The EDMS, or Electronic Document Management System, is a variety of DMS (Document Management System), in which files and documents are stored digitally, usually on a computer or other device that can access files and networks.
Often with EDMS, the files will be stored over a shared network within the office environment or via the web with cloud hosting, but sometimes files are stored on one single computer.
The EDMS is widely considered to be the future replacement for standard, paper based document management, though it is already starting to have a major impact in a lot of companies across the world. This is because of the variety of benefits that an Electronic Document Management System offers above the traditional form of document management. These include better efficiency, space saving, saving of costs as well as improvements in staff morale, better environmental effects among many other reasons that are applicable to the particular company that is using the system.
EDMS's offer the ability to search, locate and retrieve files and documents very quickly using simple text searches on a computer system. When the documents are originally saved they are indexed, a process of naming the files after particular elements of the document itself, such as reference number, client name, date and anything else that is relevant. This means that by simply typing in one of the relevant items, the document can be found almost instantly, compared to searching through a traditional document management system which can take a considerably longer time. Electronic document management systems are also able to use OCR'd documents, files which have been scanned into a digital file and then have been scanned once more by specialist software to extract the words and characters from the page in order to make the digital file text searchable. This means that a file that was once a physical piece of paper can be digitised and searched in its entirety, which makes searching for keywords or researching particular projects much simpler as all documents can be found regarding the particular keyword or key phrase in a very quick time.
Space is saved using an electronic document management system due to the fact that, if possible, the original paper documents can then be disposed of once the digital copies have been made. This means that office space can be reused more efficiently as all the files will be stored on a hard-drive instead of in cupboards, drawers and storage facilities. If a company is storing their documents with a document storage facility, as many lawyers and solicitors have to legally, this can be a thing of the past as EDMS means that the files are stored on your own systems, with no monthly costs or expensive and time consuming retrievals, as the documents are available to access at all times from all systems that are able to view the source location. This can be a huge cost saver.
The EDMS is becoming widely popular within larger companies throughout the world, as OCR and indexing services continue to improve all the time, but is just as easily accessible to smaller companies too.