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The Benefits of an Electronic Document Management System

December 03, 2013

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

One of the most powerful office tools to emerge in the last 10 years is the electronic document management system (EDM).

While EDMs have been around much longer, in the past decade they have become extremely refined as easy to implement. With the rise of the smartphone and tablet revolution, the emergence of cloud computing, and easy search, EDMs have become both easy and insanely useful. Any business that doesn’t have an EDM is missing out on some pretty low-hanging fruit.

“For nearly a decade, paperless technologies—primitive or advanced—have quietly delivered efficiency and productivity benefits to small, medium and large businesses,” noted a recent blog post by eFileCabinet CEO, Matt Peterson.

A small accounting firm can benefit by scanning every invoice on a flatbed scanner to maintain an electronic backup of physical paper invoices, and a trillion-dollar bank can use an EDM to keep multi-million dollar trades flowing smoothly through their system. Regardless of scale, EDMs help business save a nice chunk of change because they enable a paperless office.

“An EDM system allows you the benefit of seeing improved productivity within days after implementation,” wrote Peterson. “While making allowances for training and acclimatization, it is important to understand that EDM can free up administrative and productive time spent locating, retrieving documents—short-term benefits of the system that show up in a quarterly balance sheet.”

A cloud-based EDM can reduce reliance on physical hardware and server licensing feed, for instance, saving both office space and IT costs. It also delivers anywhere access to files, something increasingly nice in the days of iPhones and mobile computing.

A paperless office can free up man hours, lower stationery expenses, cut document storage space, and help the environment to boot. It can improve productivity with advanced search, and help distribute documents more easily.

And setting up a paperless office to use with an EDM is surprisingly easy. It just takes a little thought initially and the replacement of paper-based inflows with digital equivalents. This means a document scanner, in most cases, and a fax-over-IP (FoIP) solution such as FaxSIPit for incoming faxes (FoIP is a neat technology where the fax is transmitted digitally, arriving by email but still working with existing fax workflows and partners who rely on fax technology).

Not having an EDM in 2013 is like using postal mail instead of email. You could, yes—but WHY?


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