Electronic Document Management

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Computer technology has moved along so quickly in the last 10 or so years that electronic document management is now a reality rather than a pipe dream. No matter what the size of the company or organization, the problem was probably always too much paper. Often enough, it still is. Solutions, however, are not only readily available but affordable as well. Today's hardware and software options make information flow much more smoothly than anyone in the workplace 30 or 40 years ago could possibly have conceived.

Making Electronic Document Management Happen

Making the move to an electronic document management system might seem like an insurmountable challenge. After all, every single document--whether it's a legal brief, human resources files, marketing fact sheets, or audit materials--will need to be digitized. That's where outsourcing and service bureaus come in to the picture.

Of course, planning is very important. First-rate systems have a lot of flexibility when it comes to the number of users on the system and of access locations. Security is especially critical today. Ideally a system will have both hardware and software controls, adequate data redundancy mechanisms, and ample protection against both hardware failure and software corruption. Programming should ensure that confidential information is encrypted at several levels by different methods.

Because the need for electronic document management solutions is so great, software developers, communications engineers, and management experts have developed any number of programs to solve the different information flow situations out there. It could be that an off-the-shelf program is more than adequate. On the other hand, maybe a tailored system would be ideal. The goals, of course, are improved efficiency, reduced paper flow, and cost savings. All are eminently achievable, and much more quickly than would have seemed possible even 15 years ago.

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