HelpSystems Blog

What is an EDMS and Why Do I Need One?

What is an EDMS?

An EDMS (or electronic document management system) is a system to store, manage, and retrieve documents. Being able to access, edit, and distribute documents in one place helps to centralize operations and streamline processes.

Isn't that what filing cabinets and network folders are for? Wouldn't adding another system complicate processes?

Sure, you could keep using filing cabinets and network folders. But, consider how much time is lost when, in order to revise a document for review, you have to locate the most recent version (which you’re pretty sure was revised by Coworker A even though it’s saved in a folder owned by Coworker B's department). Then once you find it, you download it to your own device and edit. Once edited, you resave to the same folder as before, with a new version name (but the original file was created by someone who doesn't work there anymore, so no one knows it was you who made the changes).

When it comes time for a superior to approve this document, you download and email it to them. Hopefully it doesn’t require a signature, because then they have to print, sign, and scan it to email it back to you.

Did you need that document soon?

Hopefully not. Because that supposedly most recent version might not have been the right one. And you might have to do it all over again.

The right EDMS will capture, store, and retrieve your documents in a way that saves you time, gives you visibility into revisions, and eases your mind about their security.

Why Do I Need One?

An EDMS centralizes these processes and gives you more control and oversight. With access determined by IT, you can make sure no one is editing your document who shouldn’t be. That invoice or HR policy can be created, edited, approved, and stored all in the same place. And with the right EDMS, you’ll also be able to email these documents out right from the interface.

1. Find Your Documents Quicker

Even the most organized of administrative professionals lose documents sometimes. Or spend 18 minutes too long looking for the right one when someone put it back in the wrong spot or removed it to make a photocopy. Even if only measured in time (forget toner, paper, filing cabinets, folders, and band-aids for those inevitable paper cuts), your gain with an EDMS is enormous. Instead of racking your brain to remember the logic behind which folder was the right one for that budget approval document, you can search “budget” or another keyword in your document management system to find your document quickly and easily.  

2. Keep Your Documents Secure

If you didn’t already know that document security was a big issue, hear it now. Are sensitive documents saved securely? Can you control who accesses, changes, prints, or copies them? An EDMS can give you control over who can view a document and visibility into who views and makes revisions.

3. Prove that you’re compliant with industry regulations

Do you need to prove HIPAA compliance with a document trail? Have GDPR requests come back and sent your team reeling? When your documents are all in the same place and easily searchable, with visibility into all the changes made, you have all the documentation you need to prove that you’re compliant with any regulations.

You may not get all the paper out of your processes, but implementing an EDMS solves key business problems while helping you reach your goals.

Where is your organization today? Read The Document Management Guide to see what implementing document management processes could do for you.

Streamline your processes with document management