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In this review, I’m going to share my analysis and evaluation from my hands-on experience with DocuWare. But first, if you’re just beginning your search for the best digital asset management tools, check out my picks for the best digital asset management software. You probably already know that DocuWare is among the most popular digital asset management tools out there, but you need to better understand what’s good (and not so good) about it.

This in-depth DocuWare review will walk you through the tool's pros and cons, features and functionality, and more to help guide you to better understand its capabilities and its suitability for your needs.

Review of DocuWare's task feature screenshot.
I like how the task feature of DocuWare, pictured here, helps enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of document management processes.

DocuWare Product Overview

Summary

DocuWare is a document management system that streamlines and automates document handling processes. Its primary users are businesses seeking efficient document management and workflow automation.

The tool offers simplified document access, enhanced security, and improved collaboration, effectively solving issues like disorganized file storage, manual data entry errors, and security risks in document handling. Its best features include intuitive document retrieval, robust integration capabilities, and customizable workflow automation.

Pros

  • Intuitive Search: Quick file access. Users can swiftly locate documents using metadata, reducing time spent on searching.
  • Robust Integration: Seamless system compatibility. DocuWare integrates well with various existing systems, simplifying data synchronization and workflow.
  • Customizable Workflows: Tailored automation. It allows users to create workflows that match their specific process needs, enhancing efficiency.

Cons

  • Learning Curve: Initial complexity. New users might initially find it challenging to navigate the system's full range of features.
  • Cost Factor: Potentially high expense. Depending on the deployment scale, DocuWare can be a significant investment for smaller businesses.
  • Limited Mobile Experience: Restricted on-the-go access. The mobile app doesn’t offer the full range of functionalities on the desktop version, potentially hindering remote access efficiency.

Expert Opinion

In judging DocuWare against other document management software, its robust integration capabilities and customizable workflow options are awe-inspiring. These features make it a strong choice for businesses that require complex document handling and process automation.

However, when it comes to pricing, smaller businesses might find it less attractive due to the potential high cost. The interface, while comprehensive, presents a steep learning curve, possibly deterring less tech-savvy users. DocuWare provides adequate resources for support and onboarding but doesn’t notably outshine its competitors.

The mobile experience, which lacks some desktop functionalities, is an area where it could perform better compared to more mobile-friendly options. Based on these considerations, DocuWare best suits medium to large businesses, particularly those needing deep integration with existing systems and customizable workflows. Smaller enterprises or those seeking simple, easy-to-navigate software might need to weigh its advantages against its complexities and cost.

DocuWare Deep Dive

Standout Functionality

  1. Advanced Indexing and Retrieval: DocuWare's indexing system, particularly its ability to handle complex metadata, sets it apart. This functionality makes document storage and retrieval more efficient than traditional file cabinets, allowing for quickly locating specific documents within a large database.
  2. Customizable Workflow Automation: Unique in its flexibility, DocuWare allows users to create tailored workflows. This is particularly useful for processes like invoice processing, where businesses can automate steps according to their needs.
  3. Integration with External Applications: The seamless integration of DocuWare with external applications like Microsoft Outlook and ERP systems stands out. This integration streamlines content management, making it more efficient than traditional storing and managing paper files.

Product Specifications

  1. Electronic Document Capture - Yes
  2. Full-text Search - Yes
  3. Version Control - Yes
  4. Metadata Management - Yes
  5. Workflow Automation - Yes
  6. Access Controls/Permissions - Yes
  7. Compliance Tracking - Yes
  8. Document Archiving - Yes
  9. Collaboration Tools - Yes
  10. E-Signature Integration - Yes
  11. Mobile Access (including iOS) - Yes
  12. Email Management (including Outlook integration) - Yes
  13. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) - Yes
  14. Integration with Third-Party Software - Yes
  15. Customizable Document Tagging - Yes
  16. Audit Trails - Yes
  17. Offline Access - No
  18. Multi-Language Support - Yes
  19. Web-based Access - Yes
  20. Scanning and Imaging Tools - Yes
  21. Records Management - Yes
  22. Data Backup and Recovery - Yes
  23. Drag-and-Drop Interface - Yes
  24. Real-Time Notifications - Yes
  25. Reporting and Analytics - Yes

DocuWare Key Features

  1. Electronic Document Capture: This feature allows for efficient digitization of paper files, reducing the need for physical storage.
  2. Full-text Search: Enhances content management by enabling users to quickly find documents based on their entire text, not just titles or metadata.
  3. Workflow Automation: Customizable workflows in DocuWare are particularly effective for streamlining ECM processes like invoice processing.
  4. Metadata Management: Advanced metadata handling improves document storage efficiency and retrieval accuracy.
  5. Access Controls/Permissions: Ensures security and compliance, critical for managing sensitive documents.
  6. E-Signature Integration: Facilitates seamless digital signing processes, integral in a paperless environment.
  7. Mobile Access (including iOS): Allows users to store and access documents on the go, enhancing flexibility and productivity.
  8. Email Management (including Outlook integration): Streamlines email-based document handling, improving overall workflow efficiency.
  9. Audit Trails: Provides transparency and tracking of document modifications, crucial for compliance and security.
  10. Reporting and Analytics: Offers insights into document usage and workflow efficiency, aiding in better decision-making.

