Pillar - EDMS (2) (1)

Everything Electronic Document Management Systems [EDMS]

What are Electronic Document Management Systems?

Electronic document management systems (EDMS) are software for hosting document libraries.

But they're about more than just storage. EDMS centralise access, track actions, and power automated workflows. They also form the foundation of digital transformation and intelligent document processing (IDP).

Documents stored electronically are searchable beyond naming conventions, meaning you can use full-text and metadata searching to find your records.

A defining feature of electronic document management systems are audit trials. The audit trail adds an extra dimension to document tracking, ensures compliance, and generates real-time reports.

EDMS are used to gain a productive edge through improving outcomes through collaboration, communication and customer service, increasing the pace of business cycles and generating a fast return on investment.

Who uses an EDMS?

Over a range of industries, EDMS are used to enhance document control - from self-employment to multinational, user-friendly interfaces make for easy installation and integration.

EDMS hosted online are great for those who work from remote locations. On-premise systems give organisations that require more control over the system's architecture the flexibility to do so.

Within an organisation, access is dynamic; role-based restrictions define user permissions, giving you ultimate control.

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What are the Challenges of Document Management?

Data sprawl
Email attachments, local folders, hard drives and physical copies - managing your documents from multiple locations can lead to loss and miscommunication, harming productivity.

Document Version Control
To collaborate confidently, you need to be sure that the document version you and the rest of your team are using is the same.

Scaling and Relocation
Space is valuable. Increasing storage can move into production space and make documents harder to find. Relocation also carries additional risks of loss or damage.

Navigation and Compliance
Surname, date, job role? Physically, you can only file documents by one metric. This method increases the risk of misfiling and inconsistency with limited oversight. A physical archive cannot act dynamically to retention laws, leading to records held indefinitely and non-compliantly.

Everything is customer-focused. Your document management system must prioritise privacy and be reactive to changing customer demands. 

Beyond the Physical
Modern document management solutions must move beyond physical storage for organisations to grow while remaining competitive.

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What are the Benefits of Electronic Document Management Systems?

Peace of Mind

Does that bit of paper you've been using as a coaster all week have somewhere else to be?

Knowing the life cycles of your information drives efficient production. Electronic document management prevents data sprawl by centralising all inbound information with your newly created documents.

Paper-based workflows are transformed into digital workflows that execute automatically in the background, allowing you to engage in more creative and productive tasks.

Reporting insights and personal dashboards allow you to monitor performance and make data-driven decisions.

Workflow Automation

The benefits of automation are greater than speed. Workflow automation drives productivity and increases ROI. Business process automation (BPA) redirects time into profit generation, customer engagement and creative activities.

EDMS are a great starting point for digital transformation strategies and managing many automation integrations.

  • Eforms improve the flow of information in an organisation by standardising data collection, maintaining databases, and updating index information.
  • Automated invoice processing executes AP tasks without manual intervention using AI and OCR to extract invoice data from unstructured documents and feed it into the financial system.
  • Virtual mailroom services automate mail processing, centralising inbound communication channels into one digitally managed inbox for redistribution.

Scale Without the Spend 

As electronic documents do not occupy physical space, your document libraries can grow independently of infrastructure, be implemented anywhere and be managed remotely.

Expansion, moving office, or going remote become frictionless, eliminating the possibility of damage or loss and increasing costs.

Audit trail and Document Control

Documents altered in an EDMS update live in all locations, allowing a singular document version to be used collaboratively with the confidence that the information is relevant.

The audit trail is formed by tracking version histories and attaching metadata. An audit trail is a way of finding what was true at any point in time and validating that your outcomes are a product of the process.

Document control and audit trails form the foundation of GDPR-compliant information management, attaching digital documents with the data they need for legal admissibility. 

Restriction Management

EDMS manage access through user-based restrictions, allowing you to manage complex hierarchies of staff and departments.

EDMS records all-access attempts with temporal and spatial data, showing the actions taken on a document and when and where they happen.

Advanced Searching

Documents held in EDMS are full-text searchable and findable by metadata, which reduces the risk of document loss due to filing errors. It also gives the ability to dynamically group documents in ways impossible with physical storage. This mechanism updates all information on documents of a specific type - a powerful tool for reacting to legislative changes in data law.

Security and Retention

The features of EDMS work harmoniously to ensure compliance with GDPR.

  • Documents stored virtually are isolated from the possibility of theft or loss.
  • The audit trail makes finding and dealing with data breaches quick.
  • Restricted access ensures data protection.
  • Retention policies are applied automatically. 
  • Advanced searching allows documents to be grouped dynamically and edited in response to new legislation.
  • Data requests are handled quickly through advanced searches.
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What Should You Look for in an EDMS Partner?

