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Document management systems: industry, market, statistics

Published March 14th, 2024

 7 min read

Web technology regularly overturns outdated models. In business, the gatekeepers who once hoarded information for power are replaced. In their place, an ‘information economy’ has flourished, where knowledge and intellectual property are leveraged as ‘information assets’ and are now as prized as physical and human assets. What made it flourish? Document management software.

Di Mace

Director, Content & Communications at Tiny

When Peter Drucker coined the phrase ‘knowledge worker’ in his 1959 book “The Landmarks of Tomorrow”, he opened Pandora’s box. The then radical notion, overturned the accepted practice that knowledge was a scarce commodity, guarded by the few and shared with none. Instead, he advocated that workers should be directed by knowledge, rather than the corporate hierarchy.

From there, gatekeepers gradually (and begrudgingly) gave way to newer, more collaborative work models and access to information became the norm.

However, for knowledge workers to fulfill their transformative role of changing (physical) piles of information into knowledge assets, they needed to easily track, retrieve and access information. That’s when Document Management Systems (DMSs) became crucial.

What is document management?

Simplistically, document management is the use of an electronic filing cabinet to organize and store all digital documents, files and images. Document management improves access to information, speeds its retrieval and structures the storage of digitized material to help avoid information siloing (without jeopardizing security or intellectual property) across a company.

Document management is one name (of the many) for software that covers a broad range of automated file management practices, all aimed at saving businesses time and money.

Automated file management systems and software

Document management’s roots lay in the widely used term, content management, and the automated categorization of content that ultimately forms a Content Management System (CMS). In fact, document management systems offer many of the most rudimentary content management functionalities, including imposing controls and management capabilities onto documents.

No matter the name you use — Document Management, Information Management, Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Records Management, Records and Information Management, or Information Lifecycle Management — all document management software helps businesses organize themselves. It aids tracking and access to critical files, at a moment’s notice.

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What is a document management system (DMS)?

Document Management System (DMS) is a platform that helps businesses create, capture, track and store digitized documents. It’s used to classify, retain and protect electronic information, and it generally also supports document versioning, collaboration, workflows and environmentally sustainable practices.

Origins of document management

The origins of document management began with the introduction of filing cabinets in the late 1800s. Regardless of them being inefficient, cumbersome and space limiting, people continued to use them for the next hundred years.

Computer servers

With the advent of computing in the 1980s and the development of servers, organizations began storing documents electronically in centralized mainframes. This was the beginning of electronic document management systems (EDMS) and finally overturned the curse of office spaces filled with filing cabinets.

Scanners and PCs

Together, the invention of scanners (conversion of paper documents to digital documents) and the rise of PCs (localized document creation and storage) began a slow shift from physical to digital document management. But it took until the 1990s for knowledge workers to be able to operate a user-friendly document management system (DMS) on their own.

Search engines

With thousands of documents digitally scattered, once search engine technology was implemented, it became much easier to find them. Within seconds, knowledge workers could search and find documents within a DMS, in the same way they use Google to search for information or media.

Cloud and smart devices

With smart devices, users can search, access and share documents directly from their mobile or tablet. Similarly, software-as-a-service (SaaS) DMS infrastructure can be pre-built in the Cloud and its always-up-to-date software is available on-demand from anywhere, at any time.

Global document management software market

According to Mordor Intelligence, the global document management system market is estimated at US$7.52 Billion in 2024, and is expected to reach US$14.82 Billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 14.5% during the forecast period (2024-2029). “The rising adoption of cloud-based solutions by end-use organizations is an emerging global document management system market trend. Document archiving and printing solutions based on the cloud enable end-users to securely monitor, organize and retain business-critical documents.”

Key insights from a Mordor Intelligence report on the document management market:

  • “According to Xerox, 46% of employees of small- and medium-sized businesses still waste time on inefficient, paper-related workflows daily.”
  • “In the healthcare sector, the lack of cohesive data across patients amidst the prevalence of electronic health records is further aiding adoption of such tools.”
  • “Ensuring compliance with legal norms and regulations, as well as providing updates, is essential for any financial or credit company. This calls for a bank DMS to support the execution of the regulatory and legal framework.”


Curious about the latest trends in Document Management Systems (DMS)?

Read 5 Document management trends to track

Global enterprise content management (ECM) market

In their 2024-2029 forecast, Mordor Intelligence valued the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Market at US$77.20 Billion in 2024, and expect it to reach US$149.80 Billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 14.18% over the forecast period.

Two key insights include:

  • “Enterprises are increasingly investing in enterprise content management solutions that incorporate regulatory content management capabilities to meet compliance requirements, reduce risks, increase efficiency and ensure the integrity of their content assets. ”
  • “ECM solutions are essential for the healthcare industry to manage electronic health records, streamline document management, ensure compliance, facilitate collaboration, enhance research capabilities, automate workflows, and maintain data security.”

Document management market leaders

When Gartner released its 2021 Magic Quadrant report on the state of the content services platforms, it named Microsoft, Hyland, Box and OpenText as leaders (see image below) within the broad classification of content services platforms.

Microsoft and IBM led the market for document management (or ECM) platforms.

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Document management industry statistics

A startling number of study and research reports have repeatedly shown that without a DMS in place, or some form of knowledge sharing process, workers are wasting time. Big time.

Here’s rundown of some eye-opening document management industry statistics:

The total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed globally is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025 (Statista.com)

According to a Forrester report commissioned by Adobe, 97% of organizations have minimal or no digital document processes, and 72% use a mix of paper-based and digital processes (Forrester, 2020)

The average employee spends 3.6 hours daily searching for information – an increase of one hour from the prior year’s report (Coveo, 2022)

IT employees spend half their day (4.2 hours) looking for relevant information (Coveo, 2022)

Nearly half (45%) of employed Americans think their company’s process for organizing shared documents and information is stuck in the dark ages and needs to modernize (The Harris Poll/Glean 2023)

Employees are so frustrated with having to search across every company app or service for information that 43% would consider leaving a job if there wasn’t an efficient or easy way to access it (The Harris Poll/Glean 2023)

A study by M-Files found that 8 in 10 workers have recreated documents that already existed because they were unable to find it on their corporate network.

More than 4 in 5 (81%) office workers can’t find an important document “when a boss or client has put them in the hot seat. Of those, nearly one-in-three office pros (31%) frequently struggle to find documents they need during a tense moment at work.” (Wakefield Research/Elastic, 2021)

Document management systems save time

As Peter Drucker noted in 1959, the key value that knowledge workers contribute to an organization is their knowledge. But 60+ years later, workers are still wasting a ridiculous amount of time looking for documents to support their work, and share that knowledge.

Document management systems help to eliminate unnecessary time wastage.

Workers become more efficient by being more productive, proficient and better able to work independently. If your document management system is outdated, you’re likely losing money, leaving critical data vulnerable and wasting your team’s valuable time.

None of that spells efficiently, correctly.


Di Mace

Director, Content & Communications

Messaging strategist and copywriter whose passion lies in working with brands like Tiny, that have deep-seated values and embrace the power of their story. She gets a kick out of solving problems, loves learning new things and making stuff, every day. When she’s not thinking through clever copy lines or clarifying value propositions, she’s knitting amazing socks for everyone she knows.

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