The EDMS or electronic document management system is one of the many pieces of software designed to serve various functions.
Every enterprise relies heavily on a document management system (DMS) to streamline its business processes. Several types of enterprise document management systems are available that offer a wide range of management solutions to business problems.
EDMS is one management system that deals explicitly with electronic or digital documents. In an era where digital records have replaced paper documents, an enterprise must keep the integrity of all such documents intact. The functioning of EDMS is not limited to digital copies; you can also use this system to store paper documents in a scanned form. This system utilizes cloud-based technology to store large volumes of information so 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. But in reality, they both are different from each other in many aspects. Generally, we can use DMS to retain and protect digital information. At the same time, CMS is specifically designed to create and manage 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 a simple document management system (DMS). The significant difference between them is the type of data that they manage. An EDMS deals with structural data in digital files like PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc... In contrast, 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 share your data, find records, set security roles, and scan 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 specific tools that assist you in the following ways:
- It helps you create digital files that you can store in your centralized database.
- It allows 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 in the event of a system malfunction or data corruption.
How does EDMS offer document management solutions to its users?
EDMS use becomes inevitable when an enterprise reaches a tipping point where paper-based operations affect its overall working efficiency. Paper-based processes may work for small enterprises, but using an enterprise document management system becomes necessary for the larger ones. 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 offered by EDMS eliminate manual document maintenance and transform it to automate document maintenance.
Companies that fail to opt for 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, suppose one department uses its document management system while other working groups use personal file folders to archive their documents. In that case, it becomes challenging for a company 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 data 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 organize and manage your data 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 standard 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. The document creation feature is critical in creating new digital documents from paper documents.
- Document indexing – Indexing involves tagging the documents with appropriate terms so they can be searched easily. The document indexing feature will help you improve the quality of your search results so that you can find relevant documents without wasting 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 advanced filters that help you 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 copies.
- Data security – Data security is the feature responsible for securing your cloud-based database from unauthorized access. You can specify only selective persons to access your database based on the scope of work. 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 flows within your organization and how your team members use it for their good.
- Versioning – This feature allows you to track changes made within your data. Data stored in 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 file.
- Customization – All the electronic document management systems available in the market are dissimilar. They are fully customized and designed so that you can make changes in your document management system according to your needs.
- Collaboration and share – Starting from essential imaging, all the document management systems have come a long way to provide customers with features like collaboration and sharing. These state-of-the-art features allow employees of an organization to access information from all over the world instantly.
The idea is to provide every worker needing them with the tools to locate, work with and share content inside and outside the company. We believe that the day-to-day flow of business relies on information, and collaboration on documents is an integral part of this. A secure and easy-to-use archive is needed to do so effectively, 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 to essential details, 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 depends on how accurate the storage protocol documentation is.
Ways of deploying an electronic document management system (EDMS)
One can use three common ways to deploy 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 options is discussed below:
Small enterprises with a limited workload mostly use this method of deploying EDMS. This method requires zero installation, and you can set your database in your server along with your local file systems. This method is 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 primary perk of using a shared server is storing all your information within one centralized location, making it easy for all team members to share and access such information.
This is the most advanced 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. Several service providers are available that help you set up your 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; you only need a browser and internet connection, and you can access your data anytime without using any VPN or software.