All You Need to Know (2022)

SharePoint Document Management System (DMS): the Gist

SharePoint document management system digitalizes the document lifecycle from creation to archiving, thus improving employee performance by 20% and reducing operational costs by 55%. SharePoint DMS can be deployed on-premises (SharePoint 2013 DMS and SharePoint 2016 DMS) and in the cloud (SharePoint Online DMS).

SharePoint is a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms in 2020 for the fourth consecutive year. Today, 250,000+ organizations are using SharePoint as a document management system, an intranet or other solutions.

SharePoint DMS Features

Document creation and document processing automation


Digitalizing paper documents and converting electronic documents in different formats (e.g., TIFF, JPG, PNG) into a uniform readable and searchable format (e.g., PDF) using OCR software to reduce data entry errors via automated data extracting.


Automated check of scanned documents for misspelling, missing symbols, words, and signatures for subsequent automatic fixing of these issues or highlighting questionable words for manual fixing by user.


Reusable templates for fast and easy creation of typical documents like letters, contracts, policies, invoices, etc.

Real-time collaboration on documents

Authoring a document by several users simultaneously. DMS tracks the time of access to the document by users and marks modifications made by co-authors in different colors.


Automated routing of documents for collecting approvals, feedback or signatures.

Alerts and notifications

Automated sending of notifications about any document-related changes (e.g., creation of a new document, update of a document, end of an approval workflow) to required or authorized users.

Document storage and retrieval

Storage capacity

1 TB per org with additional 10 GB per license purchased, and this capacity can be additionally extended if needed.

Multi-type documents support

Multiple document types in various formats can be added to the SharePoint library, from common ones (.docx, .pdf, .pptx, .zip) to rare file extensions, like .odt, .ods, .xlsb .ppsx, and 3D models.


Tagging documents based on their content and filled-in metadata (e.g., a document’s title, author, type, modification date) to facilitate their categorizing, archiving, search and retrieval.

Enterprise search

Search by name, metadata and full text of employee records, documents, news, events, and more across DMS and integrated systems (e.g., ERP, HRMS) and search results ranking.

Document consistency, security and compliance


Tracking multiple versions of a document to prevent duplication of the same document, accidental or unwanted changes in documents, and enable restoring a previous version if needed.


Locking a document for editing by other users when a user edits it during co-authoring, which helps protect documents from accidental changes or overwriting.

Backup and recovery

Restoring of documents created during the last 30 days.

Restricted data sharing

Rule-based automated identification of sensitive data in documentation (e.g., ePHI in health records) and blocking against accidental sharing of such documentation.

Access control

Permission-based access with permissions ranging from only viewing a document to full control: a user can create, upload, modify, delete, and share documents.

Data encryption

BitLocker offers two-level encryption of data at rest: it encrypts all data on a disk and provides a unique key for each file. And data in transit is protected due to SSL/TLS protocols.

Two-factor authentication

Additional protection layer (apart from a password) that consists of entering a code from an email or a text message.

Audit trail

Tracking all document-related activities performed by users: creation, accessing, modification, sharing, printing out, deleting, and more.

Retention and deletion policies

Scheduling document retention and automatic elimination of unnecessary files after a certain period, as required by government and industry-specific regulations (e.g., GDPR, GLBA, SOX, HIPAA, PCI DSS).

Examples of SharePoint DMS Capabilities

Event-triggered notifications

Document approval workflow

Document capture

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Document co-authoring

Document validation

Document search

Document metadata management

Permission-based access to documents

Customizable document templates

Storing and tracking of document versions

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SharePoint Document Management Demo

With our interactive demo, you’ll learn how to use SharePoint DMS to create, store, approve and share your company's documentation.

See the SharePoint DMS demo

Key SharePoint DMS Integrations

Integration of a Microsoft document management solution based on SharePoint with third-party enterprise systems allows for better data consistency across the company. Such integrations help avoid data re-entry and duplication of documents in different systems and optimize software costs (e.g., by saving on storage space in CRM).

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  • SharePoint DMS + ERP – to improve cross-departmental collaboration (e.g., Finance, Production, Procurement, Legal departments) due to centralized storage of all the company’s documentation, document co-authoring and approval workflows enabled by SharePoint DMS.
  • SharePoint DMS + OCR–to convert paper documents into readable and searchable electronic documents or electronic documents in various formats into unified formats like PDF, which facilitates storage and search across a document repository.
  • SharePoint DMS + e-signature software –to accelerate document-driven business processes due to an automated e-signature workflow.
  • SharePoint DMS + LMS – to enable easy creation of eLearning materials and their centralized and structured storage as well as effective search via SharePoint DMS and arrange trainings based on these materials via LMS.

