Telltale signs you need an EDMS

31st March 2022

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They say that death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but most businesses will tell you that ‘filing’ should be on the list too. No matter what your business or organisation does, no matter who your target audience is, part of your day will be spent filing something.

Companies are still filing documents to the same levels as they did during the time of ‘ink on paper’, but these documents are increasingly digital rather than physical. In many ways this has made life easier – especially in a remote working world – with staff able to access documents from different devices, no matter where they’re based. However, not only do many of the age-old filing issues remain, but also digital filing adds a few extra issues into the mix too.

Without a dedicated electronic document management system in place, it’s very easy for things to get out of hand. Signs that you may benefit from using a system like File Stream 5 include:

Access management issues

Whether using an internal server, some space on the cloud, or one of the free document management systems, the same problem with access control remains – it is possible to control who has access to your documents, but it usually needs a good level of technical expertise to set the user roles correctly. Get it wrong and you’ll either be granting access to sensitive documents to the wrong people, or you’ll be blocking files from those who need it.

EDMS, on the other hand, are designed to have robust access management settings that allow you to get as granular as you need. And not only will you be able to control who sees what, but you’ll also have a full audit trail of who’s been looking at each folder and file.

Security worries

Data loss has always come with the risk of severe financial loss – and GDPR made that potential loss even greater when it was introduced in 2018. Suddenly, losing your client and staff data to a breach can come with seven-figure fines large enough to put most businesses at risk of folding.

An EDMS with version control, access control and most importantly full encryption makes it virtually impossible for your files to go astray, so you can rest easy knowing security risks are greatly reduced.

Huge number of folders

Businesses will often use the standard file manager software on their company computers, creating a separate folder for each client to neatly file documents relevant to each one. And that’s fine initially, but companies quickly find that, as more files are added, the folder hierarchy goes from being uniform, neat and tidy, to inconsistent and difficult to navigate. It’s not long before simply finding the correct documents is a time-wasting endeavour.

Increasing files and formats

Any business starting out will have a relatively small number of documents to file, in the same way that, a few years ago, they’d have had a single filing cabinet. But as with the increasing space taken up by cabinets, digital files soon become unwieldy and difficult to manage. And unlike the old days of paper filing, digital documents are available in all manner of formats – documents, images, videos, design files and so on. As the number and variety of files grows, so does the need to better manage this content.

Duplications

The more files you have, the greater the likelihood that duplications will start to creep in. And when we say duplications, we’re talking about two things – the duplication of file names, and the duplication of the actual file itself.

Company-wide naming conventions will usually dictate how files are named (whether it be by client, department, job number and so on), but this comes with two problems – you need to know what the file was called in order to find it, and those naming conventions can easily result in duplicate names.

Then there is the issue of file duplication, which usually happens when files are opened and saved locally by different staff members, effectively creating a new version.

An EDMS helps resolve these issues. Files can be searched for by much more than their file names (for example, content within the file), which makes it easier to locate and removes the need to remember exact file names. It also means you can introduce a company naming convention that lessens the likelihood of duplicate file names without adding extra burden to your team.

It solves the second problem by giving all your team members one location to store everything, meaning they no longer have to email files to each other or save multiple files locally.

Version control getting out of hand

Of course, your staff will still be able to create duplicate files – but if they do, a good EDMS will have version control and version history so you can easily track down the original.

In fact, some businesses actually choose to duplicate files as a way to create another version of that same file. While this allows you to view a full history of changes to documents like terms and conditions, it does run the risk that older versions will be sent out by mistake. The aforementioned version control removes this risk, giving you access to the edit history but always ensuring that the latest version is top of the list.

Wasting time

We know we’ve said it already in this piece under ‘Duplications’, but it can’t be overstated – a poor file management system means hours of wasted time trying to locate information. Studies have shown that workers who need to regularly look for files as part of their role lose anywhere between 19% and 50% of their time trying to dig out the correct files.

The enhanced searchability of EDMS can reduce or remove this time drain, because files can be located using so much more than just their filename – which is often unwieldy, difficult to remember, or almost identical to all your other file names.

By freeing up bottlenecks and enabling your team to concentrate on more productive tasks, you can increase productivity and even take on more clients!

The need for flexibility

In a remote working world, the number of locations your staff will be at has greatly increased. With that increase comes the need to ensure your team’s ability to store, share, search and work on business documents is as smooth as possible.

While your current systems may have that flexibility, it’s unlikely to come without significant time and cost implications from your IT department.

In summary

As you can see, there are many reasons why better filing is needed in your business – doing it correctly can save time, money and reputational damage.

But implementing file management properly on to existing systems takes significant investment, may result in business downtime, and could potentially only resolve some of the issues above.

A dedicated EDMS, on the other hand, comes in at a far better price point and is designed to solve all the above and more. Given the potential savings it can help you make, we think it’s one of the best business investments you can make.
Interested in an EDMS? Give us a call on 0118 989 3771 or email sales@filestreamsystems.co.uk

Need more information? Speak to one of our experts.