Capturing Of Information By EDMS. An In-Depth Look At Features That Matter
The best system is one that meets the needs of the operating environment
Different companies have different needs when it comes to the process of capturing information into an EDMS (Electronic Document Management System). Some companies may only have to deal with electronic documents such as PDF, text, spreadsheet, and presentations while others require the EDMS handled high-resolution scans from microfilm scanners or specialized files such as AutoCAD.
The best EDMS is not the most popular one or the one with the most features. It is the one that best meets the needs of the organization. In some cases, it is the availability of minor functions (E.g., Auto removal of blank pages after scanning) that decides the winning product.
Let us dive into the features and functions relating to how EDMS capture information.
With what kind of scanner does the EDMS connect?
- Does it only work with specific brands?
- Does it need an advanced scanner with drivers that can integrate with the EDMS?
- What kinds of connections are supported? E.g., USB or wireless.
- Most importantly, will it work with the exact setup you have in the office to provide a fast and smooth scanning workflow?
- Can you scan directly into the EDMS from the scanner? Can we set up a process flow such that documents can be scanned and filed directly to the relevant folder without the need for manual interventions again from the desktop?
- Will the system be able to perform simple image enhancement?
- What kind of enhancement does it do? The improvement includes noise removal, rotation, contrast adjustment, and more.
- Can I turn image enhancement off?
- Can I set the default enhancement to apply for all future scans?
- Do we need these features?
OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
OCR is the ability of the EDMS to extract text found in images. Example: when we scan an invoice into the system, an EDMS with OCR functionality will be able to obtain the invoice number and company name from the image of the invoice, and index the invoice number together with the image. In the future, users can find the invoice in the EDMS by merely searching for the invoice number or the company name.
- Does the EDM have OCR functionality built-in? Or do I have to depend on the OCR capability of the scanner/ copier machine? Advance scanner or copier machines can embed text files into the pdf during the scanning process.
- How proficient is the OCR function? (If OCR is a vital function, it is crucial that you test the system with the actual documents that your office encounter every day. Only buy the system if the OCR can deliver accurate results.
- Is it able to decipher text from low-resolution images?
- What is the minimum resolution it needs?
- Can we specify the specific area on the forms to perform OCR? E.g., Invoice number and date.
Other than OCR, does it has barcode or Optical Mark Recognition?
- Will the DMS be able to handle metadata generated from the scanning, or will it be lost?
The naming convention of scanned documents
- Can we specify the naming convention of the file names? E.g. [user]-[date]-[time]
Adding pages to existing documents
- Can we scan additional pages into existing documents?
- How will the EDMS handle it? Will it keep a copy of the old file before adding the new pages? Then allow the old data to be retrievable by users when they check version history?
Removal of blank pages
- Will the system be able to remove blank pages automatically?
- Can I turn this function off if need be?
- Can I set a default behavior so that users do not need to keep revisiting this setting?
Native Format or PDF
- When we upload files into the document management system, is the file preserved in its native format, e.g., doc, mp4, Autocad, xls & ppt or will it undergo conversion?
- Can the system encode the file with the process of Bates Stamping? Does it support the Bates Stamping format and attach the information to the file so we can use it for future document search.
Identification of fixed patterns
- Is the system able to identify fixed patterns, e.g., IC number alphabet followed by seven digits and another alphabet without the ID having to appear in the same position?
Recognition of document type
Is the system able to identify what form it is filing, e.g., purchase requisition, leave form, etc.?
Some EDMS can do this by making sense of the data on the form or by recognizing the standard template form.
Creation of new folders during import
- For the convenience of users, Can the user create folders or send a request for the folder to be created from the import dialogue?
Integration with Windows Explorer and My Computer
- Can users send a document into the EDM directly from within Windows Explorer or My Computer?
Ease of upload
- What is the upload process? Is it a form with minimal fields or simple drag and drop (Dropbox style?). Both are fine what is essential is that the process should be easy and convenient for users.
MS Office Integration
- Can I upload a document from within MS office programs such as MS Word, Powerpoint, and excel?
- Are there plugins that support this.
- Is the DMS able to extract snippets of texts from the document to automatically fill in metadata and document title in the event the user does not specify it?
- Other than English, what language can the system handle?
- Can we increase or expand via language packs?
- Is there Unicode support to handle non-English language?
Scheduled batch upload
- Can the upload to repository be scheduled? E.g., in the evening, So that valuable computer resources are not taken up.
- Does the DMS support email metadata, and will these metadata be extracted upon upload or capture?
Integration with MS outlook
- Can we secure email directly from within MS outlook? Is there an email plugin?
- Are we able to see at-a-glance which email thread has been archived and which has not?
- Working in a team setting, are my colleagues who are in the conversation able to see if the email has been archived or not?
Handling of Email threads
- Will the entire conversation be captured so that users can grasp the context of the email quickly?
- How does the system handle attachments? Will a copy of the attachment be filed together with the email thread as well?