SharePoint DMS Customization Capabilities

SharePoint is a customization-friendly platform that that can serve as DMS tailored to the needs of small, mid-size and large businesses from various industries. For instance, additional custom tools can be developed to meet users’ document control needs. Among such examples is a DMS for a chemical manufacturer that was augmented with a tool for document structuring and search based on 12,000+ rules. Another example is a custom tool developed for template-based document creation and processing UML diagrams for an atomic energy organization.

What is more, the SharePoint platform has extensive branding capabilities, so SharePoint DMS can offer a unique look and feel to users.

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With 700 employees on board and 15 years in SharePoint development, ScienceSoft helps organizations streamline document-driven business processes with cost-effective SharePoint document management solutions.

SharePoint DMS customization: Success stories

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Implementation of a SharePoint DMS for a chemical manufacturer

  • Organized document storage
  • Fast document search
  • Improved productivity

Project details

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SharePoint search portal development for a consulting company

  • Powerful search
  • Desktop and mobile versions
  • Targeted emailing

Project details

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Development of a SharePoint records management system for a US legal firm

  • OCR integration
  • Document profiling and calendaring
  • Role-based access

Project details

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SharePoint approval workflow development for a US company of 6,000 employees

  • Accelerated business operations
  • Optimized approval process
  • Automated reminders

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DMS development for an atomic energy organization

  • Integration of separate systems into one solution
  • Storing multiple data in unified format
  • More efficient business processes

Project details

Need Help with Optimal Configuration of SharePoint DMS?

ScienceSoft’s team is ready to advise you on an optimal configuration of a SharePoint document management solution tailored to your needs and provide an estimation of implementation costs based on this configuration.


Our Happy Customers

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Abubakr Ali Al-Raiee

Software Programming Supervisor

Arabian Oud turned to ScienceSoft for assistance in building a new SharePoint intranet portal.To make the intranet fully meet our business needs, ScienceSoft’s team implemented new document management features, including document approval workflows.

ScienceSoft proved to be a reliable and proactive partner, and we’d definitely recommend them for cooperation on SharePoint intranet development.

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Gil Tovar

IT Manager

ScienceSoft’s team built SharePoint Online spaces tailored to the specific needs of our company’s departments to enable structured storage and convenient collaboration on documents. They also configured role-based permissions to ensure high data security.In addition, ScienceSoft’s specialists conducted training for our employees on best practices of using SharePoint Online, including collaboration on documents and document sharing.

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Sultan Masad

Group IT Manager

We partnered up with ScienceSoft for building a SharePoint document management system to streamline document storing, search, approval, and archiving.One of our core requirements was DMS user-friendliness. To meet this requirement, ScienceSoft’s team implemented custom look and feel features.The DMS developed by ScienceSoft helped us ensure document integrity and security and accelerate document-related business processes.

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Michele King

Operations & Planning Manager

To streamline our document management, ScienceSoft created two workflows: the first one checked duplicate file names across the site and sent documents for approval, and the second one triggered weekly reminders for approvers with a list of documents awaiting approval.The project took 6 weeks.We really appreciate the team’s responsiveness and patience with our questions and concerns.

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Moin uddin Mohammed

Group IT Manager & ERP Consultant

We commissioned ScienceSoft to implement a document management system based on SharePoint Online. Under the project, ScienceSoft’s team developed custom document approval workflows that provided automated protection of a document from modification after approval. Thus, the developed DMS solution helped us accelerate document-driven business processes and ensure data security and integrity.

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Common SharePoint Document Management Use Cases

By core functionality

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Enterprise document management

  • Document capture and validation of documents in multiple formats.
  • Indexing and metadata.
  • Centralized document search across all enterprise systems based on full text , parts of text, and metadata.
  • Customizable document templates.
  • Real-time collaboration on documents.
  • Complex (non-linear, multistep) document approval workflows.
  • Integration with e-signature software.
  • Versioning and audit trail.


