Electronic Document Management Systems
According to a recent Xerox study, 46% of companies cite paper intensive-processes as their primary waste of time and resources.
When you look at the millions of documents that get processed every day by thousands of companies and organizations worldwide, the results of the study come as no surprise quite frankly. At this point, the tremendous costs associated with manual document processing are piling up for more and more companies and becoming hard to ignore.
In addition to these baked-in costs, manual paper processing also remains limited in its ability to scale. Sustaining growth is obviously vital for all companies, but especially middle-market organizations or large enterprises.
There’s a catch 22, though. With more growth comes more paperwork that needs to be managed—whether that be in the form of invoices, purchase orders, or other transactional documents.
In a short period of time, backoffice employees that are tasked with manual processing duties can find themselves bogged down by all paperwork. With bandwidth stretched, avoidable human errors and misfilings inevitably increase frequency, adding even more costs, inefficiencies, and risk to your business.
For these reasons, and more, many organizations are moving to an electronic document management system (EDMS). An EDMS is a software that organizes and electronically stores different types of documents for your organization. Most EDMS solutions are designed around the long-term storage of documents that are not frequently changed.
Simply put, an EDMS is an electronic version of a filing cabinet. While an EDMS facilitates easy and rapid retrieval, the systems are not intended to support collaboration or live documentation editing.
To learn more about the best options on the market today, we recommend checking out a comprehensive list of EDMS software. This is a great way to see examples of EDMS systems in action. These lists can be found on several different sites and provide a holistic perspective on what options might serve your business best.
Remember, though, that some companies that are featured negotiate paid partnerships with certain brands, which might muddy the objectivity of some reviews.
EDMS systems are relatively simple, making them even more appealing for companies that rarely have to pay for expensive EDMS software training. If you want to ensure your employees are capable of optimizing the value of your EDMS, several sites online offer straightforward training courses for back office employees.
Simple Document Management Software
Even simple document management software can deliver dramatic results for your organization. The best EDMS software will include features such as access control, security features, and cloud-based backups. These types of features help you easily manage employee authorization across any set of earmarked documents. Furthermore, you can also use an EDMS to keep your documents more secure.
There have been several high-profile network intrusions that have made headlines over the years. And yet, the physical tampering of paper documents stored in filing cabinets remains the easiest and most common form of document fraud. By using an electronic system, you can bolster your security, prevent fraud, and keep your documents safe from unauthorized access.
The beauty of cloud-based data storage is that even if a physical disaster were to impact your data center, your documents would remain safely stored. This digital approach to document management means you always have a backup in the event of a ransomware attack.
If you see the business value in implementing an electronic document management system but need buy-in at the boardroom level to do so, you should also emphasize the scalability that even the most simple EDMS provide.
Instead of growth being held back by piles of paperwork, your processes can be streamlined, costs can be saved, and the morale of your employees can be dramatically improved.
Electronic Document Management System examples
Subject matter experts generally agree that examples are one of the best ways to learn something new. Examples can also be helpful when comparing products that you may be interested in purchasing.
Finding a “best of” list can be one of the best ways to find electronic document management system examples. One software that will likely appear on many “best-of” lists is Microsoft SharePoint.
A simpler EDMS is primarily used for electronic document storage. SharePoint, however, expands on the possibilities of a simple EDMS to provide collaboration features and remote team support. Many organizations continue to rely on SharePoint, which is available as part of Office 365, and its unique features.
Some document management companies offer software solutions that are tailored to specific industries. If you have speciality processing needs, it may be worth looking into these kinds of industry-specific solutions and platforms since they may have exactly what you’re looking for.
An electronic document management system in healthcare, for example, might include several features such as HIPAA-compliant security protocols and user activity tracking (which can be essential for mitigating legal risks to your organization).
For larger organizations, you may need to consider a powerful, enterprise-grade document management system. These robust software solutions are designed to handle documents on a large scale and often include dedicated, round-the-clock support for globally distributed teams.
