Benefits of EDMS (Electronic Document Management Systems)

Benefits of EDMS

Many businesses today still struggle in a state of document anarchy that saps energy, resources, and valuable work hours from their day. This condition is caused by using antiquated document storage systems that require significant labor while being plagued with the dangers of lost or damaged documents. For many organizations, this can interfere with their ability to meet their industry’s control, issuance, and document retention requirements, potentially with costly repercussions. Thankfully, the digital revolution has brought answers that can secure your most important documents, eliminate the risk of damage or loss, and eliminate the wasted hours spent looking for the right one. 

Who needs an EDMS?

Record Nations can connect your organization with an EDMS provider

Any organization that still relies on a paper document management system or retains documents on individual computers, hard drives, and thumb drives needs an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS). Today, various options exist for transitioning your company to digital documents that can be managed on-site or in a cloud-based format. 

Electronic Document Management Systems offer the benefits of control, security, and structured data filing capabilities, smoothing every element of working with important documentation. The simplest example of a cloud-based digital management system is Google Drive. It’s often the first step a small business takes as it grows. However, it lacks many features that make an EDMS an agile, versatile, and powerful system that can adapt to your company’s growing needs.

Important elements of a fully-featured Electronic Document Management System include:

  • User authentication when creating or accessing documents
  • Version control that tracks changes in stored documents
  • Document storage management that makes finding the needed document quick and easy
  • Document security and protection that prevents damage or loss to documents
  • Configurable requirements for governing the archival or deletion of old documents

The advantages of having an EDMS automate and manage these processes are that you’ll never waste hours looking for a crucial document or fear losing or damaging important papers.

A Full Exploration of The Benefits of an EDMS

Frictionless Document Retrieval

One of the biggest time wasters associated with paper documents is locating a specific file. This wasted time is almost eliminated with an EDMS, as documents can be retrieved with a simple search. Whether you need a legal document, research information, customer invoices, or medical records, they’re available with just a few keystrokes.

Version Control

Tracking changes and restoring previous document versions ensures that information cannot be accidentally lost or destroyed. Questions about the evolution of content and who was responsible for each change are all available thanks to version control.

Improving Workflow

Paper documents create multiple bottlenecks in your organization’s workflow. You must create, store, retrieve, transport paper to the individuals who need them, or copy then so everyone who needs them can have them. This creates multiple opportunities for security incidents, damage, loss, and significant delays as the document moves around. An EDMS makes the document immediately available to all authorized parties across multiple locations and even on the go with mobile access.

Regulatory Compliance

An EDMS makes it easy to accommodate regulations governing the creation, storage, management, and privacy of documents. A properly designed and managed EDMS will help streamline these processes and reduce risks of violating regulations such as HIPAA, HITECH, and more.

Document Security

Unlock the benefits of an EDMS through Record Nations

Physical document systems create multiple opportunities for confidential information to find its way into unauthorized hands. Product formulas, employee’s personal information, confidential business information, and more are at risk of exposure when retained on physical documents. An EDMS gatekeeps access to these documents by preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing them. This helps avoid potential legal and fiscal consequences for your organization.

Document Restoration

Physical documents can be among the most devastating and costly losses when fires or natural disasters impact your organization. When you convert to an EDMS, you can rest easy that your documents are securely stored and safe from damage or loss from these events. 

Cost Reduction

One of the hidden business costs is paper, toner, and related office equipment, such as pens, folders, filing cabinets, and ink. Large organizations often have departments dedicated to storing, maintaining, and retrieving these documents. Switching to an EDMS can eliminate significant overhead regarding equipment, materials, and now obsolete positions.

Enhanced Competitiveness

These benefits improve the efficiency and quality of service you can provide your customers. Valuable work hours can be spent on existing and new clients and projects; reclaimed office space allows expansion or moving to a smaller location. At the same time, improved compliance with document regulations reduces the risk of costly fines.

How Document Management Systems Work For Your Business

The above benefits are just the start of what an Electronic Document Management System can bring to your organization. Once you invest in an EDMS, you’ll discover how the following features improve your company’s workflow in numerous ways.

