All organisations need to prioritise, store and control increasing volumes of information. Electronic document management (EDM) is a hardware and software solution that centralises relevant information into a secure repository while providing access to it across the organisation,
Electronic documents can be any piece of digitised information including electronic copies of former filing cabinets full of paper folders. The purpose of an EDM system is to tailor the information storage and access to a specific organisation’s needs. It has to be designed to upload, store and retrieve information in a systematic way and comply with both commercial pressures and internal demands as well as with legal and regulatory requirements. The obvious benefits are less paper on desks and a better use of office space. But it also combines security for sensitive information and control over which employees have access to it.
The principal capabilities of an EDM system that is designed by specialists such as Hitec Laboratories are storage, access and security. Its main purpose is to provide an essential business continuity strategy for the organisation. In the event of a natural or manmade disaster, large quantities of valuable information may be lost if they are kept in a physical form in an office that suffers damage. But if these are kept in electronic format outside of the office premises, business recovery will be much faster. The EDM systems also enable coordination between the various divisions, departments and subsidiaries of any enterprise, irrespective of geographical location. It means that each division that works on a specific project will have access to the relevant information at the same time.
2. Storage and indexing
Storage is the first essential capability of an EDM system. The records can be kept on a hard drive or any other form of memory device. Backup copies of the information provide an extra level of protection in the event of a loss. An indexing system has to make access and future retrieval of information as straightforward as possible. Hitec Laboratories can make a careful assessment of an organisation’s future requirement and fashion a bespoke indexing strategy.
3. Retrieval and exchange
Retrieval systems should be planned carefully in advance so that they improve the system as a whole. The system has to integrate with any other form of physical information or IT systems the enterprise uses. It should also be able to exchange information between different databases as and when required.
EDM systems provide a method of efficient communication between the various divisions of an enterprise and remove the need for physical handling of bulky documents between locations. The structures of EDM systems provided by Hitec Laboratories reflect how information is used in practice by the enterprise as a whole rather than just a part of the organisation. The system consists of hardware such as servers and workstations. The system’s operations can be divided up among separate servers if necessary. The software comes in three parts. On the functional level it will control the EDM operations. A further configuration will enable system administration. Thirdly, the software has to provide an interface that enables users to interact with the system as a whole.
Anna Mathews has worked in information management for the past 10 years. For more information on EDM systems you can browse the internet..