Our Comprehensive Guide to Electronic Documents & EDMS
Sharing information and signing off on documents, projects, and invoices, are all common functions of a working environment. The challenge of the past few years, with lockdowns and working from homes, being able to continue this process has presented some challenges.
Workplaces have moved into the world of EDMS for remote working employees and their whole organisation.
What are EDMS? This article will explain what they are, the benefits to you and the best systems to consider when moving into e-document compliance.
What Are E-Documents?
You can probably tell that the “E” in E-documents stands for electronic. This over-simplifies the term, however.
In the context of this article, and the EDMS being discussed, an e-document is more than a shared Google Doc, more than a Word document in a shared DropBox folder. The term encompasses a far wider range of documentation, all readable by machines, via a shared software platform.
The types of documents included in the family of e-documentation can include:
- Purchase orders
- Despatch notifications
- Rosters and other scheduling documentation
Why Do We Need Electronic Documentation?
Moving to an electronic-based system for using and filing documents is growing in popularity and convenience. And it’s no wonder organisations are doing this. There are many advantages to electronic documentation over a paper-based system.
- No lost files – Paper files can be taken from a filing cabinet, and unless there is a registry of who accessed those files, who knows what can happen to them.
- Reduce paper – A growing awareness of climate change and carbon footprints is making companies find ways to be more ecologically sound. E-documents reduce the amount of paper in your office and the amount of paper waste in your office. You can do your bit for the environment by doing something convenient for your team.
- Version Control – which version of a file is the most up to date version? If you have the file open to do some edits, and someone else does too when you save, there can be a file conflict. And whose changes are correct and override the other? An editing and version argument over the Oxford Comma can be dramatic.
- No lost documents – If an employee works on a file and saves it locally, how does anyone else access it? With an EDMS, all files are held centrally and accessed by anyone with the proper permission.
- Improve day-to-day operations – if management needs to access a document to help with decision making quickly and easily, those decisions are made quickly and easily. If the same management has to chase down files, call staff so they can email files and documents, and there are discrepancies in the version, this will grind the decision making to a halt.
- Secure your confidential documents – if all files are stored in and accessed in a central location, you can secure that location. Anti-virus and other electronic security; user names and passwords can be logged and given custom privileges for each employee.
Organising the Chaos: What Are EDMS?
An EDMS is an Electronic Document Management System. It is a secure system used to store, manage and retrieve documents for anyone authorised to do so.
The management system provides security, search functionality, mobile functionality, editing and version control and much more. It is like having one filing cabinet that anyone with the correct key can access, and the file is always returned so the next person can use it.
Have you ever shared a Dropbox or a GoogleDoc with a colleague? Are files for a project saved on someone’s laptop so they can take it home and work on it? You struggle to get the file back to do your own work or the work you do conflicts with someone else’s file version, and there are disagreements and harsh words. Does this sound familiar?
EDMS saves you from those harsh words. You can access the file, see what work has been added or deleted, and more.
What Are Some Benefits of EDMS?
Benefits of an EDMS include convenience and security. Let us show you:
Convenience of an EDMS
If given permission, you can log into your EDMS and access files and images anywhere. You can work in a cafe while on your laptop or access documentation on your smartphone while riding the train to work.
You don’t have to wait for someone else to finish using the document before you can read and comment. If someone accidentally leaves the file open, that is not a concern for you.
You can easily search through an EDMS for the documents you need, or even what is in a document. This saves you a lot of time.
Security of an EDMS
The Admin can assign usernames and passwords for employees only, so you can monitor who logged in and accessed which files.
A document creator can assign access to certain people only, stopping random people from deciding to have an opinion on a document.
A central location can be electronically protected easier than multiple locations.
If an employee is terminated, their access can be removed just as quickly, preventing the theft of IP.
How Has COVID & General Move Towards Digital Changed The Application of E Documentation?
Covid threw many businesses into chaos, with lockdowns and the need to work from home. Even though the world has started to open up again, a desire for people to continue to work from home in some form has required businesses to accommodate this.
A lot more work is being conducted purely online. No longer could you print something off and hand it to a colleague. With isolation and remote working, that just wasn’t possible.
Look at how popular Zoom became during the lockdown. We needed an easy-to-use method for large, online meetings. While some organisations used Teams, Zoom’s simplicity and price made it the popular choice.
Aligned with this growth in online communication was the need for online file sharing. More than just ‘cloud computing’, organisations needed secure storage and access for their employees in such a way that it wouldn’t impact the day-to-day workflow.