Ease Of Use

In evaluating DocuWare, I find its user interface somewhat complex, especially for new users. The abundance of features, while beneficial, can make the initial navigation overwhelming. This is particularly evident during the onboarding process, requiring a substantial time investment to familiarize oneself with the system's capabilities.

The organization within the tool is logical, but the learning curve is steep due to the advanced features and customization options. Users often need additional time to become proficient in creating and managing workflows and understanding the full scope of the document indexing system. The complexity lies primarily in leveraging these advanced features to their full potential.

Customer Support

DocuWare provides a range of customer support options, including documentation, webinars, and a live chat feature. The quality of these resources is generally good, offering detailed guidance and information. However, I noticed some gaps in the immediacy of support. Response times can be slower than desired, particularly for more complex inquiries.

This can be a point of frustration for users needing urgent assistance. While resources like tutorials and webinars are comprehensive, they may not always address specific, nuanced issues that users encounter. This gap necessitates a more robust, timely support response system to enhance user experience effectively.

Integrations

DocuWare offers several out-of-the-box or native integrations with popular software and tools. These integrations include Microsoft Office, SharePoint, and SAP. For example, integrating with Microsoft Office allows users to easily store and manage documents created in Office applications directly in DocuWare. With SharePoint integration, users can archive SharePoint content in DocuWare for better document lifecycle management. The integration facilitates streamlined document handling related to ERP processes for ERP systems like SAP.

DocuWare also provides an API, enabling custom integration with other business systems. This API allows flexibility in creating tailored solutions that fit specific business needs, such as syncing data between DocuWare and CRM systems or customizing workflows that interact with external databases for Windows, Android, Linux, MAC, and IOS.

Additionally, DocuWare supports various add-ons to extend the platform's capabilities, such as tools for advanced capture, electronic signatures, and specific compliance needs. These add-ons help tailor the system to unique business requirements and enhance overall functionality.

DocuWare Pricing

Pricing for DocuWare is typically structured in tiers, catering to different sizes and types of businesses. The pricing can be more expensive than other document management tools, primarily due to its advanced features and extensive customization options. Users should consider additional costs like setup fees or charges for extra features.

  • Professional Tier: This might include essential document management and workflow automation features at around $45/user/month (min 5 seats, billed annually). This tier suits small to medium-sized businesses that need standard document management capabilities.
  • Enterprise Tier: Offering advanced features like full-text indexing, API access, and higher levels of customization, the cost can be around $75/user/month (min 5 seats, billed annually). This tier is designed for larger organizations with complex document management needs.
  • Custom Solutions: For huge company sizes or those with unique requirements, DocuWare may offer custom solutions. Pricing for these is typically upon request and varies based on the specific needs and scale of the implementation.

Each tier includes different features and benefits, and businesses should choose based on their size, needs, and budget. It's important to note that there may be additional costs for add-ons or premium integrations.

DocuWare Use Case

Who Would Be A Good Fit For DocuWare?

I believe DocuWare is well-suited for medium to large businesses with complex document management needs. The tool's strength lies in its robust workflow automation and integration capabilities, making it ideal for organizations with a high volume of documents requiring streamlined processes.

Industries like legal, healthcare, and finance, where document control and compliance are critical, benefit significantly from DocuWare's features. It works well for teams that require collaborative tools and rely on secure, efficient document handling. The most loyal and avid customers value the ability to customize their document management workflows and require robust integration with other business systems.

Despite the higher price point and steeper learning curve, these users typically find great value in the advanced features DocuWare offers.

Who Would Be A Bad Fit For DocuWare?

Conversely, due to its complexity and cost, DocuWare may not be the best fit for small businesses or startups. Companies requiring a simple, straightforward document management system with minimal customization might find DocuWare overwhelming and ineffective.

The tool may also not be ideal for businesses that need only basic file storage and retrieval without the need for advanced features like customizable workflows or extensive integrations. In environments where budget constraints are tight, and the volume of documents managed is low, users often underutilize the extensive capabilities of DocuWare, leading to disappointment.

