What is an EDMS?

What is an EDMS?

Did you know that the UK uses more than 12.5 million tonnes of paper each year? While some gets recycled, much of it ends up in landfills. Then there are all the documents we squirrel away in filing cabinets, often in duplicate and triplicate, for us to shred and dispose of at a later date.

Imagine claiming back all that office space (and what you could do with it). Now imagine more efficient business processes and improved compliance too.

All you need is an EDMS.

What is an EDMS?

An EDMS, or Electronic Document Management System, is a digital system used to organise, manage, and store documents. It provides authorised users with a single, secure point of access to view and edit documents from anywhere, at any time.

Now that we’ve covered the what, let’s dig into the why.

What are the benefits of an EDMS?

You already know that going (mostly) paperless will allow you to reclaim (or get rid of!) office space. But when you have an EDMS, that’s just one of many benefits:

Increased productivity and collaboration

Nearly half of UK workers feel their company’s office technology is ‘woefully outdated’. Not hugely surprising when you consider they spend approximately four and a half hours duplicating work each week.

With an EDMS there’s no need for duplication. Colleagues can share and edit digital files, collaborating on projects seamlessly. For your remote workers, a cloud EDMS will enable this even when they’re in different locations. You can also integrate it with your applications for digital workflows, increasing productivity as a result.

Gone too are the days when you had to riffle through alphabetical filing cabinets. So even if you don’t know the title of a document, you can enter in a term related to the content and let the advanced search filters work their magic.

More environmentally friendly

Did you know that it takes 10 litres of water to produce one singular sheet of A4 paper? Now think about the fact that the average office worker in the UK uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. That’s 100,000 litres of water for just one of your employees.

Sure, recycling helps, as does purchasing recycled paper. But to truly make a dent in the impact paper production is having on our environment, reducing your use of it is the only way forward.

An EDMS doesn’t just store digitised files—it allows you to create them from scratch. That’s a lot of paper you’ll be saving (and a lot of water too).

Better security

Yes, an EDMS enables easier access. But only for authorised users, and the security is a lot more rigorous than a locked filing cabinet.

For a start, the encrypted files prevent unauthorised third parties from being able to view your sensitive information. Then you can implement the principle of least privilege to reduce risk even further. After all, the intern who has worked with you for a week doesn’t need the same information as the CEO. Applying access controls within your EDMS will ensure each employee only gets access to the documents they need.

Improved regulatory compliance

Regardless of your industry, you’re likely dealing with personal data or intellectual property. As such, you’ll need to prove compliance and best practices to internal stakeholders, and possibly to external governance bodies too.

That’s why version histories for documents are a must. This is next to impossible on paper (different colours of pens don’t count!), but effortless with an EDMS.

An EDMS will provide an audit trail, tracking every change you make as well as who makes it, while also noting exactly when.

What’s more, it’s simple to integrate compliances as standard into your EDMS. Retention controls will ensure that you keep certain records for as long as the law requires. And when it comes time for compliant disposal, that’s straightforward too.

Document management for better business

Using an EDMS for your document management frees up more than square footage. It reduces the amount of time your workforce spends on unwieldy manual processes like searching and duplicating documents, enabling them to focus on more value-driven (and profit-boosting) tasks instead.

That said, you’ll want to make sure you choose an EDMS that’s as stringent about your compliance as it is about your efficiencies. You’ll also want a provider with the experience to look after your business-critical information, and the support you need to make your business better for it.

To find out how we can improve your document management and your business, reach out for a chat.

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