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What is electronic document management?

Posted by Rory Jordan

27 July, 2023

12 min read

An electronic document management system (eDMS) is a software system for organising, storing, managing and tracking different types of documents.

Most electronic document management solutions can accommodate both digital and paper documents. An eDMS enables organisations to auto-capture, digitise, index, organise, store, share, deliver and secure business files, automating previously manual processes. It should be capable of integrating with the other systems your organisation uses, like  email, ERP and accounting systems.

Whatever types of documents you use in your business (invoices, purchase orders, delivery dockets, pick-lists, PoDs, contracts, certificates etc.), an eDMS can digitise them and store them in a centralised database. This enables you to find and access documents quickly and easily and makes it easier for your team to collaborate on them. It also means you can provide suppliers and customers with the information they need when they need it. This can save your company time and money, drive efficiency and increase productivity.

What can an electronic document management system do?

Here is a list of some of the main tasks an eDMS can help your organisation with:

  • Create and digitise documents.
  • Organise files with tagging systems, metadata searching and folders.
  • Archive files manually or automatically.
  • Turn paper based documents to digital files via scanning
  • Store them in a centralised database (on-premise or in the Cloud) that can be securely accessed in office or remotely.
  • Integrate with other platforms.
  • Enable sharing and facilitate collaboration.
  • Version control.
  • Access control.
  • Workflow.
  • Document Backup.
  • Data Security and Compliance.

A Centralised Database

While documents in a filing cabinet can only be found in one location and searched for in one way, digitally filed documents can be searched for in many different ways (by name, date, subject, PO number or key words).

Data Capture

Paper documents can be scanned and converted to digital files and digital documents can be auto-extracted out of email inboxes and filed in a designated area in your document management system.

Data Validation

Documents can be checked for errors like missing or incorrect information before the data is imported into the system. Checks can be built into the system according to an organisation’s rules and preferences. This flags and corrects mistakes at an early stage and ensures greater accuracy.


Document indexing organises documents with tags or other identifiers to make them easier to find. These could include client name, PO number, date, etc.

Version Control

As documents are constantly being changed and updated, it’s essential to be able to keep track of these changes. Version Control enables you to view a complete history of each document and see who changed it and when. It also ensures that everyone is working with the most up-to-date version of the document.

Access Control

With an electronic system you can control who has access to which documents and you can change the permission level as people move within the organisation or leave the company. You can also make certain documents on your database available to third parties, like clients or suppliers, while keeping others hidden.

Integration with your other business systems

A good eDMS system will be capable of integrating with your existing business systems (like your ERP, CRM or Accounting software). This means that you can retrieve documents from the eDMS system, all without leaving your ERP/accounts application. It allows facilitates a seamless flow of data between both systems.


You can increase the functionality of your eDMS to automate and manage more of your everyday business processes by adding on other modules, like Accounts Payable, Work Flow, Document Delivery, Client Document Access and more.

An eDMS can be hosted on-premise or in the cloud

You can decide which option suits you best, based on your organisation’s preferences and requirements.

Server-Based DMS

With a server-based DMS your data is stored on-premise and does not need an active internet connection. The server is managed by your IT Team and you are responsible for back-ups and recovery. These systems can be faster, as they are connected to the local area network.


This is hosted in the Cloud. Documents are stored on a remote server that is managed by the eDMS provider. It facilitates remote collaboration by enabling users to access files from any device instantly.

Makes documents accessible anytime from anywhere

A Cloud-based eDMS makes your files accessible anytime, anywhere so your sales team can access them on the road without having to go through head office or you can give your clients or suppliers access to the data they need. This saves your organisation time and money and enables you to make data-driven decisions.

Back-Up and Disaster Recovery

Having an eDMS in place provides peace of mind that your documents are protected. If your organisation suffered a data breach or fire or flood damage, you would be able to recover your documents and minimise downtime.

Compliance and Data Security

With increasing regulations around how you handle personal data, an eDMS will help you to safeguard the personal data you store helping you ensure you meet your GDPR obligations. It also reduces the risk of fraud. Full document visibility and traceability and the ability to clearly see who did what when means you have a full audit trail.

Want to find out more about the benefits an electronic document management system can deliver for your organisation?

Are your filing cabinets overflowing? Do you spend endless time searching for documents or chasing down paperwork? Does your team waste countless hours on manual data entry? Do you struggle to identify which is the latest version of a document? Can you share and collaborate on confidential documents securely? Are you meeting your compliance obligations in relation to storing client data?

At Enterprise Imaging Systems (EIS) our electronic document management and accounts payable solutions have been helping clients save time, money and a whole lot of hassle for over 20 years. If you’d like to find out more about what our leading document management solutions can do for your business, talk to one of our experts today.