It’s already well-known that information storage has become far more efficient than the old system of cabinets and cardboard boxes. But while many businesses are making use of Cloud technology and adopting digital document storage, there is still some hesitation in turning fully to electronic content management (ECM) systems.
Digital storage is faster, more convenient and much less costly that the alternative. But there is a wealth of statistical information that proves a business can achieve even greater levels of efficiency if the electronic documents they have stored are managed electronically too.
For example, according to ARMA, the international association for records and information managers, organizations misfile around 20% of their records. This not only makes finding them all the more difficult, but typically results in the loss of those documents completely, which in turn seriously affects businesses when it comes to decision-making terms.
So, what are the advantages that make an electronic content management system so valuable to a business operation? And how can it benefit your business?
5 Benefits Of Adopting ECM
In the old days, files and documents could easily be mislaid, slip through the cracks or simply be forgotten about. But an efficient ECM system is able to track the use and development of every file stored in it. This is because, with all of the files centralized in one searchable location, every interaction with these documents – whether it is an addition or edit – can be acknowledged and stored.
According to a recent study carried out by the US business strategy and consultancy company, Accenture, a majority of middle managers (59%) admit they have failed to find valuable information at times because of inadequate storage and distribution of information in their companies. Failure to find important information could lead to poor (and costly) decision-making.
The M-Files solution we use in Kefron’s ECM system finds files based on their subject (the ‘what’) rather than their location (the ‘where’), so it can be traced even if misfiled.
Developing a document, like a white paper, used to be a slow process, especially when it involved several contributors. With content continuously added to and updated, the version was always changing. So, keeping track of these versions, and maximizing control over document development, would become difficult.
But an electronic content management system makes it simple to maintain that control. Each contributor can record their comments and input in real time and at the same time. And because each version can be saved and stored individually, progression paths can be conserved for reference at any time, if needs be.
Digital document storage allows you to access documents virtually immediately, and remotely from anywhere. This is not only good for staff that need to search for specific information or collaborate on important documents, it is also good for customers seeking details. File retrieval is greatly streamlined, so there is less waiting and therefore, a much more improved customer service.
In a 2012 study by the McKinsey Global Institute, it was found that employees can spend as many as 1.8 hours on average every day searching and gathering information. That’s 9.3 hours per week, which translates to about 20% of the working week.
Adopting an electronic content management (ECM) system lowers the amount of printing, photocopying, and posting needed. Before the advent of the internet, documents were reproduced in hardcopy and then either distributed in-house or posted to other locations. The process was necessary, but also costly.
Digital document storage, however, makes sharing information paperless, negating the need to print anything before distributing it, ensuring significant savings. In fact, according to the EPA, a paperless office saves an estimated $80 per employee in printing costs per year. When Yale University decided to move away from paper in 2013, total savings worth $252,000 were recorded across just 3 university departments.
Perhaps the most important benefit to adopting an electronic content management system is the greater degree of security it lends to document storage. Security is always a concern, but recent years has seen an increase in malicious attacks. In fact, a 2016 Ponemon Institute report into corporate data breaches in the UK found that malicious or criminal attacks represented 51% of the incidents, up from 31% just 5 years earlier.
Whatever your company’s security policies might be, an ECM system can be programmed to apply them at all times. It also allows for automatic logging, report compilation and regular information auditing. And with refined document access capabilities based on specified contingencies such as individual users, project team members, executive group, or even role relevance, only the right people will be allowed to access sensitive documents.