To determine the ROI of a document management system, you must calculate the saved man-hours and storage costs and compare the final number against the cost of the document management system and its operation.

Cost of storage for a paper based document management systems:

Number of Filing Cabinets :

Cost Per Square Foot :


Annual Cost =

Formula: Number of filing cabinets x 21 square feet x cost per square foot = annual cost. One 3-foot filing cabinet drawer = 9,000 documents (pages) One 4-drawer filing cabinet = 36,000 documents (pages) One 4-drawer filing cabinets require 21 sq. ft. of storage space

Lost Productivity Cost:

The cost associated with finding and retrieving documents in a paper based document management system.

A key advantage of an electronic document management system is the ability to find and retrieve documents instantly from your desktop PC.

Number of Employees :

Average Annual Wages :


Annual Savings =

Formula: Number of employees x 20% x average annual wages = Annual Savings. Time-management experts estimate that searching for documents requires 20% to 30% of the average employees’ time.

Added cost of scanning and indexing documents for electronic document management systems:

Current workflow:

Number of Documents Per Day :


Employees Required to Maintain Current Workflow =

Archived documents:

Number of Filing Cabinet Drawers :


Days Required to Eliminate Archived Documents =

Formula:Number of filing cabinet drawers x 9,000 divided by 4,000 = days required to eliminate archived documents. Based on current customer influx, a good rule of thumb is 4,000 documents per day of an entry-level employee’s time.


Benefits of Document Management :

  • The ability to efficiently store documents and easily search and retrieve their contents.
  • Secure archive capabilities.
  • Elimination of lost or decaying documents.
  • Manage your business, not your paper.


  • Documents can be scanned, indexed for searching, and stored on any type of electronic media. CD ROMs have over a 40 year shelf life and can store about 15,000 pages; a DVD can hold 100,000 pages. A document that is stored on a computer can be easily located, and once it is found it can be printed, faxed or e-mailed. Imagine storing 10 file cabinets worth of paper documents in your desk drawer, and being able to retrieve any document within 30 seconds!
  • With paper documents, an employee will spend more time looking for a document than they spend reading it. On average, 1 hour of searching results in 20 minutes of reading.
  • 3% of paper documents get misfiled, while 7% get lost completely.
  • An average company spends $25,000 to fill one file cabinet and $2,100 a year to maintain that cabinet.
  • On average, an employee spends 15 minutes filing a document, 1 hour looking for a misfiled document and 3 hours to recreate a document.
  • Of all the paper documents that are handled each day in the average office, 90% are merely shuffled.