If you are a reader of our blog you must have seen some ECM (Enterprise Content Managament) content around here. If so, you are probably familiar with the concept, but we will quickly refresh your memory.
According to AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management), ECM is a “dynamic combination of strategies, methods, and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver information supporting key organizational processes through its entire lifecycle”.
Many companies need ECM and haven’t even realized it yet. Others think ECM is dead. There are also those managers who have doubts about whether an Enterprise Content Management software is really the best option.
If you can relate to these cases, then grab your coffee, sit comfortably in your chair and get to know the main signs indicating that a company needs ECM.
Your company needs ECM when…
Before you start, keep in mind that there are several reasons why a company needs ECM. There are also several particular cases, but in this article we will give a general overview of some very common situations that we see around. Let’s go?
1 – …documents are disorganized and scattered
Documents are on your desk, in your colleague’s drawer, inside physical files, basically…. everywhere. Especially for administrative areas, such as HR, this can be quite a problem.
What happens if you don’t find the contract of a supplier? Or a sales order? Or even: what happens if you find it, but had to look around the whole company for it? This can be commonplace, but when it comes to dealing with paper documents, if we add up the time spent looking for them, we will certainly be worried and see how much we stop being productive.
Not to mention the cost involved in storing physical documents, as manual record keeping is expensive. Among costs with storage space, supplies, equipment maintenance, and processes involving labor and wasted time, your organization might be spending a lot of money without even realizing it. An effective ECM system can virtually eliminate these costs.
Ok, you can say: “but my documents are all scanned and made available in shared folders on the computer”. If this is your case, the situation has improved a bit, because at least you already understand the importance of being a paperless company.
However, what about the organization? With ECM, all your documents are organized. There is no need to worry about different naming conventions among employees or the incorrect completion of a document.
2 – …there is difficulty in finding the right documents
This is a very clear sign that your company needs ECM, and to explain it, we have a question: what happens if you need a specific document that brings special information?
If you have an ECM system, you won’t need to pick up document by document to search for such information. Just enter the solution, search for a term (or a date, an author etc.) that the system does all the work and finds what you are looking for in a matter of seconds.
3 – …any disaster can mean loss of information
You’re right not to want to think about it, but what would happen if some of your company documents were stolen today? Or if there were a disaster (a fire, for example)?
Once again, it’s not something we worry about (and of course we don’t want it either), but if your organization has risk management, the protection of information is something that shouldn’t be left out (and if you don’t perform risk management, it’s time to implement it in your company!).
Keep in mind that, with a disaster recovery system in place, the probability that you can continue working normally increases, even after an eventual problem. This is because with an ECM your information is protected.
4 – … there is no control over who accessed which documents
It even seems like a contradiction to talk about information security at a time when there’s so much discussion about it. However, one of the signs that a company needs ECM is when it has no access control over its documents.
An Enterprise Content Management software allows the author of the document to assign permissions to it, such as: permission to who can access it, change it, print it, among others.
Not to mention that it is common for organizations to store information about company policies and procedures in an individual or shared network folder. Or – believe me – on an employee’s desktop.
Without a central location to store this information, how is it possible to efficiently manage the distribution of information to new and existing employees? How to provide visibility for documents that employees have signed (or not)?
Corporate content management systems solve all these problems. Good software has functions that allow you to see which employees have reviewed the necessary policy documents and who has accessed what. The tip here is to invest in an ECM that includes an easily configurable workflow that automatically notifies employees – and other interested parties – when an action needs to be performed on a document.
This brings us to another matter:
5 – …it’s difficult to identify at which stage of the process a document is
That is another reason why your company needs ECM ASAP: imagine that a contract has been created for a client. There is a whole process that must be respected, which begins in the creation of the document and ends with the client’s signature.
Imagine that, for some reason, the document is forgotten in someone’s drawer. What do you do? Do you create a new contract?
Especially if the ECM is fully integrated with a BPM (Business Process Management), it is possible to create specific flows for any event to be carried out on a document. In addition, with an Enterprise Content Management tool the user is able to identify who the document is with, at what stage of the process it is and if there are any activities delayed (such as signing the contract).
6 – …it’s difficult to ensure compliance
Every organization has a compliance standard it must maintain, which can be on the internal, state or federal level. The implementation of an ECM with security features (such as access control and audit trails) helps companies to ensure that they are in full compliance and allows them to avoid fines and severe penalties.
In addition, good ECM systems allow the electronic signature of documents and release it in PDF/A format.
In closing: did the signs that your company needs ECM catch your attention?
In case you have identified your company in the items above, we have two invitations. The first one is to access our checklist to make sure that it is time to invest in ECM and the second one is to check our website and try it for 15 days free right now! Or, if you prefer, request a demonstration from our consultants.