Types of Electronic Document Management Systems
Although the electronic systems mentioned here are gaining in popularity across a variety of industries, the fact is paper-based document management systems stubbornly persist in specific processes and workflows.
Innovation, however, breeds change. At this point, there is now a wide variety of electronic document management systems with proven value across a number of business applications. With the tide turning, and superior solutions hitting the market, it’s becoming less difficult to find the right EDMS for your particular organization.
The specific features of a certain electronic document management system vary according to classification. Here are just a few of the many types available on the market:
- Content Management Systems
- Workflow Systems
- Records Management Systems
- Enterprise Content Management Systems.
Content management systems focus on storing and organizing all the content needed to maintain your organization’s brand. Here, you’ll often find photographs, logos, and other graphic art as often as you’ll find business documents.
Workflow systems, by contrast, offer solutions that are more focused on the specific needs of your business. Workflow systems rely on automation to streamline your organization’s most inefficient document-based processes.
Each kind of electronic document management system will also provide different document management system reports. These reports can be useful in the way they display document information—and, more specifically, their ability to track any changes that have been made to a document over its lifecycle. Anyone who has had access to or edited a document since its creation can also affect reports.
Not all Document Management Software is Alike
We’ve mentioned some of the many uses cases document management software has and covered the myriad of value-add business benefits.
But note: While the best document management software has the ability to serve as the all-in-one platform capable of meeting your specific enterprise needs, not all DMS platforms are created equal. It’s therefore vital to do your research upfront if you want to enter the market as an informed buyer.
We recommend reading various reviews and speaking to other professionals in your industry. Find out what solutions are working for them.
Several sites provide trustworthy reviews of a variety of platforms.
For example, G2 is a reputable site that features reviews on various software platforms, including many legal document management software solutions.
Although you may be able to find free document management software options out there, it is important to consider that you often get what you pay for—software is no exception. Free software may be limited in functionality, have less accessibility, or require more thorough (and time-consuming) employee training.
Nonetheless, there are some excellent open-source software options available that you can try out to see if transitioning to an electronic document management system is right for you.
What’s the Best Electronic Document Management System?
As with most software, the best electronic document management system is highly subjective— you may get ten different answers if you polled ten different experts.
If you are in an industry that is highly regulated, having comprehensive reporting features and easy retrieval capabilities at your disposal can prove especially useful when demonstrating compliance.
On the other hand, if your back-office team handles lots of transactional documents on a daily basis that just need to be safely stored and rarely retrieved, or altered, a more affordable EDMS with fewer features may be more suitable for your business.
For larger organizations, an enterprise document management system may be ideal. These platforms’ hallmark features include easy search functionality, workflow operations (form creation), collaboration features, and security permissions.
At the end of the day, document management companies will try to develop software around the needs of their customers.
Next Generation Electronic Management Systems with Rossum
Many industries are obligated to still follow the electronic records management standard outlined in ISO standard 15489: 2001. Electronic Records Management (ERM) focuses on ensuring that organization’s maintain available and accessible records at all times—and can call on them when needed, which is the equally vital piece of compliance management.
Records management can be defined as the set of activities required for an organization to systematically control the creation, distribution, use, maintenance, and disposition of recorded information maintained as evidence of business activities and transactions.
In the event of an audit, this recorded information must be immediately presented to the proper authorities.
The best electronic management systems simplify records management. All the electronic document management systems examples cited today are in keeping with the ISO management standards. What’s more, the best electronic file management systems also make your organization more secure.
The only limitation with some of these legacy systems occurs when documents arrive from outside your organization in paper or PDF formats. In these instances, your employees will usually have to manually enter the data in those documents into your new electronic management system. That’s where Rossum can help.
With Rossum’s powerful and accurate AI OCR engine, in just a few simple clicks, you can automatically extract data from thousands of documents. Plus, with our easy-to-use API, you can even build integrations into your existing file management systems and workflow automation tools to streamline your document-based processes even more.