Organisations have now discovered, post-lockdown, that the systems implemented during Covid, worked, often better than their old systems.
- A hybrid work model of some days at home, and some in the office, has kept employees happy and productive.
- Secure and easy file sharing has allowed team members to work together smoothly.
- A central resource of information has allowed people to find resources they need without disturbing anyone else for access or asking them where a certain file or document is.
- This improved efficiency saved time, improved morale, and improved an organisation’s bottom line.
What Industries Could Benefit Most From Electronic Documents & an EDMS?
The higher education sector can be one of the biggest benefactors of this technology. In fact, Hague Australia works with leading institutions in Australia with some great success with PremiumCert.
Being able to access official course material, or have assignment groups being able to coordinate their work with one version, 24 hours a day, is great for the students. Then having access to their certificates of achievement, wherever and whenever they need to, is extremely valuable.
For the teachers, being able to enter grades and share this information with other teachers in the course, to have notes and assets online that only students enrolled in their subjects can access, is fantastic.
The power of PremierCert can work on both sides of the recruitment fence.
If you’re a recruiter, you can upload and store information about anyone who applies for a position. Any staff member associated with the recruitment can view the resumes and cover letters and comment on the candidate.
You can also keep their details on file and see if they have applied for multiple roles.
For candidates, you can create an online profile to apply for jobs quickly and easily. If you’re out and about and get an alert for a job, you don’t need to wait until you get home to find your resume to apply. You can tag the resume you have online, simple.
Patient records are confidential and need to be kept secure. They also need to be accessed by specialists, and doctors, in different locations. If you move house and change GPs, or you’re on holiday and need emergency care, having a secure central storage location for your medical files could literally save your life.
If you are a member of the allied health industry, having up to date patient files helps you with their treatment. If the patient can also view those records, you can set them at-home rehab exercises or send reminders for what treatment they will be having.
Hague Australia helps the healthcare industry with Premiercert and queue management.
A critical component of training organisations is the consistency of their documentation. If you have multiple trainers training at different companies around the country, you need to ensure the content they use is the same.
It is also a compliance issue. There are government regulations around what training courses must include and what competencies must be covered. These are standard, Australia-wide.
For students or people being trained, this consistency is a relief. You can go in, see what you’ll be taught, what information is there, if any readings are required, and so on.
This way, when you’re all in the classroom, each student is on the same page.
Secure & Convenient: This is Where PremierCert Comes In
You need to know that the online documentation you have for your staff or your clients is safe and secure, and confidential. You also want it to be easily accessible to the right people without too much hassle.
PremierCert is your solution. A purely online SAAS based system with a heap of applications and uses.
- Totally online, no need to install apps or software to use it.
- It can be linked to PayPal for any financial transactions.
- Easy to customise to fit your educational institution or workplace.
- Profiles can be created, and accessed quickly via QR codes, or time-limited authentication keys.
PermierCert+ doesn’t need your IT teams to be involved with daily maintenance or security. This frees them up to manage your core systems and leave the security of online documentation and certification to PremierCert+.
What Measures Are in Place to Meet Data Security Guidelines with PremierCert?
PremierCert+ is protected and managed by an ISO 27001 & 9001 accredited organisation. Their core business is to make sure systems are running flawlessly and in line with all security guidelines.
How Can This Benefit Me in Terms of E-Document Compliance?
One of the ways Hague Australia, and PremierCert+, help you is by understanding the compliance needs of your documentation and the storage and security of said documents. You don’t need to know all the rules and regulations, leave that to us.
What this means for you is that you don’t need to worry about not being compliant. You’re protected from any legal issues surrounding compliance, thanks to PremierCart’s expertise and help.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Using Electronic Documents?
There are very few real disadvantages to using electronic documents. Some people like to have certificates in their hands, so they can display them. This is fine, you can easily print out your documents.
If your internet is cut off, you would be unable to access your digital documents. That would be considered a disadvantage; however, you haven’t lost them. As soon as you reconnect, there they are.
With the level of online connection we have these days, online certification is more advantage than disadvantage. Just think of the Proof of Vaccine we were able to show thanks to a digital certificate on your smartphone.
With the movement to online study, working and studying from home, having an electronic document management system, in particular PremierCert+, is not only more important than ever, but also more convenient than ever. Thanks to up to date security measures and document control, you can customise the experience for both staff and customers.
You can save a lot of time for students and customers inquiring after documents, and lessen the burden on help desks for people chasing documents.
Hague Australia is here to help you get on board the digital documentation super highway.