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Contract management

  • Customizable contract templates.
  • Clause libraries and saved fields.
  • Guided contract creation.
  • Contract co-authoring.
  • E-signature software integration.
  • Full-text search.
  • Alerts and notifications (e.g., about important contract dates like milestones, deadlines, renewals).
  • Versioning and audit trail.
  • Hierarchical approval workflows.
  • Parent-child contract hierarchies.
  • Compliance check.


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Policy management

  • Customizable policy templates.
  • Policy co-authoring.
  • Policy management workflows (review, approval, and acknowledgement).
  • Policy dashboards automatically updated in real-time.
  • Search based on full text, parts of text, and metadata.
  • Alerts and notifications (e.g., a policy’s approval, modification, expiry).
  • Policy knowledge assessment (quizzes, tests).


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Records management

  • Identifying and registering personal, correspondence, accounting, legal, and other types of records that serve as evidence of business activities and transactions.
  • Indexing and metadata for classifying and storing records.
  • Records search and retrieval.
  • Access control.
  • Records tracking (access, modification, deletion).
  • Records retention and disposition.


By industry specifics

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  • Capture and validation of physician notes, prescriptions, X-rays, etc.
  • Structured repository for healthcare contracts (e.g., payer, patient contracts), lab test results, ultrasound and PET scans, MRIs, and more.
  • Customizable document templates (e.g., hospital admission forms, patient consent forms).
  • Full-text and metadata document search across the healthcare DMS and integrated systems.
  • Automated document workflows (e.g., approval of a patient’s discharge).
  • Strong security features (access control, versioning, audit trail, etc.).
  • HIPAA compliance.


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Legal services

  • Document capture and validation (court minutes and orders, affidavits, copyright papers, etc.).
  • Document templates (e.g., a power of attorney, a will, a lease agreement).
  • Real-time collaboration on documents.
  • Document tagging.
  • Advanced search and eDiscovery (e.g., enterprise search, search filters and refiners, user-targeted search based on a lawyer’s profile and search history, search suggestions).
  • Alerts and notifications (e.g., meetings, case milestones or deadlines).
  • Document workflow automation.
  • E-signature integration.
  • Security and compliance with internal and government regulations (e.g., GDPR).


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  • Document capture (e.g., scientific project proposal, experiment proposal and lab report forms).
  • Structured storage of scientific documentation (e.g., patents, research publications),
  • Document templates e.g. scientific papers, experiment documentation).
  • Real-time collaboration on documents.
  • Advanced search across the repository based on full text, parts of text, and metadata.
  • Document archiving.
  • Document security (data encryption, multifactor authentication, permission-based access, audit trail, etc.).


SharePoint DMS: TypicalImplementation Roadmap

  1. Analyzing document-driven business processes, transforming document management needs into technical requirements, and creating specifications for a SharePoint DMS solution.
  2. Document workflow analysis and design (e.g., approval, e-signature workflows).
  3. Workflow customization in SharePoint or development of custom workflows.
  4. SharePoint DMS UI and UX customization.
  5. Integration of SharePoint DMS with required software (e.g., ERP, LMS, HRMS).
  6. Solution deployment, including data mapping and migration from the former document management solution to SharePoint DMS.
  7. QA and user acceptance testing.
  8. Post-implementation support and evolution.

Sample Duration and Costs of a SharePoint DMS Project


The duration of a SharePoint DMS implementation project depends on the number of documents to manage, the number and complexity of integrations and customizations, compliance needs, and more.


DMS implementation project duration

A small retail company (40 employees)

  • Word, PDF and Excel documents.
  • Simple linear workflows.

1-1.5 months

(the solution is based on the out-of-the-box SharePoint functionality)

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A mid-size pharmaceutical company (200 employees)

  • Approval workflows.
  • Full-text search across stored documents.
  • ERP integration.

Up to 5 months

(custom development is required)

A large engineering company (8,000 employees)

  • Drawings, construction plans and 3D models in DXF, DWG, STL, OBJ, and other formats.
  • Complex non-linear workflows.
  • 4 integrations: ERP, CRM, BI, and HR.
  • Advanced search across the DMS and integrated systems).

6-12 months

(custom development is required)


Below are ballpark cost estimations for SharePoint DMS based on the functionality scope. The estimation includes such services as discovery, development, customization and testing but excludes continuous support that can add up to $10,000-15,000 annually.



  • Full text and metadata search.
  • Document workflows.
  • Email notifications.
  • Taxonomy management.
  • Permission-based access.
  • Real-time collaboration on documents.
  • Separate SharePoint sites for a company’s different departments.
  • Several integrations with third-party systems.


