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Document Management 101

SharePoint vs. Document Management Software: Which is Better for Records Management

Learn the difference between collaboration and records management software and determine what's right for your business.

July 30, 2020

Sharepoint Logo

Many people are confused over the differences between collaboration software like Microsoft SharePoint, and document management software. They do seem similar to a point – both types of software allow users to go in and have access to a lot of documents. However, the reason why they need to access documents differs a lot too. We, at DocuXplorer, thought it would be best to go through and delineate between the two, to try and help sort out the confusion. Should your company be looking for SharePoint or document management software?

Which is more important - the record or the content?

The purpose of document management software, like DocuXplorer, is to help with records management requirements. There are specific requirements for each type of document that companies must adhere to for retention, storage, and destruction. SharePoint on the other hand was created to encourage collaboration with respect to projects. A project can create many versions of one document as people keep revising and refining. The purpose is to get the best collaborative effort out of people, resulting in a fine tuned document. SharePoint is not built to help make document management efforts easy, although some people may try to fit this very square peg into a round hole.  

Does the record change?

Document management software is primarily focused on the final version of a document which is considered a vital company record of business, even though document management software often includes version control as a feature. A final document's whereabouts need to be known and tracked in order to meet specific regulatory requirements. In some organizations, approvals for those documents also need to be tracked. SharePoint on the other hand encourages document changes – its focus is on change. It wasn’t built with functionality specific to tracking records management requirements.

Do you require access controls?

Here also is the great divider. Document management software provides very complex access controls to help companies limit the access people have to documents. Some documents that require restricted access include sensitive legal documents, financial information and reports by human resources and senior management. SharePoint on the other hand is all about providing access to documents. While there may be a limit or a restrictive control to SharePoint, their main focus is not granting entitlements based on specific entitled roles. It's more project based access.

SharePoint is a well developed tool but when it comes to records management, it does not nearly provide the functionality required by most companies that DocuXplorer has.