There are many definitions for electronic documents, document automation, ECM and in this article we will try to give you the most understandable and capacious of them.
An electronic document is a certain set of information (text, image, sound recording) stored on a computer (Word, Excel files, etc.). A card with attributes accompanies this set of information, just as books in the library are accompanied by a card file. By these attributes (title, author, creation date, etc.) the document can quickly be found if needed.
Workflow is the sequence of actions of employees within a certain business process. For example: the sequence of actions is "obtaining a document, registering a document, reviewing a document, executing a document," and the whole business process is "working with citizens' applications."
Document automation is a way to organize work with documents, in which the bulk of documents are used electronically and stored centrally.
Electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) is a computer program that allows you to organize work with electronic documents (creation, modification, search), as well as interaction between employees (transfer of documents, issuing tasks, sending notifications, etc.).
ECM (Enterprise Content Management) - system for management of corporate information resources. This concept is somewhat broader than the EDRMS. The ECM-system is a set of technologies, tools and methods used to collect, manage, accumulate, store and deliver information (content) to all consumers within the organization. For example, in order to become an ECM-system, the EDRMS must contain means for scanning documents, ensure the safety of documents, maintain document retention rules, etc.
Do you need an ECM-system?
In order to understand whether you need an ERMS or ECM-system, answer for yourself the following questions:
- Can you immediately find the necessary document when talking on the phone with an important partner?
- Can you say which of your orders has not been fulfilled by now, which ones are overdue?
- Are you sure that the current speed of contract approval creates a positive image of your organization?
- Are you satisfied with the volume of papers that are on your table?
- Can you say where is the document, which you have released for approval a day ago?
If you gave a negative answer to three or more questions, then it is time for you to seriously consider purchasing an EDS or an ECM-system.
Advantages of Electronic Document Management
Business Process Transparency. The system provides the ability to track the stages of the execution of business processes, which makes all activities in the organization absolutely transparent for management team.
Increased performance discipline. According to statistics, the employees responsible do not execute 20% of tasks received. The ECM-system directly affects the performance discipline of employees by providing full control of all stages of work for the management team.
Time management. Using the ECM system reduces the time spent on almost all routine operations with documents (creation, search, etc.). In addition, there is an acceleration of workflow and, as a consequence, all processes in the organization.
Ensuring the confidentiality of information. The leakage of confidential information can entail a million losses for the organization. Unlike the traditional "paper" workflow, the ECM-system provides access to documents strictly in accordance with the assigned roles of users and all actions with the document (reading, changing, and signing) are logged.
Ease of implementation of innovation and training. Thanks to the notification system, built on the basis of the ECM-system, you can quickly share new rules of work to all employees. The terms of training of new employees are reduced due to the ability to quickly find the information necessary for the job (regulations, instructions, etc.).
Development of corporate culture. The process of ECM-system implementation establishes and supports the corporate culture. Optimization of the interaction of employees and the development of horizontal links leads to effective team building. At the same time, the responsibility of each employee increases.
The growth of competitive advantages. The implementation of ECM-system directly affects the competitive advantages of the company, increasing the speed and quality of customer service by accelerating the information flows. Even large enterprise become more mobile and less dependent on specific "irreplaceable" employees.
Possible Risks When Implementing ECM Systems
In general, most of the risks and problems of ECM implementation are the same as with the projects of implementation of other information systems of the enterprise scale and lead to the following negative consequences:
- Violation of project deadlines;
- Violation of the project budget;
- Incomplete achievement of the set goals (the system works, but there are issues: less / worse than planned);
- Complete disruption of implementation (after implementation, the system does not really work).
Ways to prevent risks in general are standard:
- Detailed preliminary design of the ECM system;
- Clear guidelines;
- Step-by-step implementation.