What is EDM (Electronic Document Management)?

July 20, 2021

Electronic document management (EDM), or in English DMS(Document Management System), makes it possible to control the production, circulation and distribution of documents, as well as the storage and retrieval of all types of documents, and to enhance and improve access to documents.

The information contained in documents, both internal and external, is a key, strategic and competitive element within organizations. EDM has therefore become a global business process.

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What is an EDM solution?

EDM is a set of technologies (hardware and specific software) that allows the intelligent management of any document or file of an organization. These documents can be of various origins: paper, text file, spreadsheet, microfilm, images, etc.

DMS creates document organization templates that are associated with indexes to quickly search and retrieve any document. In addition to commonly used indexes such as creation date, author, version, storage folder, DMS can add many others, such as document type, department, supplier name. This facilitates location searches.

With electronic document management, you can also restrict the type of access, providing differentiated permissions for each user on a given document. You can define only those users who can view or also print a document.

 The main features of these document management systems are as follows: 

- They address information management needs and issues within organizations.

- They are open and dynamic, evolving as the organization moves forward.

- They offer solutions that encompass the entire document life cycle.

- They consider and manage the different documentary supports existing in the organization.

- Records management is part of a larger environment within the

Total quality management of the organization (ISO 9001).

You can also watch this short explanatory video .

Why set up an EDM?

There are many benefits to implementing electronic document management in your organization. 

Below is a list of the most important benefits:

1. Accuracy and speed in locating documents:

Thanks to the organization system and indexing possibilities offered by the EDM, the location of documents is much faster and more efficient.

2. Cost reduction:

By reducing unnecessary printing and copying and maintaining a more organized environment, you'll reduce the cost of investing in consumables and the wear and tear on the equipment used for this purpose.

3. More physical space for your business:

My electronic document management changes the physical space that was previously used for paper storage, and can free up space for new workstations, for example.

4. Automation of document processes :

With electronic document management, you can focus on your business, as EDM provides fast and accurate responses while minimizing human resources and increasing productivity.

5. Contribute to the environment :

Reducing workflows is a sustainable action, which automatically helps your organization to preserve the environment.

And we can also talk about the other benefits of electronic document management (EDM):

- Competitive advantage factor.

- Absolute control of business processes.

- Decrease in document processing time.

- Eliminate the risk of misplacing documents.

- Possibility of having the same document examined simultaneously by several people, even by different departments.

What are the best EDMs?

Here is the ranking and list of some of the most recommended EDMs on the market: 

  1. Nuxeo
  2. Zeendoc
  3. Foxit
  4. Windward

Below is our comparison table of the best EDMs:

EDM (electronic document management)
Comparative table of the different DMS

How much does a DMS cost? 

Document management software (DMS) can vary widely in price and cost structure. The first and perhaps most important factor in the cost of your document management system is whether you choose a cloud-based or on-premises version.

Cloud-based software takes the burden of infrastructure maintenance and security off your company and puts it in the hands of a third-party company. While this reduces the expense and hassle of managing it in-house, you'll just need to make sure the company is handling your data correctly. Cloud software is usually paid for by subscription. For most document management software, this can range from $15 to $200 per month per user, depending on the complexity of the solution you choose.

On-premise versions of document management software require your own servers and usually a dedicated IT team to maintain them. Your company is fully responsible for the security of your data, but it also means that you have full control over your own data. With on-premise solutions, you typically have to purchase a license for each user. Each license can cost $1,000 or more, but it's a one-time fee. However, on-premise solutions typically charge an additional fee for technical support and software updates after the first year, which is usually about 20% of the initial license cost.

For small businesses looking for software that's easy to manage and doesn't have a lot of overhead, we recommend a cloud-based solution. However, make sure your provider adheres to cybersecurity best practices to protect your data.

The actual price of document management software varies from company to company. Obviously, systems with more complex features tend to cost more, while the cost of basic document management software without additional features (such as task management tools and workflow automation functions) can be quite low. Also, the more users you add to a cloud-based system, the higher the monthly subscription price will be.

How to set up an EDM? 

Document management systems are very important, as we have seen, for the proper functioning of the company. To implement it, we recommend the following steps.

1. Designate the document manager

The document manager is the person responsible for storing documents, choosing the most appropriate document management system for the business and training the rest of the team in its use. Depending on the company, there may be one person specifically responsible for this task, or it may be an activity assigned to someone in the communications, marketing (or other) functions who performs this function.

Having a specific person in charge of document management helps to improve their traceability and reliability. This person will determine the status of your documents and estimate the time needed to file them.

EDM (electronic document management)
GIF paper documents

2. Set up a tool

Once you have decided which tool will be used, the Document Manager will take the following actions:

3. Adding new documents

A company manages documents all the time, both physically and digitally. Employees themselves should be responsible for determining which ones need to be preserved. 

Once the file or document is determined, it is necessary to :

EDM (electronic document management)
Implementation of an EDM

Outmind before, after or in addition to a DMS:

Outmind gives you instant access to your (documents, emails, conversation...) to make you gain in quality and efficiency.

If you have an EDM (or want to implement it), you will need tounify access to information to avoid a silo effect. Indeed, the risk is to end up with several data sources for the same type of documents, and that your users do not know exactly what is stored where. This could lead to a lack of adoption of your EDM, despite all the effort you put into it.

A multi-source search solution that is light to install and extremely intuitive can help you avoid these consequences.

With Outmind, you don't re-create existing documents: you can start from internal reference documents. Wherever they are located.

Moreover, on average, more than 80% of information is inaccessible and/or undocumented for a typical user. When they are not shared or non-existent, Outmind also provides a solution: we identify the most relevant internal contacts according to their contributions. Our machine learning algorithms analyze the contributions within your tools without any particular action on your part. This will allow you to avoid soliciting the wrong people unnecessarily.

In short, with Outmind: