Document Management Alternatives

Every company has the need to manage their intellectual properties [document management].  There are a number of ways that they can accomplish this.  This blog is an abbreviated view of potential alternatives.

At a Minimum

Many companies still rely on protected directories.

Some potential issues – Protected directories don’t keep workers from overwriting existing files.  They allow more than one person to work on a file at the same time.  If a worker doesn’t have the original application that created the file, they may not be able to view it.  Etc.

Make or Buy

If protected directories are not doing the job, companies are faced with make or buy decisions.

A make decision can be to write some code to handle a specific problem or write code to create a custom solution for your company.  Each of these solutions requires code maintenance and typically the solution will get extended.  If software coding is not your core competency, you will end up with a very expensive solution.

Buy decisions will have you looking at one of the following.

Sharepoint or Something Similar

These are entry level document management packages.  They have their own issues – they used to be the cheap solution but not anymore.  They allow files to be overwritten.  They allow files to be deleted.  They often require a full time administrator and customization.  Etc.

PDM [Product Data Management]

These document management packages are more focused on engineering needs.  They adhere to strict engineering rules.  Files are stored in a vault – security is tantamount.  They have a workflow component so that you can manage a process like change control.  They will generate a PDF upon check in allowing more people to view the file.  They will manage a bill of materials.  Etc.

PLM [Product Lifecycle Management]

PLM software extends the document management features of a PDM solution to the rest of the company.  Each department can manage their documents securely.  They can be customized to meet your specific needs.


PLM software provides control and visibility.  Control allows you to get the right information to the right people at the right time.  Visibility allows you to see the status of a document or a process with the click of a mouse.

If you need help determining your document management path, I can help…


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