The EDMS or electronic document management system is one of the many pieces of software designed to serve a variety of functions.
Every enterprise relies heavily on some sort of document management system (DMS) to streamline its business processes. At present, several types of enterprise document management systems are available that offer a wide range of management solutions to business problems.
EDMS is one of those management systems that specifically deals with electronic or digital documents. In an era, where digital documents took the place of paper documents, it is necessary that an enterprise must keep the integrity of all such documents intact all the time. The functioning of EDMS is not only limited to digital documents, you can also use this system for the storage of paper documents in a scanned form. This system utilizes cloud-based technology for the storage of large volumes of information in such a way that all the stakeholders can easily access and retrieve relevant pieces of information as and when required.
What is an electronic document management system (EDMS)?
An electronic document management system (EDMS) is a centralized software that one can use for creating, managing, and storing information in various digital forms. Many people consider document management system (DMS) and content management system (CMS) as synonyms terms. But in reality, they both are different from each other in many aspects. Generally, we can use DMS for the retention and protection of digital information while CMS is specifically designed for the creation and management of digital content on various web pages.
Likewise, an electronic document management system (EDMS) also differs from a content management system (CMS) on similar grounds as that of a simple document management system (DMS). The major difference between them is the type of data that they manage. An EDMS deals with structural data in the form of digital files like PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. whereas CMS can handle both structured and unstructured data.
Apart from this, EDMS also allows users to perform multiple functions by using its web-based interface. It helps you in sharing your data, finding records, setting security roles, and scanning digital files and registers. By performing all those functions, an EDMS can significantly increase the efficiency of your workplace by improving the data flow and communication within your organization. Moreover, it also contains certain tools that assist you in the following ways:
- It helps you to create digital files that you can store on your centralized database.
- It helps you to convert your paper documents into digital documents.
- It can organize your documents in a standardized file structure and format.
- You can more conveniently store and access your documents using EDMS.
- It also offers disaster recovery if in case you lose your data.
How EDMS offer document management solutions to its users?
The use of EDMS becomes inevitable when an enterprise reaches a tipping point where paper-based operations affect its overall working efficiency. Paper-based operations may work for small enterprises, but for the larger ones, the use of an enterprise document management system becomes a necessity. Most of the organization’s operations are based on resource-intensive business processes for which the use of EDMS becomes the ideal choice. This is because the management solutions offer by EDMS entirely eliminate manual document maintenance and transform it to automate document maintenance.
Companies that fail to opt to the electronic document management system have to face problems like:
- Unnecessary delays in core business processes.
- Delayed response to the customers.
- Spiraling expenditures in archiving documents.
- Poor flow of information across departments.
- Too much time consumption in searching and retrieving documents.
- High risk of a data breach due to exposed information security.
- More chances of data entry errors due to manual processing.
Therefore, to overcome such problems, it is necessary that IT exerts of a company must look for new management solutions that standardize the information access within an organization including all departments and working groups. For example; if one department is using its own document management system while other working groups are using personal file folders for archiving their documents then it becomes very difficult for a company as a whole to synchronize all the relevant information. In such a scenario, EDMS provides management solutions by setting a corporate standard where first it converts all the information into digital files and then stores it in a cloud-based document management system.
Features of EDMS
An electronic document management system comes with a wide range of features that help you in organizing and managing your data both inside and outside the company. The primary reason for using EDMS is to give open access to your workers so that they can get all the relevant information when required without any ambiguities.
A brief list of some of the common features offered by EDMS along with their description are discussed below:
- Document creation – The primary purpose of using EDMS is to make digital copies of all the files and documents available within an organization. Document creation feature plays a key role in creating new digital documents from paper documents.
- Document indexing – Indexing involves tagging the documents with appropriate terms so that they can be searched easily. The document indexing feature will help you to improve the quality of your search results so that you can find relevant documents without wasting any time.
- Document search – EDMS is equipped with an excellent document search feature that provides you the opportunity to search documents using the file names, keywords, or metadata. You can also use some advanced filters that help you to search images, audio, or video files within no time.
- Document processing – EDMS usually possesses the capabilities of intelligent character recognition and optical character recognition. Utilizing these capabilities, it can easily convert paper-based documents to electronic or digital documents.
- Data security – Data security is the feature that is responsible for securing your cloud-based database from unauthorized access. Based on the scope of work, you can specify only selective persons to access your database. This feature will protect your data from prying eyes.
- Dashboards – This is the feature that relates to the analytics of your management system. This will give you an idea about how data is flowing within your organization and how your team members are using it for their own good.
- Versioning – This feature allows you to track changes made within your data. Data stored in the form of digital files or documents is essential for carrying out the regulatory processes of an organization. Therefore, to secure the originality of the documents, your management system must be good enough to trace every change made within your document.
- Customization – All the electronic document management systems available in the market are not alike. They are fully customized and designed in such a way that you can make changes in your document management system according to your needs.
- Collaboration and share – Starting from basic imaging, all the document management systems have come a long way to provide customers with features like collaboration and share. These state-of-the-art features allow employees of an organization to access information from all over the world in an instant.
The idea is to provide each and every worker that needs them with the tools to locate, work with and share content both inside and outside the company. We believe that the day-to-day flow of business relies on information and collaboration on documents is an important part of this. In order to do so effectively, a secure and easy-to-use archive is needed, something that can bring organizations of all kinds to the table, even if they are decentralized.
Most information systems use metadata to store documents and classify them accordingly. This metadata can provide easy access when it comes to the most essential details, all depending on what the user is searching for. They could search via a keyword or phrase, by date, by topic, or anything else. How valuable an EDMS is to a company often comes down to how accurate the storage protocol documentation is.
Ways of deploying electronic document management system (EDMS)
There are three common ways one can use for deploying an EDMS within an organization. Whatever the way you may choose, it does not affect the working capacity of your document management system. A brief description of some of the ways is discussed below:
This method of deploying EDMS is mostly used by small enterprises where there is a limited workload. This method requires zero installation and you can set your own database in your server along with your local file systems. This method is well compatible with operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
This is one of the best methods of deploying EDMS within your organization. In this method, a document management system is installed onto a shared server that can be easily accessed by all stakeholders and members of an organization. The major perk of using a shared server is that you can store all your information within one centralized location that makes it very easy for all team members to share and access such information.
This is the most advance and secure way of deploying a document management system within your organization. This method requires zero installation and is far ahead in terms of its working efficiency compared to other methods available in the market. At present, several service providers are available that help you to set your own cloud-based management system that offers a wide range of document management solutions to your problems. This method does not require the installation of any additional software, all you need is to have a browser and internet connection and you can access your data anytime without using any VPN or software.