Benefits of an EDMS
No More Missing Documents
- One central location for all your documents. One search tool to find them all. Being able to handle a wide variety of file formats, an EDMS allows users to file and retrieve documents easily in one central location. This reduces confusion and efforts to log into different systems or terminals to obtain the documents. With documents consolidated in one system, the capable search tool can index all the files and return holistic search results with contextual information back to the users.
- Search even within images. Capable EDMS are able to use OCR technology to recognise and index text within images, this allows users to search for text even within images.
- Intuitive folder and sub-folder structure. Most EDMS will encourage users to diligently adopt a folder and sub-folder structure. In fact, before the implementation of an EDMS, it is common for vendors to sit down with the users to understand their work-flow and corporate structure. Together with the client, the certified document management consultant will draw out the folder structure and hierarchy. It becomes easy to find documents as they will come under a logical train of folders. Users do not create folders at will, they adhere to the planned filing structure that was intensively thought-out. When members of every department follow a uniform folder structure, colleagues or new workers will know where to find specific documents easily. Easy to grasp training should be given to users to run them through the relevant folder structures. These will reduce the instances of documents being filed incorrectly.
Increased Accuracy & Competency
- Assurance that the latest and correct document version is used. Version control and tracking within an EDMS give assurance that the latest version is submitted or referenced. Version control reduces error and improves the overall competency of the teams.
- Contextual Search Result. When all the relevant files are found, the system will also present the information sorted by relevance to the user based on his/her role in the company or past search behaviours. With each search result, the EDMS will also present information such as: Who created the document, who modified it, other documents that are linked or related to it. These will help the user better grasp the background of the matter.
- Reduce confusion caused by duplicated folders and files. EDMS reduce or eliminate the creation of duplicated folders as folder creation is controlled by admins. Duplicated folders and documents impede productivity as it causes confusion. Some EDMS also have built-in deduplication functions that prevent duplicate files from being created or uploaded.
A document management system can help to automate steps in everyday tasks so you don’t have to do it yourself. The best way is to illustrate this with a common everyday process: Purchase Requisition. The nature of this process requires high transparency and adherence to strict audit protocols. Let us see how a Document Management System that supports digital forms and workflow can help. The process:
- A pre-set digital form for purchase requisition is created within the EDMS for users to initiate a purchase request. He/she inputs the value of the purchase and the form automatically brings the user to the next steps based on the purchase quantum inputted. Possible branching steps:
- To upload 3 quotes into the system OR
- To Call For Tender if the value exceeds a certain threshold (at this point, the form to handle tender process and vendor submissions can be activated)
- The forms presented to the user will require only the essential information. Fields that the system can populate automatically from the database will be pre-filled for accuracy and to reduce time spent on the form. The forms will also include real-time logic checks on fields such as timelines, amounts, is vendor within the approved vendor list and more to minimise error. If there is any error, the user can correct them on-the-spot. Required fields have to be filled in before the user is allowed to proceed to the next step. These will ensure that forms are completed and with little or no error before submission.
- Help and explanation pop-ups littered around the form in simple English to guide and give context to users, letting them know the purpose of the fields and how to fill them. An end result is a request form that is intuitive to fill up, accurate and complete.
- The user can also perform a historic search within the system to see a summary of previous requests done by him/herself as well as the team. He/she can also check the status of approval for the previous requests.
- Completed forms are submitted and routed automatically to a chain of appointed approving officers. It can be one person or many on the same level. Once this level is cleared, the form will automatically be routed to the next level. (E.g Forms are routed to Directors once Team Leaders have approved them). Approving parties can also easily search for details of previous contracts or approval request. If the request is disapproved, comments can be given and the executive can rework and submit the form up again.
- There will be automated email prompts by the system to ensure that the forms are not forgotten whenever an action is needed.
- The executive and team leaders can at a glance see all the requests in circulation within the workflow and see where forms are stuck and impeding the progress of the team.
- At the end of the approval process, all the completed forms are recorded and kept automatically in the Record Management System for future reference and audit.
- All these allow for transparency, traceability, convenience, collaboration & productivity. So staff can focus on Value Creation for customers, shareholders and themselves.
- Your key employees may leave unexpectedly. The possible reasons? Too many to count. New family arrangements, desire for a new environment, being headhunted to a new role with higher remuneration (that you cannot match) and many more. We need to quickly find a new helper, ensuring that the company is able to continue functioning with minimum impact to revenue. We do not want to be caught unprepared, resulting in rushed handover with bits of puzzles that newcomers have to pick up. The key idea is to ensure that the new person coming in can quickly pick up the ropes and background of ongoing cases, with minimum impact to our treasured customers and colleagues. Other than the aptitudes and skills to get the job done, the new person needs the historical files and reference materials to get things going. Example: past contract for referencing the details of engagements or to prepare for upcoming audits. This is where a Document Management System will come in handy. Systemic folder structure and culture of proper filing will ensure that the newcomers will be able to get up to speed quickly with all the historical reference materials at hand.
- Natural disaster. Disasters such as fires or floods can destroy laptops, servers and physical documents. You can be assured that corporate memory is safely stored in cloud storage and retrievable easily via the interface of the document management system. Business can continue with all the necessary information at hand.
Reduce Cost Increase Bottom Line
A document management system helps reduce your spending through the following tangible ways. Reduction in the cost of:
- Printer toner
- Storage space for storage and retrieval of documents
- Transportation of documents
For some of our clients, the amount of money saved annually from the reduced use of physical documents more than covers the cost of implementing a robust full suite document management system. All these without factoring in the other perks of time saved, increased productivity, better collaboration and clutter-free workspaces.
Here are some of the tangible ways an EDMS improves on data security.
- Audit Trail. Most EDMS is capable of keeping an audit trail for every single document within the system. Tracking details such as who has read the document, when was it last read, who uploaded a new version of the document and when was it uploaded etc.
- Built-in document viewers. Many EDMS comes with document viewers built-in to allow users to view documents within the safe confines of the software. Users do not need to download a copy of the document into their laptops and thus minimizing data security risks such as laptop loss or instances of hacking.
- Role-Based Access. Users have access to folders and document based on their role within the organization. Using the HR department as an example: Only users within the HR department can upload, access or download specific folders or documents within the HR directory. Role-Based Access can also protect information via seniority settings. Example, Personnel files of high-level management positions are accessible only by senior HR executives and not accessible by junior grades due to the high profile hiring process which may impact stock prices and company outlook. Another example would be P files of certain departments & teams are accessible only by the HR executives assigned to the departments.
Work Anywhere. Staff are able to access documents securely from their laptops and mobile devices and approve document while they are physically away from the office.