The future of business processes is digital, and this includes document management. That’s why most businesses turn to an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS). With this system, you deal less with paper. Capturing, processing, storing, indexing, tracking, and accessing all your documents occurs from an organized digital library.
However, shifting from paper to an EDMS might be a leap, not necessarily in terms of initial investment but the challenge of understanding how the digital system works and its implementation. This article will provide you with essential information about these systems.
Simply put, an EDMS is a software setup that unifies all business documents, whether physical or digital, and stores them in one place. This system aims to provide quick access to your documents and data. This way, your employees don’t have to waste time chasing and handling paper documents.
In addition, documents are accessible in real-time, making it possible to collaborate even when in different locations. Also, an EDMS eliminates security threats that might result from having documents scattered in multiple systems.
Key Components of an Electronic Document Management System
An EDMS comprises several tools that work together to facilitate efficient capturing, processing, storage, and retrieval of documents. Some of the tools include:
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
With OCR, you can convert any document, such as scanned paper documents, PDFs, or images, into searchable text. Usually, the process begins by capturing a document through a scanner or digital camera. Afterwards, the tool processes it to produce an editable digital format.
Document Image Processing (DIP)
As the name suggests, DIP helps to capture and store quality images of physical documents. Firstly, the physical document must be scanned to make a digital image. From here, DIP goes over the image to improve clarity and correct skewing. If the document is large, DIP helps with lossless compression, which optimizes storage space.
Intelligent Handwriting Recognition (IHR)
An EDMS would be incomplete without a handwriting recognition feature. This is because a business deals with tons of handwritten documents from forms, notes, surveys, and customer feedback. Fortunately, an EDMS has an IHR feature that converts handwritten text to digital text that’s editable and searchable.
Records Management (RM)
Record management in an EDMS is invaluable. It ensures proper document organization throughout their lifecycle. After creating documents, the RM classifies them based on content, purpose, or importance. This enables you to retrieve the document fast.
The tool also ensures secure storage of documents to prevent loss, damage, and unauthorized access. Lastly, it helps to safely archive and dispose of files once they reach the end of their lifecycle.
Phases of Implementing EDMS
When it comes to an EDMS, there’s no one-size-fits-all because businesses differ in size and processes. For example, electronic document management needs for a small company will differ from those of a large multi-national business. As such, implementing an EDMS requires careful consideration to ensure it serves specific business needs.
Here are the phases of implementing an EDMS:
The Buying Phase
The buying phase of an EDMS is always taxing and might take time. This is because the market has many options, and you need to evaluate several to find one that will satisfy your business needs.
However, doing some preparations beforehand can make the process less stressful. Start by evaluating your business needs. This information goes a long way in helping you streamline your options. Also, remember to consider the future needs of your business. An ideal EDMS should be scalable without costing the company more money.
The other important element is to research the vendors. Ensure the vendor you select has a track record of offering reliable systems. If you settle for any vendor, you might end up with a faulty system that breaks down occasionally or is not suited to your needs.
Once you select your desired EDMS, request a product demo from your vendor. It’ll help you see the EDMS in action and understand its features.
The Installation and Set-Up Phase
How long an EDMS installation takes depends mostly on the size and business specifications. For instance, smaller companies with straightforward document management may complete the installation process faster than larger enterprises with intricate workflows and many documents.
Each business has a unique way of preparing and managing documents, and this should not change by shifting to an EDMS. After installation, your service provider should customize the system’s settings, such as layouts, naming conventions, version control, and defining user roles and permissions. Remember, the more an EDMS can meet your specific needs, the sooner you’ll get your return on investment.
When everyone on board knows how to use the EDMS properly, issues will become increasingly infrequent. So, during this phase, training the employee is also paramount.
The Migration Phase
After the setup process, you’ll have to migrate your data from the old system to the EDMS. Typically, a business stores dozens of files, some of which are relevant and some which are not. As such, it’s necessary to sort your documents to decide what makes its way into the new system.
Before moving all your data and documents, plan a sample migration with a subset of records. Doing this helps you spot potential problems in the system and also ensures data migration is accurate.
If, after testing, you find that the system is working as expected, you can migrate the rest of your documents. Once the process is complete, conduct a thorough validation and encourage employees to report any discrepancies. This will help improve the EDMS to serve you better.
How a Business Benefits From an Electronic Document Management System
Transitioning to an EDMS can feel a little overwhelming. However, it pays off in a number of ways.
Firstly, it saves on costs by reducing printing or eliminating it entirely. You’ll pay less buying papers, ink, and office printers. In addition, you’ll need less physical storage space for hard copies and printing machinery. This, in turn, helps reduce rent expenses.
Secondly, an EDMS increases productivity. Your employees won’t have to waste time looking for documents. Using the EDMS search function, they can retrieve any document quickly and return to work.
Finally, an EDMS ensures your documents are secure. The system has access control features that give document access only to authorized persons. Also, its backup feature makes it possible to restore documents after loss.
Start Embracing the Paperless Dream
Although paper is still standard in document systems, the future is in digital document management. An EDMS enables you to live and experience the paperless dream beforehand. With it, you can manage your documents in a more personalized and secure way from a centralized location.
If you’re ready to implement an EDMS in your business, Buckmaster Office Solutions can help. Our leading technology will help you get a document management system to improve your business efficiency and cut costs. Contact us today if you’re in Sacramento to learn about your options.