The feature set of Example #1 +

  • Additional security features, including audit trail.
  • Compliance management.
  • Data loss prevention policies.


The feature set of Example #2 +

  • Data retention policies.
  • Advanced analytics on document usage (e.g., who and when created, accessed or modified the document), security (e.g., permissions), and more.
  • Image recognition.


Using SharePoint for Document Management: Pros and Cons


  • Scalability of SharePoint Online DMS to accommodate an increasing number of documents, so it can be equally viable to small, mid-size and large companies.
  • SharePoint customizability to adapt it to meet industry- and company-specific document management requirements.
  • 24/7 access to documents from any device and any location with internet access, as well as offline access with subsequent synchronization to the cloud.
  • Full automation of the document lifecycle due to the capability to create workflows of any structure and complexity.
  • Out-of-the-box integration with other Office 365 services (e.g., Teams, Outlook, Exchange, OneDrive, Power Automate) and document processing tools (e.g., Word, PowerPoint).


  • No out-of-the-box role-based personalization, when permissions are assigned to user roles depending on their activities (e.g., users who can view and edit contracts are granted the role of Editor), which can be mitigated via customization.
  • Non-intuitive UI and UX out of the box, which needs essential customization.
  • SharePoint customization (e.g., deploying custom master pages or web parts) require SharePoint professionals with relevant skills.
  • Limited number of stored document versions in SharePoint DMS. Also, in SharePoint, you can’t open two document versions simultaneously in order to compare them, so you need Microsoft Word for this purpose.
  • Steep learning curve for non-technical users, which makes user training a necessity.

Financial Outcomes of SharePoint DMS

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100% regulatory compliance due to strong security features.

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+20% employee productivity due to quick access to and effective search through documents, document templates, document co-authoring and using a mobile version of SharePoint DMS.

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-60% document management costs due to e-signature workflows.

SharePoint Online Pricing Plans

Office applications



Price(annual commitment)

Not included

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1 TB per user.

Communication sites and team sites.

People and content search.

Secure file management and sharing.

Document co-authoring.


SharePoint/OneDrive mobile apps.

$5 user/month

Not included

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Plan 1 features.

Unlimited personal cloud storage.

Enterprise search.

Content discovery for litigation/audit.

Advanced data loss prevention.

Content protection from deletion/modification.

$10 user/month

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Plan 2 features.

Email hosting with unlimited mailbox.

1 license covers 5 PCs/Macs, 5 phones, and 5 tablets per user.

Business process automation with built-in PowerApps and Power Automate.

$20 user/month


SharePoint DMS Alternatives



  • Mobile-friendliness.
  • Intuitive UI.
  • One-click access with a desktop icon created by the Sidekick widget.
  • Integration-friendliness due to open API.
  • E-signature.
  • Built-in OCR tool.


  • Lack of training materials on apart from articles on the vendor’s website.
  • It can’t meet the document management needs of large enterprises out of the box.

Best for

Healthcare, manufacturing financial, and insurance orgs.


Starting from $1,200/year.

Free trial is available.



  • Multi-language support.
  • Integration with Workday, SAP, PeopleSoft, Salesforce, QuickBooks, Oracle and more.
  • E-signature.
  • Built-in reporting tool.


  • No real-time collaboration on documents.

Best for

Healthcare, legal, educational, accounting, and real estate orgs.


Available by direct request to a vendor.

Free trial is available.



  • User-friendliness.
  • Customizability.
  • Templates of electronic forms for travel requests, purchase orders, expense reports, and more.


  • Creating more complex forms may require essential JavaScript coding.
  • Non-convenient document search.
  • Expensive implementation.

Best for

Governmental, educational, financial, and healthcare orgs.


Available by direct request to a vendor.

Free trial is available.



  • Remote web access.
  • Email archiving.
  • E-signature.
  • Integration with Adobe, Dynamics 365, eCopy, SharePoint, AutoCAD, and more.


  • No real-time collaboration on documents.
  • No capability to upload files from mobile devices.

Best for

Governmental, educational, financial, engineering, and healthcare orgs.


Starting from $260 user/year.

Free trial is available.

Need Advice to Choose an Optimal DMS Tool?

ScienceSoft’s team is ready to examine your document management needs and help you find a fitting DMS solution.


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