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Electronic document management system

Electronic document management system

(also EDMS)

Electronic document management system definition

An electronic document management system (EDMS) is software used to store, manage, track, and control digital documents and scanned paper records.

See also: document versioning, backup, data retrieval

History of the electronic document management system

Late 1970s to early 1980s: EDMS emerged with the rise of computers. The main goal was to convert paper documents to digital form for easy storage and retrieval.

Late 1980s to 1990s: As computer and software technology advanced, so did the capabilities of EDMS. It evolved with advanced features like version control and metadata tagging. EDMS started replacing traditional filing cabinets in many industries.

2000s: The internet era and the onset of cloud computing brought a lot of changes to EDMS. Cloud-based EDMS solutions emerged, allowing online storage and easy sharing. Document access was now possible from any location, making remote work more feasible.

2010s and beyond: Emphasis shifted to security due to cyber threats. Modern EDMS began prioritizing safety, integrating better with other business tools like CRMs and ERPs.

EDMS components

  • Document repository. A central storage location where all documents are kept.
  • Metadata management. Tools that allow adding tags or descriptors to documents for easier organization and search.
  • Search engine. Users can find documents based on content, tags, or other criteria.
  • Access control. Security features that manage who can view, edit, or delete records.
  • Workflow engines. Systems that automate and streamline processes, like document approvals or reviews.
  • Version control. A feature that tracks changes to documents, ensuring older versions can be retrieved if needed.
  • Integration tools. Features that allow the EDMS to work in conjunction with other software systems.

EDMS use cases

  • Document retrieval. An EDMS allows quickly finding documents without sifting through filing cabinets or folders.
  • Collaboration. Multiple users can work on the same document at the same time. An EDMS ensures that changes are synchronized, and everyone has the latest version.
  • Regulatory compliance. For industries where document retention is governed by law, an EDMS ensures data is stored, archived, and can be retrieved as required.
  • Backup and disaster recovery. An EDMS can create automatic backups of documents so they can be restored in case of data loss.
  • Process automation. An EDMS can automate routine tasks like invoice approvals, contract reviews, and more.
  • Space saving. An EDMS reduces the need for physical storage space for paper documents.

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