems increase productivity in the following areas:

  • Acceleration of document search
  • Avoidance of time-consuming paper filing
  • Distribution of documents
  • Time and location-independent work
  • Faster handovers between departments and for substitutes
  • Quick access to the history of changeable documents
  • Answering the question who made which change and when
  • Automated assignment of incoming documents to the correct department, employee or process (examples: invoices, orders, customer inquiries, delivery bills)
  • Joint processing of documents
  • Avoidance of errors based on missing documents or information

Save costs

Document management systems achieve additional savings in the area of material costs. Companies that have such systems in place save space for filing cabinets and reduce the costs of folders, shelves, printers, printer cartridges, paper and disposal of the same. Compared to the time savings, however, the reduction in material costs is rather a welcome side effect.

With modern document management systems, additional systems, e.g. a CRM or ticket system, can be dispensed with in individual cases. This can result in significant additional savings.

All savings made possible by a DMS must be compared with the acquisition and operating costs in the investment calculation.

Cost savings through DMS:

  • Reduction of EDP costs by reducing the number of systems (e.g., CRM no longer necessary).
  • Space costs for storage
  • Reduction of printer costs and paper consumption
  • Reduction of costs for office supplies (folders, filing cabinets, highlighters)
  • Costs for the secure disposal of documents


A DMS system can significantly increase security in the following areas:

  • Documents are not damaged or lost (for example, filing in the wrong folder, theft, being taken to a home office, due to water or fire damage)
  • Protection of personal data or other confidential information
  • Reliable access at any time (no one has to wait for the employee with the key)
  • Access for authorized persons regardless of location
  • Legally compliant archiving or data retention
  • Reliable fulfillment of compliance requirements

In particular, the reliable fulfillment of legal requirements, e.g. the German GoBD or the GDPR / DSGVO, prevents severe fines in the event of violations of the relevant regulations.

The reliable provision of evidence-relevant documents that are stored securely in the DMS and can be found quickly can secure decisive financial advantages in legal disputes.

In return, the operator of the document management system must ensure that a sufficiently high availability of the system is guaranteed and that data loss is ruled out as far as possible. This also includes protecting the system against extortion trojans.

Further advantages

Document management systems offer further advantages:

  • Space requirements are reduced (space required for shelves, up to entire archive rooms with expensive cabinets, etc.) and the renting of new premises can be avoided or delayed
  • Improvement of the information flow within the company
  • Discharge of the e-mail systems
  • Satisfied customers, as all information is directly available and every request can be processed immediately
  • Mobile working from everywhere
  • Satisfied employees
  • Increased attractiveness as an employer thanks to modern work tools
  • Important building block on the way to a paperless office

Application examples

Initially, DMS is simply a piece of technology. It is only when solutions are provided with it that benefits arise for users. Here are some typical application examples that are realized with document management systems:

  • Incoming invoice processing
  • Incoming mail
  • Digital files (personnel files, vehicle and machine files, etc.)
  • Processing of inquiries and tenders
  • Contract management
  • Transaction processing
  • Complaint management
  • CRM
  • Ticket system

The future of DMS

The first document management systems appeared in the early 90s of the last century. Until today, they have developed steadily. In particular, the range of functions and interfaces has grown over time.

In recent years, new systems have emerged that have further developed the basic idea of a DMS and, through innovative approaches, have opened up completely new benefits for users. Humbee is one of these systems.


What does DMS with OCR mean?

OCR stands for "Optical Character Recognition". With the help of OCR, a DMS automatically recognizes text in scanned or photographed documents and in PDF files. This text is then available for a so-called full text search. OCR is also a prerequisite for the DMS to automatically assign a category and assign attributes. For an incoming invoice, for example, the supplier, the invoice date and number, and the invoice amount can be recognized in this way. The assignment to a purchase order is also possible.

Without OCR text recognition, it would therefore not be possible to implement automated processes for documents that were previously available in analog form. So it's no wonder that the abbreviation OCR appears again and again in connection with DMS.

You can find out how reliably ORC works under DMS Software with OCR.

DMS costs

What does a DMS cost?

The cost of a DMS varies greatly, as different requirements are placed on document management systems. It is also often difficult to compare prices because systems are often priced on a modular basis. A simple DMS for a small business is available for as little as a few hundred Euros. For larger companies, document management systems quickly cost five- and six-figure sums.

Basically, systems that are installed in the company are more expensive than DMS in the cloud. With humbee, you not only get a powerful DMS with the storage space you need, but also many other functions for a paperless office and at a reasonable price. Starting from 39.70 € net per user and month, you get this annually cancelable DMS with the full scope of collaboration functions and transaction processing. The implementation takes place quickly within a few days.

With on premise systems, license fees are usually due for the software. These depend on the number of modules, the number of users or the number of documents. In addition, there are costs for maintenance contracts and necessary infrastructure such as servers, databases and data backup.

The costs for implementing the DMS system should not be underestimated. Often these costs are higher than the costs for the actual DMS.

OpenSource systems seem cheap at first. But here, too, the costs for a support contract and for setting up the system must be taken into account.

Conclusion: A look at the benefits of DMS makes it clear that the time savings and cost savings of a document management system are very favorable in relation to the humbee usage fee. With each humbee license you save costs per employee and increase efficiency.