What is the difference between an Electronic Record Management System (ERMS) & Electronic Document Management System (EDMS)?

The purpose of an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) is to help you get things done efficiently.

Here are some ways modern Electonic Document Management System (EDMS) accomplishes this:

  1. Enabling users to find documents immediately using strong search functions. A good electronic document management system (EDMS) allow users to search for keywords within filed document. Some EDMS uses OCR technology to recognise and index text within images, this allow users to search for text even within images. 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 behaviors. Most EDMS also comes with mobile apps that allows users to access confidential information securely from their mobile devices while on-the-go.
  2. Reducing instances of missing documents because they are filed in wrong folders. Because folder structure and folders within the EDMS system are predefined after careful deliberation during the initial implementation process. Users do not create folders at will, they need to adhere to the filing structure that was intensively thought-out and setup. When members of every department follows 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 folders. These will reduce the instances of documents being filed wrongly. It will also reduce or eliminate the creation of duplicated folders and documents. Duplicated folders and documents create impedes productivity as we are need to check multiple folders for a document and we cannot be sure that the document found is the latest version.
  3. Automating everyday tasks such as routing of electronic forms from one approving personnel to another. With this, workers will no longer be sending their forms to the wrong person for approval, wasting time chasing for approvals or wasting time looking for forms that are lost in transition. This automation reduces the workload of workers and minimizes distractions from daily work.
  4. Reducing manual data entry. Forms are the basic building block to work flow processes. The forms can be ones used by customers to apply for services or used for internal processes within the company. Form includes Asset Purchase Approval, Leave Application forms, Mortgage Application forms  etc. Form should be distilled down to only the essential fields. With EDMS, forms can be digitized and connect to the central server to auto populate fields, reducing manual entry and human errors.
  5. Achieving a paperless or paper-less environment. Reducing papers in the company for clutter free offices.

An Electronic Record Management System (ERMS) testifies that things are done. This is key to transparency in Corporate Governance.

An Electronic Records Management System (ERMS) is built to testify that things are done and done correctly. Record Management Systems has the purpose of ensuring compliance. They help companies avoid the penalties or auditors and governing bodies.

Most Records Management System have all the functions of a Document Management System and more.

Here’s the “more”:

  1. Holds the index of all records that is stored within it or registered with it. This applies to electronics and physical records. With this, users can at-a-glance know which files are already accounted for.
  2. Ensure that documents meet the required time frame for retention. Once the required time frame is fulfilled, the document will be archived or securely overwritten. If the records are physical ones, the system will prompt the relevant personnel to send the physical records for archival or physically destroy them.
  3. Ensure that documents that are to be preserved can be opened and used throughout the required time period of preservation, even if the legacy program used to open the document can no longer be found. Hence a good record management system will often come with inbuilt readers for the different file formats.
  4. Ensure the integrity of the documents, that they are not tempered with and fit for legal proceedings. This means that a chain of custody and audit trail is present for each document. Chain of custody means the chronology of ownership, custody or location of a document or group of documents. This is important in determining the authenticity of the document. Audit Trail means a chronological record of the changes that has been made to the document. This includes the drafts, various amendments and the latest versions.

What is happening today.

Organisations today needs both efficiency and compliance. Work has to be done efficiently; And the process how the work is done and final products are kept safe for future audits.

Today it makes sense that they choose single products that can fulfil these 2 areas. A Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) that is also a robust Electonic Record Management System (ERMS). Many vendors are already developing or converging the 2 products into 1.

Because of this, Document Management and Record Management has been used interchangeably by many people. It may one day be that they will come to refer to the same system. Adopting a document management system is one of the first crucial steps to Enterprise Transformation. Do check out our guide to Digital Transformation Singapore.