In any industry, information is one of the most valuable assets a business can have. Organizations use data and information to make better decisions and evaluate their products and markets. They also use documents for formal business transactions with internal and external stakeholders. However, these business documents can be costly and time-consuming to manage when using manual processes.
Electronic Document Management (EDM) is a system used to record, track, and manage documents. EDM can consist of procedures, documents, policies, instructions, or technical datasheets. These documents are usually associated with a management system, whether quality, production, security, etc.
Benefits of implementing an Electronic Document Management System
A typical document workflow involves several people in different roles to move documents between internal departments and external stakeholders. It involves document creation, document review, approval process, and document delivery. Having a well-planned and efficient movement of documents can significantly speed up business processes and improve their quality.
When there is no standard practice, employees can spend hours searching for documents that are misfiled or lost. One purpose of the document management system is to store documents properly and be able to retrieve files when necessary. An electronic document management system can conveniently pull up any records instantly using word search to index categories.
Paper-based systems can impose the risk of sensitive information leakage or document loss. If unauthorized persons have access to confidential documents, it may result in business or even legal damages. But with the use of EDM, you can control who accesses what documents. EDM also provides users with an audit trail to show when the document was created, accessed, and modified.
It is expensive to manage the sizeable volume of documents generated throughout the business. An electronic document management system provides long term benefits for cost reduction of physical storage space, paper, ink, folders, file cabinets, and filing staff.
Document Version Control
Paper-based systems are challenging because of the lack of document version control in the organization. There are times that we encounter working on a document only to find out that it is not the latest document. But with the EDM, it is easy to find out the document life-cycle and identify the current version. EDM can provide users with document history tracking or check different versions of the document.
Regulatory bodies often require companies to comply with different kinds of data and documents. With a structured EDM, companies document the necessary information and ensure its effectiveness. With the system in place, companies limit the risk of receiving remarks or non-conformity comments during an audit.
EDM improves collaborative writing and communication within the organization. It helps to enforce responsibility and accountability to different parties. Just like collaborators can add notes or sign electronically to documents. Approving parties are alerted whenever there are documents for review or need approval. And since documents are uploaded electronically, it is conveniently available anytime, anywhere.
Automatic Filing and Archiving
One advantage of an EDM versus paper-based system is documents are captured and stored automatically in centralized document storage. These digital storage systems are capable of archiving documents up to a specified year or backup the files in case of disaster recovery.
So what's our stake?
Digitalization can increase productivity and improve the efficiency of every business process. EDM helps structure your organization's procedure, guidelines, policies, etc. Organizations that have put in place such systems can manage their document records efficiently. Thus, they make better business decisions and reduce costs.