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The 5 Elements You Need to Get the Best Enterprise Document Management

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, small businesses with fewer than ten employees comprise 78.5% of American organizations. Large businesses, those that have 500 or more employees, make up only 0.3% of organizations in the United States. However, in regards to document management determining the classification of small, medium, or large is a bit more complicated than the number of company employees.

Enterprise Document Management

When determining the size of document management needs, several different areas have to be addressed. Attention should be given to the volume of documents and the necessary tasks performed to maintain a workflow. Contributing factors like the number of locations, functions, customer or client volume, complexity of organization structure, and variety of services or products offered by a business will also determine the size of document management needs.

Taking these factors into consideration, an enterprise can be defined as a business with a high volume of documents, complex organization structure, and workflows that are spread over multiple locations. Once the need for a large or an enterprise document management system is determined several areas need to be evaluated to determine an appropriate solution. To achieve the best enterprise document management assess these five principal areas:

1-Integration & Customization

2-Compliance

3-Scalability

4-Features

5-The Cloud

1-Integration & Customization

A global or multi-location enterprise requires various systems to maintain workloads. The ability of a software to integrate with financial, HR, and other systems is integral in the decision process. Ease of integration is an immeasurable benefit because it allows the software to enhance and accommodate for workflows associated with other business operational processes.

Customization is coupled with integration because it allows an enterprise to support and maintain current workflow process needs without much change. The ability to securely automate workflows on the cloud increases productivity as well as efficiency. The cloud also allows customization that stretches across security levels allowing administrators to grant secure access by clearance level to a central storage across departments and locations.

2-Compliance

Each enterprise has a different set of needs and compliances that must be met when managing the required documents for that industry. Working with enterprise levels of documents increases the chance of errors. LexisNexis cites oversight as one of the five elements to maintain a corporate compliance program. An enterprise document management system (EDMS) allows users to monitor compliance with real time reporting which helps to quickly identify and address breaches on a consistent basis.

According to a 2015 IDC report, 46% of business leaders say ineffective document processes cause a lack of visibility that impairs their abilities. An EDMS creates a heightened awareness of compliance regulations and the steps that need to be taken to maintain those compliances by reducing paper copies and keeping important tasks at the forefront. Documents are routed to the correct approvers who are notified to take action and alerted by reminders of any inactions. EDMS users gain visibility and the ability to maintain compliance in addition to being engaged throughout the document management process.

3-Scalability

Create an environment of growth for your company that allows handling the developmental changes of the enterprise either upward or downward.

Over time documents accumulate needing to be better defined, easier found, and proficiently managed. An EDMS should be able to grow and allow for an archive of information as well as for storage of new and active information. However, a scalable system will also allow for quick changes that can accommodate for new employees, an influx of information, changes in management staff, or newly added workflows. The ability to avoid waiting with automated implementation increases productivity and saves costs because an EDMS is able to provide the necessary tools for smooth transitions.

4-Features

An enterprise business requires a robust solution that offers features to ensure that workflows and business processes become more efficient and productive. An EDMS enhanced with record management capabilities and with features like e-signature, audit trails, access, and reporting reduces risks, saves time, and cuts costs.

E-signature:

Productivity is greatly increased by having one secure location to electronically sign, as well as store and maintain documents. Addressing the Document Disconnect by IDC states, “53% of information workers say following up with people to get documents reviewed, approved, or signed is time consuming.” An additional report from AIIM found, “for 44% of organizations, half or more of their processes are interrupted by the need to collect physical signatures.” An EDMS with e-signature capabilities eliminates the time spent searching for documents in need of a signature or for those already signed because it allows a document to be securely signed, filed, and electronically available in minutes.

Audit Trails:

As information is collected from documents a unique finger print is left that allows for an audit trail. Audit trails provide insight to help avoid unnecessary penalties as well as to help solve issues before they grow out of control. By working together with reporting, they ensure accountability and allow information for audits or surveys to be readily available to help discover and evaluate risks.

Reporting:

Record management capabilities enhance document intelligence by unlocking the information documents contain. In turn it allows robust reports that show trends, issues, and abnormalities that could prove crucial to maintenance and progress. As previously mentioned reports also provide a real time view of information that can help address and resolve any issues while keeping on task.

5-On Premises vs. Cloud

Although “the cloud” is more common to day (95% of enterprises use it in some capacity) there are still questions regarding expense, dependability, and security. A recent article, “Consumer Reports Finds Middle Ground between Cloud and On-Premises,” from InformationWeek discusses the problem of the great cost to upgrade an on premises solution verses a cloud-based alternative. Cloud solutions provide storage, IT, maintenance, upgrades, security etc. for a fee that is much less than the labor and other costs associated with on premises. To store data on premises (paper or digital) is expensive because of these accompanying costs: required space, in-house IT department support and maintenance of features and functionality, security, upgrades, etc.

Additionally there is concern that using a cloud solution potentially leads to difficult access as well as availability concerns. However a Leviathan Security study, “Comparison of Availability between Local and Cloud Storage,” found that because of the ability of cloud providers to have multiple data storage locations, “Ultimately, using a local data center provides no lower latency than using a cloud data center- even one across the country.”

Is the cloud secure? As mentioned in our blog, 3 Things You Need to Know About Storing Data in the Cloud, ensuring information is secure begins within. Taking the initiative to read provider agreements and security qualifications, use encryption, as well as to create and uphold policies that prevent possible breaches due to human error are necessary regardless of how data is stored. By allowing a cloud provider to secure important information, enterprises gain the benefit of being able to better allocate their resources.

These five principle areas greatly impact workflows and communications throughout enterprises. They will influence the decision of which enterprise document management solution best suits your needs, is the greatest return on investment, and will allow progress for future improvements and needs. Ensuring that an enterprise document management solution is capable of meeting those needs is essential to prolonged success that will be enhanced by productivity, clear collaboration, and cost savings.

Sources:

“Nearly 1 in 10 Businesses With Employees Are New, According to Inaugural Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs,” U. S. Census Bureau, Sept 2016
“What Are the Essential Elements of a Corporate Compliance Program?” LexisNexis, 23 May 2013
“Addressing the Document Disconnect,” IDC, March 2015
“Digital Signatures – Making the Business Case,” AIIM, 2013
“Consumer Reports Finds Middle Ground Between Cloud & On-Premises,” InformationWeek, Nov 2016
“Comparison of Availability between Local & Cloud Storage,” Levathan Security, 2015.