Additionally, teams that lack technical expertise may struggle with the initial learning curve, making it a less suitable choice for such scenarios.

DocuWare FAQs

Can DocuWare be used for small businesses or is it only for large enterprises?

DocuWare is versatile and can be used by small businesses, but it's particularly beneficial for medium to large enterprises due to its extensive features and customization options.

Is DocuWare compatible with mobile devices?

Yes, DocuWare offers a mobile app, but it's important to note that it doesn’t have all the functionalities available on the desktop version.

Can DocuWare integrate with other business software?

Yes, DocuWare integrates with a variety of business software, including Microsoft Office, SharePoint, and ERP systems like SAP, enhancing workflow and data consistency.

Does DocuWare support document collaboration among team members?

Yes, DocuWare includes collaboration tools that allow team members to work together on documents, including version control and shared access.

Is data stored in DocuWare secure?

Yes, DocuWare prioritizes security with features like access controls, compliance tracking, and audit trails to ensure data security and regulatory compliance.

How steep is the learning curve for new DocuWare users?

DocuWare can have a steep learning curve, particularly for its advanced features, but it offers comprehensive documentation and support to help users acclimate.

Are there customization options available in DocuWare?

Yes, one of DocuWare's strengths is its highly customizable nature, allowing users to tailor workflows and document management processes to fit their specific needs.

Does DocuWare provide any customer support for troubleshooting?

Yes, DocuWare offers customer support through various channels, including documentation, webinars, and a live chat feature, although response times can vary depending on the complexity of the inquiry.

DocuWare Company Overview & History

DocuWare specializes in digital document management and workflow management solutions, catering to businesses of various sizes. Their product offerings, including DocuWare Cloud and on-premise solutions, help companies streamline business processes, improve search capabilities, and efficiently store documents. While they serve a diverse range of companies, medium to large businesses often find the most value in their solutions, particularly those looking for robust workflow management and document retention capabilities.

The company is privately owned, headquartered in Germering, Germany, and New Windsor, New York, USA. Notable figures in the company have included co-founders Jürgen Biffar and Thomas Schneck. DocuWare's mission statement emphasizes providing user-friendly, flexible, secure document management and workflow automation solutions.

Since its establishment in 1988, DocuWare has reached several milestones, including significant global expansion and the development of pioneering cloud-based document management solutions. A key milestone was the introduction of DocuWare Cloud, marking a significant shift in how the company offered its services and expanded its market reach.

DocuWare Summary: The Bottom Line

My overall opinion of DocuWare is that it stands out in the realm of document management software due to its robust functionality tailored for medium to large businesses. What makes DocuWare unique is its combination of strong workflow management capabilities with advanced search and document storage solutions.

It offers a level of customization in workflow automation that is not commonly found in other tools, which is particularly beneficial for businesses with complex processes. The software's user-friendly interface, despite a steep learning curve, is noteworthy, as it eventually allows for efficient navigation and management of documents.

Additionally, its retention capabilities ensure compliance and security, vital for many businesses. In summary, DocuWare's strengths lie in its customizable workflows, strong integration capabilities, and commitment to secure, efficient document management.

Alternatives to DocuWare

  • Laserfiche: Often chosen for its user-friendly interface and strong records management features, Laserfiche is ideal for those who prioritize ease of use alongside robust functionality.
  • M-Files: M-Files is frequently compared with DocuWare for its unique approach to organizing documents based on metadata, making it a good choice for businesses looking for a more intuitive way to manage their documents.
  • Microsoft SharePoint: SharePoint, a part of the Microsoft Office suite, is often preferred by organizations already entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem, offering seamless integration with other Microsoft products.

Summary

In conclusion, DocuWare is a comprehensive document management solution, especially suitable for medium to large businesses with complex workflow needs. Its customizable workflows, robust integration capabilities, and strong document storage and retrieval systems are its most notable features.

While it may present a steep learning curve and potentially higher costs, its efficiency and scalability make it a compelling option in the market. However, alternatives like Laserfiche, M-Files, and Microsoft SharePoint offer different strengths that may be more aligned with specific business requirements or preferences.

I invite readers to share their experiences or thoughts on these tools, especially if they have firsthand experience with DocuWare or its alternatives. Your insights can be invaluable to others making this important decision.

Galen Low
By Galen Low

Galen is a digital project manager with over 10 years of experience shaping and delivering human-centered digital transformation initiatives in government, healthcare, transit, and retail. He is a digital project management nerd, a cultivator of highly collaborative teams, and an impulsive sharer of knowledge. He's also the co-founder of The Digital Project Manager and host of The DPM Podcast.