How much space is required for an Electronic Document Management System?

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We’re frequently asked by customers to define the amount of space required for an Electronic Document Management System.

When evaluating the benefits of electronic document management vs. manual storage of documents, one of the biggest differences is the amount of storage space required.

It is obvious that the amount of physical storage space required for digital storage is negligible in comparison to the requirements for manual storage.  But how do we measure the amount of storage required for digital systems?

 To begin with, we need a clear understanding of how digital ‘space’ is measured and consumed.

Due to the popularity of smartphones, most people understand how much memory (or space) they have available on their devices for songs, documents, photos and videos.  Through using our devices, we get an idea of which file formats consume the most space.  We can also better visualize space consumption – for example, an hour long video (high definition) may take up about a Gigabyte of space.

A little history

When Personal Computers first became mainstream, most programs only took up a couple of hundred kilobytes. Back then systems were very basic.  For example, screens were monochrome (usually green text on black screens), with very low resolution and there was only one font.  So Kilobytes of information seemed like quite a lot. Storage space was, relatively speaking, an expensive resource. Only the coolest IT geeks spoke in Megabytes. 

Back to the present

 Today, with our high definition retina displays, sophisticated design packages and hunger for video resources we talk in Gigabytes and Terabytes and the cool kids are already talking Petabytes.

As mentioned before, storage was relatively costly in the past, but as technology has advanced, and demand has increased, so the cost of storage has significantly decreased.

So, how much is a Petabyte? We liked the Infographic from

Moving into the future

If you are interested to learn what comes after the Petabyte, and to see all the calculations that will help you better visualize digital storage, please see this article on How big is a petabyte, exabyte, zettabyte or a yottabyte? 

So, to answer the original question, about the amount of space required for a Document Management System, we’d have to ask you “how long is a piece of string?”

 We would consult with you to find out what types of documents you would require to store, the number of transactions you expect in a given period of time, as well as complexity of the image, colour, content and page size.  

It is important to remember that when archiving documents, intense compression is used which also reduces the amount of space taken by each document.

Interested to learn more?  Contact us and we’ll be happy to share our knowledge with you.