Salesforce Document Management System Explained
Document management is a core function of any business. Be it financial results, contracts and agreements, risk evaluation reviews, customer database or any other type, each business has its own specific documentation that is widely used in performing everyday activities. Salesforce is known for offering various third-party tools to incorporate into the CRM that allow integrating your current document products, including Google documents, Microsoft Sharepoint, and others just to name a few. This system’s peculiarity allows you to manage the document system within your company in one place: Salesforce. However, it may happen that these integrations won’t be necessary since Salesforce offers its inbuilt capacities so the document management transition is easier and no separate applications are necessary.
Document management for Salesforce: default tools
In total, there exist five modules designed for document management. As it was already mentioned, there is no need to look for external solutions for handling Salesforce documents since the functionality of the native Salesforce modules covers the needs of your company. Let’s have a quick overview of each one:
1. Files Home
This one provides users with secure storage where one can create, manage, edit, and keep files. From this section, it’s possible to collaborate or store them privately, connect the files with user profiles and groups, or attach them to the Chatter posts.
2. Salesforce CRM content
This module will be useful when working with some corporate materials, including some contracts, official files, and presentations. In terms of access restrictions, you can work on blocking access for all the other roles, and once it’s ready, allow your team members to view it. It’s also possible to share the settings, various reports, and dashboards with your users.
3. Salesforce Knowledge
This feature is extremely popular when managing the knowledge base articles. With its help, you can easily create, edit, and publish new content, make updates to your articles, and archive them when they are no longer relevant. It also allows you to use your knowledge base internally as well as making it accessible for the external users registered on your customer portal or a website before contacting the service support.
4. Document Tab
When it comes to the difference in Salesforce documents vs. files, it worth noting that the Document tab does not relate to the text files but to the web components such as logos, mockups, dotfiles, and other Visualforce elements. What is more, in order to use them, there is no need to separately attach them to any records and manage the files directly from the Salesforce document storage.
As it’s guessable from the name, this feature allows adding the files to the events, emails, profiles of your clients, and other types of records on the pages of your application.
There are certain limits when it comes to the maximum size of objects allowed in each of these document modules. Here they are:
|Files Home||Salesforce CRM Content|
|Salesforce Knowledge||Documents Tab||Attachments|
|2 MB||2 GB|
2 GB (including headers) when uploaded via Chatter REST API
2 GB (including headers) when uploaded via REST API
38 MB when uploaded via SOAP API
10 MB when uploaded via BULK API
10 MB when uploaded via Visualforce
|5 MB||5 MB|
20 KB for a custom app logo
|25 MB for file attachments|
2 GB for feed attachments
Salesforce document management integration tools
If it seems these limitations are too strict and you need to search for the solutions beyond the inbuilt features of the Salesforce Document repository, the following Appexchange applications may come in handy to bypass these restrictions and increase the capacity of your document storage for Salesforce:
Box for Salesforce
This free application allows you to work on files from any device in collaboration with others to make the file work easier. With this option, it’s possible to assign specific files to your team members, leave comments, and easily edit documents. What’s more, it allows you to manage your permissions to ensure that only authorized people within your organization have access to specific files. It also supports the integration of third-party apps such as Chatter and DocuSign right away in the same interface as Box widget.
S3-Link - Amazon S3 Connector (File Storage Solution)
This tool comes in three plans, Basic, Pro, and Unlimited (the last two are paid options), and offers an easy workaround for the limitation on Salesforce files. You can connect all the files to the default Salesforce records, easily search for the files in the same way you do it on your PC and have the ability to generate links for sharing the files from an S3-link with your customers, maintaining all the security measures, setting up the link expiration date and gaining the control over your file access. The Basic plan comes with the possibility to upload files up to 5 GB while Pro and Unlimited packages do not have these restrictions.
Drag, Drop and Upload Salesforce Files
This free Salesforce Content Management application allows you to work with files in all formats, including emails, presentations, and videos, to make the life of your team easier. To activate the application, an API connection will be required. As it follows from its name once you add it, you will be able to drag and drop one or several files at once to Salesforce from anywhere (it also supports uploading files directly from Google Drive).
Document Extractor built for Salesforce platform
This application provides you with a convenient way to store all the documents from any Salesforce modules in SharePoint. Its core advantage is ensuring that the system is lightweight and making the collaboration on files possible, not only for the profiles present in the Salesforce but the users outside of the platform
Final thoughts on Salesforce document management
When it comes to choosing these Salesforce document modules and applications, it’s worth considering your primary requirements as well as the additional features critical in running your business (i.e., integrating Salesforce document scanning, being able to upload big files such as large databases, etc.).
For smaller startups and mid-size businesses, the default functionality would be more than enough. However, if your daily operations are closely related to the need to process and share a lot of files, you may want free or paid products that enable files and documents for Salesforce integration to process the files in a cloud environment different from Salesforce or to seek alternative file transfer protocols to overcome the default limits.
In some specific cases, it may also happen that the application corresponding to all your business objectives does not exist. But it’s not the case when you need to consider switching to a different product or using it separately from your main CRM, as with the proper Salesforce customization, it’s possible to incorporate a document management system of any complexity.