4 Benefits of an Electronic Document & Record Management System (EDRMS)

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Those stacks of paper scattered throughout your office may not seem like they’re costing your business money, but you’d be surprised.

One study found that, on average, 7.5% of paper documents get lost completely, and 3% are misfiled. And it costs about $2,000 annually in terms of work hours just to maintain a single, four-drawer filing cabinet.

The way we deal with documents these days is totally different from how it was 20 years ago. Our electronic signatures and electronic record-keeping systems bear no resemblance to the rows of folders packed away in filing cabinets. There’s no reason to be stuck in the old ways of doing things.

If you don’t have an electronic document and record management system (EDRMS), you’re probably losing a lot of money without realizing it.

This stems from valuable documents being lost into the ether, or your employees spending a significant amount of time dealing with documents when they could be doing other things. This guide will help you understand how to use EDRMS to streamline your business.


Overview: What is an electronic document and record management system?

An EDRMS is a process which organizations use to organize all important information in one central location.

Organizations often use an EDRMS (also referred to as an electronic document management system or EDMS) not only to make it easy to locate documents and records, but also for document control and advanced record management.

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The system creates an audit trail showing who has accessed certain information, how and when it has been altered, and any other pertinent information.

EDRMS software solutions integrate all current business document management into one seamless, centralized electronic records system, sometimes hosted in the cloud for convenience and easy access.


4 key features of an EDRMS

An EDRMS is more than just an electronic filing system — it is a fundamental part of running your organization.

1. Document storage

This is the most basic purpose of electronic data systems. At any organization, paperwork tends to pile up over time, making it difficult to find that permit you got a year ago or an employee record.

An EDRMS either receives user input or automatically files paperwork electronically, placing all of that documentation in one convenient place so it isn’t taking up space on your shelves or in miscellaneous folders spread out across various computers within your organization.

2. Sorting and categorizing

A key part of good records management is making sure all of that paperwork is in order and can be found easily and quickly. An EDRMS sorts and categorizes paperwork so it can be found with just a few keystrokes. This feature alone will save an organization hundreds or even thousands of work hours.

3. Security

Some documents are highly sensitive, and having vital organizational information sitting on a shelf or in an unsecured computer folder is a recipe for disaster. An EDRMS keeps everything in one centralized place and prevents unauthorized users from accessing it.

Most EDRMS software allows the administrator to set different permissions for different files, so one person who needs access to one file doesn’t get the keys to the kingdom.

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4. Communication

An EDRMS often has communication features, such as alerting a department that a specific relevant document has been uploaded to the system, or automatically sharing a file with individuals tagged on it. Some systems may allow users to directly message each other through the system, or even to mark up business documents.

A screenshot of a communication feature in eFileCabinet.

eFileCabinet

has a communication feature within the document management system for sending and receiving files. Source: eFileCabinet.


4 benefits of an EDRMS

Document management may not seem like the most important part of your business, but these four benefits explain why it can have such a huge impact on how your organization runs.

1. Better security

In the digital age, keeping information safe is difficult. You face numerous threats from people around the world who want to steal sensitive information. An EDRMS makes sure that data are safe and secure with features that require permissions to access certain information.

And by tracking changes to documents, an EDRMS can alert managers to any unauthorized changes so that they can revert the document to its previous forms.

An EDRMS also ensures that companies are in compliance with laws and regulations requiring information security, such as HIPAA with medical records and GDPR for protecting data of citizens of the European Union.

A screenshot of Box’s reports dashboard.

Box allows you to see what kind of changes are being made to which documents. Source: Box, Inc.

2. More organized operations

Businesses must be organized — it’s hard to operate if you’re not. When all of your documentation is organized, you add a veneer of professionalism to your organization.

This helps everyone’s mindset since it’s easier to work when you feel like everything is at your fingertips. As the old saying goes, a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. By streamlining your documentation, you take a big step toward streamlining your business as a whole.

3. Increased accessibility

Your employees will be able to access documents much easier thanks to an EDRMS. They won’t have to dig through stacks of papers in a cardboard box tucked away in a closet, or even search multiple computers for a file hidden somewhere in a random folder.

Instead, they’ll have one centralized system they can use to locate a file with just a few keystrokes. This makes it easy for them to do their jobs and allows them to focus on more important tasks.

4. Improved efficiency

When all of your paperwork is organized and accessible, your business is more efficient and therefore more productive. Your employees will spend less time manually entering data and searching for necessary documentation.

Also, you’ll spend less money on document management expenses because everything is digital, and many of the processes are automated.


It’s time to deal with your paperwork once and for all

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re tired of the chaos and clutter of your organization’s documentation “system,” if it can be called that. This is a sign that it’s time to stop putting it off.

Set aside some time in the coming weeks to start dealing with this issue, implementing document management best practices, and identifying software that can organize the mess. You’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.

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View more information: https://www.fool.com/the-blueprint/edrms/

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