Remember the days when companies of all sizes dedicated entire rooms to house filing cabinets full of scattered hardcopy documents? Thankfully, the digital age has ensured that those days are things of the past for most organizations. Now, scanning is used to keep your business’s data organized while remaining flexible and accessible to entire teams no matter where they work. But what do you do with those files once you’ve scanned them? And, more importantly, how do you allow all of your employees to have immediate access to files without sacrificing security?

Luckily, a dedicated solution is available to help companies like yours better manage their business data to ensure productivity and streamline workflows: an electronic document management system (EDMS). This article is designed to help explain EDMS, provide the key features to look for, and outline the benefits that are reaped after adding an EDMS to your business.

What is an EDMS?

Before we can discuss key benefits and features of an EDMS, it’s important to define what one is and why so many companies have switched to this method of record-keeping. An EDMS is essentially a computer software application that allows an organization’s documents to be stored, kept secure, and retrieved in an easy-to-use format. For many industries, having a system that does all this is the lifeblood of their business, maintaining compliance regulations and streamlining workflows. Without one, they’d be stuck in the dark ages with those massively heavy filing cabinets full of paper documents, bottlenecking business processes and hindering efficiency.

But EDMS programs provide much more than just the ability to store documents securely. By having a quality EDMS solution in place, companies are able to access files from virtually anywhere. In a time when working from home is more commonplace than ever before and the ability to work globally is vital, this system ensures workflows are maintained. Delving into common features of EDMS will provide further insight into the capabilities of an EDMS solution.

What Key Features Should Be Included in an EDMS?

It is important to note that not all EDMS solutions are alike. This is why it is critical to check for key features designed for your niche or industry and make your final decision based on your needs. Partnering with a trusted, valued EDMS provider will help you with your decision. However, a few of the most common functionalities included in an EDMS solution include the following:

  • Document Storage: Your EDMS should have the capability to handle thousands of files with no issue. It’s essential to consider scalability with your EDMS provider, where you aren’t just thinking about your current business data, but rather consider a system that can handle the growth of your business.
  • Data and Process Automation: An EDMS can be used to automate business processes by reviewing data for relevant information and routing files to the appropriate department or employees.
  • Permission Granting and Gating. It isn’t always necessary for all of your employees to access every file on your system. A quality EDMS solution allows you to choose who has access to individual documents based on user permissions. Setting authorized users to specific folders is easy and encouraged with EDMS. This is especially important if you’re dealing with sensitive Accounts Payable or HR information, such as social security numbers, bank information, and more.
  • Information Capturing: If you’ve ever uploaded a handwritten form and had information populate automatically on your file, you are familiar with information capturing. While this is not always vital in every industry, it is certainly a helpful feature.
  • Intuitive Structuring and Indexing: Your team doesn’t have time to look to see where a file went after it was added to your shared data network. This feature helps keep things organized within a system that everyone on your team understands.
  • Document Search and Retrieval: All quality EDMS programs feature the ability to search for specific files based on individual parameters, ensuring easy access to data and ultimate efficiency.
  • Collaboration and Notation: Communication is important when multiple people work on the same file. Quality EDMS systems include the ability to leave notes or make changes as a team.
  • Versioning: This is a handy feature if you regularly make changes to your documents. By knowing what version you’re working on, you can tell if it is the most recent one or not.
  • Cybersecurity: Your company doesn’t want information falling into the wrong hands. A top-notch EDMS should meet or exceed all standards for cybersecurity to protect against malicious attacks.

How Can An EDMS Solution Help Your Business?

There are numerous benefits to adding or upgrading an EDMS. Here are a few of the most common to consider.

  • Save Time and Money: Did you know that companies spend $120 on average in employee time searching for a single misfiled document? That time adds up over the course of a year and is ultimately cost-prohibitive to your business. An EDMS solution ensures you never misplace a file again. Moreover, the automation features presented by an EDMS system streamlines your workflows, increases productivity, and saves your company time and money.
  • Lessened Need for Commercial Real Estate Space: Bulky file cabinets take up office space and, when necessary, require storage units to house these files, significantly impacting your bottom line. With an EDMS, your footprint for files is digital, eliminating the need for and costs associated with hardcopy file organization systems.
  • Better Overall Adherence to Systems: EDMS programs are designed to make it easy for your employees to follow specific, predetermined naming conventions and ensure the paperwork process is handled appropriately. New and tenured employees alike can quickly find the documents they need to complete their required tasks.
  • Ability to Connect from Anywhere: With an EDMS, your local office here in Sacramento can efficiently send documents to your San Francisco office, to an employee working from home, or to a client in Tokyo. Implementing a quality electronic document management system ensures everyone has access to your business data when and how they need it.
  • Better Document Security and Business Continuity: When working with hardcopy files, there is risk that a fire, flood, or natural disaster could destroy your business documents. Instead, an EDMS is stored in the cloud and backed up, keeping files secure and safe no matter what happens within your physical location.

And that’s just the start of why having an entire system built around electronic document management and storage is ideal for most businesses.

Finding the Right EDMS for Your Needs

Now that you know why your business needs an EDMS solution and the benefits of adding one, it is time to find the right solution for your company. Working with an EDMS provider can help guide your decision making to ensure you find a system that best suits your business needs, goals, and budget. If you are in the Sacramento area and need assistance, Buckmaster Office Solutions can help! We will facilitate the entire process for you—from scanning existing hardcopy documents to indexing data to setting user permissions—to ensure a smooth transition. Contact us today to get started!