How to choose a system for electronic document management?


Business automation is the most important factor in the growth and development of the project, a powerful competitive advantage, which is a sin to refuse. Today, in addition to managing customer relationships, you can optimize the work with documents.

Now you do not have to maintain archives, look for the necessary papers, restore in case of loss. All the necessary files are in easy access, at the disposal of each employee. If necessary, you can send documents to other organizations.

system for electronic document management
I used electronic document management systems from different developers, and I can’t single out the best, universal option - the choice will depend on specific tasks, preferences, budget, and so on. 

One of the systems I have tried is a product from A2B. In general, I also used other modules, in particular project management and other services. I’ll say in advance that their EDMS suited me quite well, a good option. But first things first.

So, strictly speaking, the EDMS, that is, the electronic document management system, is an automated multi-user system that accompanies the process of managing the work of a hierarchical organization. The goal is to ensure the correct functioning of the organization.

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In order not to get confused further, we introduce the basic concepts.

By workflow, we mean the movement of documents in an organization from the moment they are created to receipt, or dispatch, or simply execution. The concept of workflow includes acceptance, registration, distribution, execution control and other actions. 

It is interesting that document management is a concept characteristic of the post-Soviet space, while in the world it is customary to talk about corporate content management and records management systems.

In turn, electronic document management implies a single mechanism for working with electronic documents. We implement the so-called concept of paperless office work.

We move on. A machine-readable document is a document that can be automatically read by the information it contains. In turn, an electronic document is a document created using computer information processing tools. 

Such a “paper” can be signed with an electronic signature. The latter is a kind of analogue of a manual signature. It is an information security tool that provides control over the integrity and authentication of electronic documents.

choose a system for electronic document management

Benefits of using EDMS

Now let’s briefly talk about what makes EDMS good, and why you really should switch to this way of working with information.

  • You free up space.
  • Reduce the cost of copying and shipping documents.
  • Reduce labor costs for working with documents.
  • Eliminate the risk of irretrievable loss of documents.
  • Increase the speed of document delivery.
  • Control the document hierarchy.
  • Monitor all the changes that have been and are being made to the document in chronological order.
  • You can quickly search for “papers” – everything you need is at your fingertips in a few clicks.

This frees up a really large amount of resources, which in general has a positive effect on the efficiency of your project.

Choosing the right SED

Now it’s worth talking about how to choose an EDMS in general. First, explore the functionality. Decide what functionality you need. Let’s say we’ve decided. Now you need to find relevant use cases. It is important for you to understand how the functionality you are interested in is implemented.

Be sure to look at the screenshots. If they are not on the site, you will surely find them in the presentation materials. Detailed information on the screenshots is a good indicator, and if there are few screenshots, details are not visible, then you should be wary.

If there are videos – great, check them out by all means. It helped me to weed out unsuitable options without even turning to the trial version and without wasting a lot of time.

If everything worked out for you in the previous steps, it’s time to move on to the trial version. Most developers offer free trials and versions, and you should definitely take advantage of this before buying a product.

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A good sign is pricing transparency. The price should be detailed, as clear as possible for the client. You must clearly know how much it costs, what is included in a particular service. Pay attention to how the salesperson guides you by price, bring him to the specifics and do not let yourself “talk”. You should have a clear list of questions to be answered.

Now I propose a checklist by which we evaluate the functionality of the electronic document management system. In other words, what should be in a good EDMS:

  • User-friendly interface, usability.
  • Possibility of joint work with documents.
  • Availability of a single structured archive.
  • Designers of cards and business processes.
  • The possibility of organizing a legally significant workflow.
  • The presence of a mobile application, its correct operation and user-friendliness of the interface.
  • Flexible role model.
  • Support of the holding structure.
  • Analytical reports.
  • Availability of ready-made unique services.

Perhaps these are the main criteria that you should pay attention to. Now I will tell you how we implemented EDMS and other products from A2B. The systems are not without flaws, but, I will say right away, in my opinion, the product is worth its money.

I repeat that I cannot recommend the best, universal system – this simply does not exist. It all depends on the specifics of your project, and I recommend starting from that. In order not to waste time and money in vain, choose several options and use the trial versions. As a result, it will be much easier to make a choice.

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