Finding a partner that understands the needs and nuances of your business processes is essential when implementing a bespoke solution. An information management specialist can build from the ground up, embedding their quality and security assurances into your system's architecture. Several factors differentiate the effectiveness of a digital transformation partner. When choosing a partner to meet your needs and goals, you should consider the following.


Do they build systems holistically? Your EDMS is the foundation of your business. Standardising information flows across departments ensures your organisation optimises collaboration and communication.

Standardisation is future-proofing. By introducing an accessible, standardised, and transferable solution, you remain open to additional integrations and upgrades. 


How do they map physical processes into a digital landscape? Your EDMS should simplify existing processes, and your partner should recognise the critical paths for transformation.


How will they handle your legacy paper records? The past is important. When undergoing digital transformation, it's easy to forget that digitising archives and record libraries to be compatible with EDMS is just as crucial as day-forward.

Your partner should track the transformative steps that integrate legacy records with your new solution, giving you the visibility to ensure a seamless transition.


A reputable digitisation partner exercises document control and uses audit trails to track and ensure compliance at every stage of transformation. 

Security and Quality

ISO27001 is the framework for safeguarding against security threats like data breaches, hacking, and unauthorised access. This measure includes requirements for risk assessment, security controls, and incident management. EDMS formalise the parameters of ISO27001 in their architecture, outlining the management and protection of sensitive information.

ISO9001 specifies the requirements for a quality management system. This regulation applies to any business regardless of size or industry. EDMS facilitate easy system analysis for implementing quality analysis.

BS10008: EDMS are the most effective and controllable document management solution - archiving paper documentation for future retrieval and instant access. You must keep many documents for legal reasons, ensuring they can be found easily, reproduced clearly, and legally admissible. The audit trail and detailed procedures provide the evidence required to make your document legally admissible. It covers all aspects of the imaging process, from the initial planning to the ongoing security of the finished data. 


The Difference Between On-Premise and Online Document Management Systems




Operational Agility

Enterprise EDMS can operate without an internet connection. A more comprehensive range of licenses and integrations gives greater customisation and personalisation when building your system.

Cloud-based EDMS allow quick installation at multiple locations. Software is updated automatically and maintained externally, releasing your IT team for business-critical tasks. 

Security and Backup

The backup and safety of an on-premise system are handled in-house and backed up manually.

Accessing an online EDMS requires an internet connection. Cloud-based services are hosted on external servers and backed up to a secondary server monitored externally.


Perpetual licenses

Cloud-based access runs a subscription-based model. Adding, removing or changing licenses is easy, giving predictable and measurable costs that move with demand.


You only pay for the integrations and services you use.

  • Installation costs

  • Hardware costs 

  • IT maintenance costs

  • Software Assurance

Subscription costs are predictable and quantifiable.

  • No software assurance purchase

  • No installation costs

  • No upkeep costs 

Who uses it?

Enterprises requiring use without a constant internet connection, different access levels or additional integrations.

A hybrid workforce that requires connection to EDMS from multiple locations. There are no constraints to a business's size for using EDMS.  


Is Google Drive a Document Management System?

Online solutions like Google Drive offer basic document management features. Still, Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS) take the lead when it comes to advanced control and compliance. Here are some key differences to consider:

Google Drive is suitable for personal and small team collaboration. But EDMS can handle large volumes of documents and users, making it ideal for larger organisations with complex document management needs.

Google Drive includes basic security features. EDMS provides robust protection tailored to industry requirements such as access controls, audit trails, role-based permissions, and offline backups for data recovery.

EDMS meet international quality and security standards, showcasing trustworthiness to partners and customers.

Document Versioning
Google Drive offers basic version control, but EDMS provides complete version histories, conforming to legal admissibility standards. EDMS ensures a clear audit trail, enabling multiple users to collaborate while verifying the legitimacy of legal records.

Google Drive integrates well with other Google services but may have limitations with third-party enterprise software. EDMS seamlessly integrates with enterprise software like ERPs, CRMs, and Microsoft Business Suite, offering holistic document management capabilities.

Online document management services provide a one-size-fits-all solution, while EDMS allows customisation to fit specific needs. With EDMS, you can record metadata, populate audit trails, set user permissions, generate custom reports, and automate compliant record-keeping based on your organisation's requirements.

EDMS providers, like Datatron, offer dedicated support from training to ongoing technical troubleshooting, while online solutions are primarily self-service.

An EDMS that does it all

Datatron work with you to digitise and constantly develop your processes, while offering round the clock support.

With years of experience solving physical problems with digital solutions, we guarantee each of our services evolve and scale along side your business.

Start your digital transformation today

We can help you redesign workflows for an increasingly virtual world, introduce new technologies to navigate new landscapes, and forge new business models from digital operations.

Make EDMS a part of your digital transformation strategy to deliver better customer outcomes and promote a culture of efficiency.

Begin your digital transformation journey today by booking a consultation or giving us a call!