Clear Organization Of Documents

Record Nations DMS services help you easily organize your documents

Even when filed “properly,” paper documents can find their way into places that make them difficult to find. Even electronic files can become problematic without an EDMS, as they’re spread across multiple computers, servers, or storage facilities. Electronic Document Management Systems ensure that your documents are all centralized in a single location while still being sorted into designated folders.

Document Classification Standards

A powerful tool that comes with these systems is document classification and indexing. Your files will be marked with tags and keywords that clarify their meaning. These tags can include dates, document types, client names, and anything else you need to help facilitate logical search and retrieval of these files.

Documentation Authentication and Creation Protocols

Restricting who can create, access, and interact with various document types helps eliminate confusion and streamline procedures. Document templates can be integrated into your EDMS to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Workflow Facilitation Tools

Documents often have to be reviewed, approved, or updated by various departments throughout their lifecycle. These systems can create automated workflows that ensure every document gets to the next step without the opportunity for loss, delay, or missed steps. Automated alerts ensure that the relevant staff members know the document requires their attention.

Policy and Procedure Enforcement For Document Archival and Disposal

The system’s administrators can define the company standard steps for managing old documents. This ensures that documents at the end of their lifecycle are processed properly, avoiding conflicts with storage and disposal regulations.

Versatile Access Protocols

Administrators can strictly define access levels throughout the system. Documents can be locked to certain individuals or departments, and fine-grained permissions determine rights to view, edit, or destroy them.

Important Questions About Moving To An EDMS

1. Should I handle this process internally?

There are several DIY approaches available for incorporating an EDMS in your organization. These include utilizing third-party, out-of-the-box EDMS solutions that require your team to configure, organize, and maintain them. Less structured options are available through services like Google Drive and DropBox. While these can often be set up quickly and are available at little to no cost when starting, they aren’t designed to scale easily. Further, these services are not feature-rich and are unlikely to meet your company’s long-term needs. They are also unreliable for handling technical documentation and maintaining the security of sensitive or confidential information.

2. Should I Use An On-Site Or Cloud-Based Solution?

When using a third-party system for document management, you’ll often benefit from configurable systems that offer security and sophisticated features that ease many worries. However, you still need to decide whether to go with an on-site or cloud-based SaaS option. It’s important to know that installing and maintaining on-site servers can be costly in terms of required space, power requirements, and service costs. Further, if your location experiences a fire, flood, or other natural disaster, your server and its documents are vulnerable to loss. Cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) servers are protected in such cases. They are meticulous about maintaining backups of your information if they suffer similar problems, providing multiple layers of protection without the associated maintenance and space costs.

3. Does Your Organization Need Document Control, Management, Or Both?

The ability to easily store, update, track, and quickly share documents are all elements of Document Management. Document Control, on the other hand, focuses on security hierarchies, access protocols, version governance, issuance protocol, and the capabilities to review, approve, and audit these documents effectively. Every organization has different requirements in these areas. It’s important to know what yours requires so you can discuss it when seeking an EDMS.

4. How Scalable Do You Need Your EDMS To Be?

Scalability goes beyond simply expanding the amount of space you have available. If your organization has complex requirements for handling documents, you must have these tools available. These needs change as your company grows. At first, you may only need a secure space to store documents where your employees can collaborate. As your success grows, you may need your EDMS to provide Quality Management features and other tools. Your choice of EDMS should take both the current and future considerations of your company in mind.

5. What Is Your Funding Limit For An EDMS?

As with all business decisions, funding will be a primary driver of which direction you choose. Considering your company’s long-term needs during your first steps is important. While DropBox and OneDrive offer an inexpensive entry-level service, their upgrades can be an expensive leap. Further, if you find that they no longer meet your needs, moving to a new service can be costly in terms of time and lost productivity. This time is compounded by the need to set up all the internal systems, security protocols, and other functions available rather than having done so as part of your company’s growth.

Investing in an Electronic Document Management System should not be taken lightly. Record Nations provides a network of trusted providers that can help you take these critical first steps in determining the appropriate direction for your company. Take your first step to experiencing the benefits of streamlined document management and control by calling for a consultation at (866) 385-3706. You can also fill out our contact form to have one of our team members contact you.

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