An Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) is a collection of technologies including imaging, document management and workflow processing used to create, capture, distribute, review, maintain, store, organise, index, retrieve and dispose information assets. It can offer significant cost savings and workflow improvement opportunities. The major benefits for having an EDMS are outlined below:
- Improved Workflow – For an enterprise extending to multiple locations in different geographies, an EDMS allows instant access to documents that would normally require time to be transferred from one location to the other either via mail or fax. Unlike paper-based processes, the status of a document within an electronic workflow can be easily queried and determined.
- Cost Reduction – The major hidden costs in a paper-based workflow environment can be attributed to managing the sizeable volume of documents generated in the course of day to day business activities. In a paper-based environment, substantial time is required for employees to retrieve a paper file, perform an action with it, and then re-archive the file. Thousands of hours are spent each year on this activity resulting in hidden costs to the business. Furthermore, paper, ink, file folders, filing cabinets, filing staff, and other requirements too cost money. Even in an electronic system, you need computers, storage media, and system-administration staff. These costs can be substantially reduced by utilising an electronic system that enables employees to locate and archive documents within seconds.
- Significant Reduction of Lost Documents – An EDMS greatly reduces the chance of a document being lost permanently. Unlike paper-based environments, electronic documents within an EDMS are backed up on a regular basis and an accidentally deleted document can be retrieved within minutes from a backup media.
- Better Regulatory Compliance – Logging records for an EDMS provide important information that can be used for auditing purposes. Furthermore, an EDMS can be configured and business practices adjusted to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements regarding storage, access and retention of documents.
- Search Utilities – Documents stored electronically can be accessed much more rapidly through electronic searches than paper documents can from physical searches. More flexibility exists for electronic searches (e.g. by keyword, date, department, etc.).
- Better Physical Space Utilisation – An enterprise-wide document management system enables better utilisation of office space previously allocated to file storage.
- Access to the latest information – With efficient scanning and indexing capabilities an EDMS almost guarantees that files will be current and up-to-date. An EDMS can also provide document and record version control.
- Lower Printing Costs – An EDMS reduces the number of physical copies required for paper-based documents. Backups of important documents can be done electronically rather than using photocopiers and printers, thereby reducing paper and printing costs.
- Better Security – An EDMS can provide several layers of security and a much more flexible security model than that associated with paper-based environments. For example, an EDMS can encrypt the document content for very sensitive data, provide multiple levels of password-protected access to groups and individuals, and maintain audit trails that show who accessed and updated documents.
- Disaster Recovery – An EDMS offers much greater flexibility and ease for protecting important documents from disasters such as fires, floods or break-ins. Electronic copies can be made and stored at several locations on and off campus and complete recovery from a major disaster, such as fire, can be a matter of days if proper disaster recovery infrastructure and procedures are in place.
Return to EDM Solutions.