Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS)
As we all continue to negotiate our way through the jumble of handwritten notes, receipts, documents, and records that we accumulate each working day, at one time or another, we’ve also thought about turning it into an orderly digital library. Preferably one that sorts, files, and retrieves it all for you.
But the thought of how to get there can be intimidating. It’s not just the money and figuring out how much of your budget it should consume. The challenges of choosing the right system, integrating it with your existing applications, and migrating massive amounts of data can appear to be an almost impossible mountain to climb.
Fortunately, you’re far from alone. Many options are available today; you can find an electronic document management system (EDMS) that will let you enjoy all the benefits of going digital with minimal cost and hassle.
What is an electronic document management system (EDMS)?
EDM systems are a collection of technologies that work together to provide a comprehensive solution for managing the creation, capture, indexing, storage, retrieval, and disposition of records and information. In effect, it digitizes all the analog document creation and management tools we’re already familiar with and improves upon them.
EDMS features vary, and you might not need them all for your business.
Essential features of an electronic document management system (EDMS)
Integration with existing systems – Many of today’s electronic document systems easily integrate with current systems, such as content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and human resources (HR) software. If you use any of these and plan on keeping them, the first question that you may want to ask is about integration capabilities.
Pricing and storage that fit your business – Today’s DM systems offer a range of features, storage, and pricing for e-filing solutions is broad enough to ensure a solution for businesses of any type and size. Most EDMS solutions include tiered pricing based on storage capacity, features, and customer support levels.
Advanced Scanning and Filing Capabilities – EDMS systems do the heavy lifting of digital document creation and filing for you, providing features such as:
•Fast, high-volume scanning of documents and advanced character recognition software
• Converting digital documents to your optimal file type for storage.
• The automatic tagging of documents with metadata such as date of creation, access and revision dates, document type, origin, and keywords for easy sorting and retrieval.
• Document naming and indexing that follows your existing filing structure.
• Provisions for electronic signatures, watermarks, and other attributes.
Sharing and access – Online document control systems should make it easy for employees to collaborate and for administrators to control access to information. Look for a system that lets you:
• Share documents easily among internal (team members) and external (vendors or suppliers) users.
• Assign permissions levels such as read-only, editor, and owner to prevent accidental sharing with the wrong people.
• Hide secure files from view.
Automated workflows – EDM systems can simplify and automate many aspects of document management workflow. The most efficient EDM systems allow you to:
• Automatically forward documents to users for review and release.
• Notify users of all changes and approvals.
• Automatically manages documents according to established retention schedules to ensure compliance.
• Lets you create custom workflows to automate your internal business processes.
Mobile access – With today’s increasingly mobile or remote workforce, an electronic document control system can also increase employee productivity by giving them:
• Real-time access to your on-premises document repository from any device.
• Ability to create, search, and download content via mobile devices.
• Compatibility with a range of phones and tablets.
Easy access to your documents and data reduces staff time spent chasing and handling paper documents. It also ensures that employees don’t waste time maintaining redundant copies. All those hours saved managing paper files add to greater productivity and efficiency in your business.
Investing in an EDMS now positions your business for unlimited growth as more transactions to migrate to a digital environment.