The changes in technology pricing over the last 10 years has finally made it possible for small to mid‐sized businesses to enjoy the same efficiencies provided by information technology systems that large enterprises have enjoyed for decades. Think about where we would be today if banks did not have computer systems, or clinics could not provide access to patient folders at remote locations. These advances in technology can now be applied with ease at the small to medium enterprise level.
In today’s business world the ROI of any project is important as competition increases, it is imperative that a company make sure investments generate a large enough return. Increasing business efficiency is the most compelling reason for investing money in any project. Obviously technology has helped many businesses over the last 10‐15 years become more efficient. Just replacing typewriters with word processors and calculators with spreadsheets initiated a huge increase in productivity per employee. Taking the next step is more challenging than simply replacing one tool for another as these programs were basically point solutions. It was predicted as early as 1975 that the “paperless office had arrived”. Obviously progress has been made toward this goal, but the amount of paperwork necessary to run a business (particularly a regulated one such as financial services and medical clinics) has increased a great deal since 1975. Just to maintain the status quo requires businesses to move to the next level in office productivity and implement a complete document management solution.
Almost every business in today’s workplace uses some type of document management system (including paper‐based systems) to maintain the documents used on a daily basis. Accounting departments maintain A/P and A/R files for customers and vendors. The sales department maintains orders for each of the customers. Customer service representatives maintain records on service calls and the service needed. A comprehensive electronic document management system (EDMS) can provide a method for storing all relevant documents about a particular customer or vendor allowing office staff to gain a total view of the customer or vendor. If the EDMS can be integrated into the point software solutions that each department uses, significant gains in productivity and efficiency can be gained. For instance the accounting department could access documents (orders, invoices, contracts, …) online from their accounting application. Sales could access documents from their CRM (customer relationship management) software. The goal of an EDMS should be the software glue that ties the different software packages together in such a manner that all departments in a business gain efficiencies.
A document management solution is a system that can replace not only the paper files and documents in an office, but enable the user to send an electronic document through the same steps a paper document or file would follow. For instance, if a financial services firm has a new account form that is filled out for each client account and it must proceed from the agent to the trader and then to accounting, then a document management system must provide the same path. So a true management system not only provides storage, but must provide the same workflow capabilities. Along the way it must also protect documents so that only the necessary people can view them. An example, might be a medical clinic which must comply with HIPAA regulations. Patient records must be kept confidential and an audit trail kept for all record access. An EDMS is a step up from the point solutions like spreadsheets and word processors as the entire office must be capable of using them. Therefore they must be easy and straightforward to use and ideally would integrate with other applications the office is already using with a minimum of effort.
Memphis Communications Corporation can help your office determine your ROI through a Document Management System. For further information or a live demo, contact us today by phone or by emailing Shell Berry at [email protected].
Insight from Cabinet