What is an Open-Source Document Management System?
An open-source document management system (DMS) is like any other open-source software, but for document management. Open-source document management systems allow businesses to digitize their operations and store their information on secure digital servers. Since open-source document management systems are freely available on the internet, they can be easily accessed, modified & updated by anyone. Users can also add or modify features of open-source document management systems by adding their own codes. Open-source DMS are like a test-run for companies that want to invest in a proprietary solution in the future.
Open-Source DMS vs Proprietary DMS
The key difference between open-source and proprietary document management systems is that the code for open-source document management systems is available to the public. This enables users to customize the system as per their needs. But the readily available source code also poses major security concerns.
Whereas, a proprietary document management system usually belongs to brands or service providers that specialize in document management solutions. They don’t give away their source codes & certainly don’t allow their users to modify their systems in any way, making them the ideal choice for companies looking for a reliable & secure document management solution. Proprietary DMS come at an annual subscription or a one time fee, but they do let users try out the system with a free trial.
Benefits of Open-Source Document Management System
Digitization of document processes
Managing paper documents can take up a lot of time & energy. Digitization of document processes doesn’t just ease document management, it also reduces paper-based costs & frees up office space. Also, it is much easier to cancel or upgrade digital storage packages.
The primary reason why users choose open-source document management systems over proprietary systems is that they are freely available on the internet. So users don’t need to invest money in a system that might not work for them. Instead, users can download & use as many systems as they want, and choose the one that fits best with their business.
Users can add their own codes to the existing codes of open-source document management systems to add any features they want. This works best for a company that wants to build its own system. Another benefit of this feature is that the system is continuously evolving & improving, and there are many different versions of the system at any given time.
The primary purpose of all document management systems is to replace manual & repetitive processes with automation. This involves automating processes like document exports, approvals, indexing, archiving, disposal & more. Automation reduces document handling time, reduces errors & improves productivity.
Drawbacks of Open-Source Document Management System
Needs customization to work
Think of it as purchasing a home. A home is an empty space that needs to be filled with stuff like beds & cabinets to make it livable. That’s how an open-source document management system works. Open-source document management systems need customizations and customizations take time & knowledge, both of which can be spent doing better things for the business.
Open-source document management systems can be accessed, modified & monitored by anyone. Even though users can set up a login process after downloading the system, data security is still a threat to anyone using an open-source system. Data breaches & thefts have become a major concern for businesses. Hence most big businesses opt for proprietary systems over open-source systems.
Difficult to obtain certifications
Most international certifications like International Certification for Standardization (ISO) and Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) make it mandatory for businesses to follow certain protocols like maintaining data safety & ensuring auditable document trail. Open-source document management systems don’t always provide the features necessary for obtaining or evening applying for these certifications.
Lack of technical support
Open-source document management systems don’t have a dedicated team managing the system’s backend operations and mostly rely on users to highlight bugs & create fixes. The lack of technical support is not a viable option for most businesses that don’t want to waste their working hours.
3 Popular Open-Source Document Management System
Open DocMan has all the common document management features like workflow automation, advanced search & document organization. Open DocMan was developed under the guidelines of General Public License (GPL) and hence can be modified to suit different business needs.
OpenKM Community Edition
Like LogicalDoc, OpenKM too has a community edition for users looking for a free & customisable document management solution. OpenKM has features like mobile access & workflow creation and is compatible with multiple operating systems like Windows & Mac.
Alfresco Community Edition
Alfresco Community Edition is developed by Alfresco Content Services. It is written in Java and uses PostgreSQL. It is compatible with multiple operating systems like Windows & Unix, and has a web interface as well as a mobile app. Alfresco Community Edition, similar to its commercial version, makes it easy to collaborate with tools such as task lists, version tracking & team sites.
Alternative to Open-Source Document Management System
Proprietary systems are owned & developed by a team of individuals who, thanks to their years of experience in the subject, have a detailed understanding of aspects like customer requirements, interface design & more. There are plenty of proprietary systems available on the internet for varying costs. Most proprietary systems also allow you to take a free trial. The best alternative to open-source document management systems is proprietary systems like GLOBODOX.
GLOBODOX document management software (DMS) has been a widely recognized name in the document management space for more than 2 decades. GLOBODOX provides end-to-end document management solutions ranging from document creation, editing, storing, sharing, protection, control, versioning, process automation, archiving, disposal & much more. GLOBODOX has worked with more than 4000 clients (60+ countries) across various sectors like construction, healthcare, education, engineering, mining, oil & gas, retail, etc.GLOBODOX’s multi-format compatibility and mobile connectivity let you stay connected to your information on the go. Security features grant you complete control over access to your documents. Automation-based features let you automate routine & repetitive tasks like document approvals, transfers & more. GLOBODOX’s affordability & user-friendly interface reduce setup, training, and ownership costs to maximize ROI.You can also read: