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Document Management vs. Content Management: How Are They Different?

In this digital era, enterprises are in search of different ways to streamline their business processes. They adopt different AI-driven solutions or applications to automate their operations. There are many content management solutions available, but this process becomes challenging when the boundaries between these solutions are not clear and well-defined.

For example, businesses look for cost-effective and efficient methods to document, organize, share and capture digital data. However, people mostly get confused between content management and document management software when it comes to business information management. These terms are often used interchangeably. Some vendors call their solutions ‘Content Management system’ while others claim it as ‘Document Management’ system.

Although there are a few similarities between the two, there are certain features that set them apart.

What Is a Content Management System?

Content management system creates and manages digital content. It provides a set of different tools enabling convenient collaboration in the workplace by integrating digital asset management with document management.

What Is a Document Management System?

A document management system helps store, capture, and analyze a massive amount of data in a single platform. It streamlines all the processes that assist in managing files digitally. Additionally, the system acts as a centralized database, making it easy to locate information and documents.

There are both similarities and differences between Content Management and Document Management systems. Let’s see how these two overlap each other.

Similarities Between CMS And DMS

A content management and document management solution have a few things in common:

A Centralized Data Storage

Both solutions offer a centralized database where you can store all the information related to your business, staff, and other confidential data. The documents are easy to access and locate. Moreover, you can restrict the database access to individual actions and roles.

Advanced Security

The two systems provide high-level security to safeguard your confidential business information. It prevents any unauthorized access to the system. Also, they preserve your data. It means if you delete your files accidentally, you can easily retrieve them back. Cloud-based technology offers an automatic backup for your data.

SaaS-Based Tech

Software as a Service technology or SaaS-based tech is a way of software delivery hosted on third-party servers and makes them accessible to users over the internet.

Both CMS and DMS are hosted on a third-party server, storing all the data safely in the cloud. You can access this data from any device using a secure internet connection.

Differences Between CMS & DMS

Content Management and Document Management systems have common functionalities, but the main difference lies in the structure of the data.

The purpose of the document management system is to handle data contained in structured files and documents, such as Word, Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, and other famous formats. The primary goal of this system is to digitize these files and manage as well as track the new documents throughout their lifecycle. Along with that, it keeps a record of the files as they are written and rewritten.

Besides, document management software includes some advanced scanning and imaging capabilities, which are not present in most content management software. For instance, a document management system provides optical character recognition, handprint character recognition, and optical mark recognition to scan hard copies.            

Contrary to that, a content management system manages different types of structured and unstructured electronic data. In addition to all types of files a document management system manages, CMS manages a broader range of digital assets. Some examples are web content, Flash, video content, multimedia files, audio content, and raw data collected from different third-party internet sources.

Fundamental Purpose

The primary purpose of DMS is to maintain regulatory compliance and control the lifecycle of documents. It acts as a digital filing cabinet, and people often call it an e-cabinet filing system. The core function of this software is to manage entities as a whole. Some of its core features are indexing, auditing, workflow, and versioning.

Whereas CMS has more functions other than storing and managing documents and files of an organization. It contains strategies, tools, and processes used to store, manage, capture, and retain content.

You can say that document management is a subcategory of content management. Without DMS managing documents, a content management system can’t work properly.


These two systems complement each other. They have some clear functionality distinctions that are quite useful for your organization if you use them correctly. One crucial thing is that the functionality of CMS and DMS looks similar but on a small scale. It is because small businesses don’t have complex document and content management needs.

However, when you are dealing at an enterprise level, CMS is the best solution as it manages and organizes a comparatively huge amount of structured and unstructured data. Otherwise, both systems minimize costs by streamlining internal procedures and going paperless.

So, consider the differences while choosing the right solution for your organization. You can also consult a vendor like Xavor Corporation. Experts at Xavor will help you choose the best software by analyzing your business requirements along helping you generate maximum benefit from it.

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