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The role of ECM technologies in document control

Dealing with the growing volume of corporate content generated on a daily basis poses a huge challenge for any organisation. With the recent popularity of the home office and remote work, this is even more evident. Companies are increasingly looking for ways to guarantee that employees can securely access information and perform their activities anywhere.

Structured / Unstructured Data

Around 80% of data generated by companies qualifies as unstructured content. This means that paper documents, digitised images, spreadsheets, and audio and video files do not have a single origin and are stored in a variety of ways, involving shelves, personal files, network directories, e-mail folders, cloud sharing services, and more. These characteristics significantly hinder controlling, locating and reusing information. This is different from structured content, which already comes in a more organised form. In these cases, there is usually a database, which controls information according to standardised data, such as dates, names, products and others, making the entire management process much easier.

It is in this context that ECM solutions prove their value, by allow unstructured content to be turned into structured content.

Benefits that ECM software can provide:

  • Organisation

Through a centralised repository, documents such as contracts, procedures, commercial proposals, and others are stored in an organised manner. This means files are no longer spread across a multitude of different locations.

Solutions such as SoftExpert ECM have an Add-In that allows documents to be opened and saved directly through Office applications, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook. SoftExpert ECM can also be integrated with Office 365 and Google Docs to edit documents.

  • Quick localisation

When content is managed on an ECM platform, this provides metadata that can be developed. This is additional information that helps to describe the characteristics of this content (data, phone number, address), which guarantees that it can be easily located and used whenever necessary.

In addition, more modern tools have the ability to perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which indexes information and allows keywords to be searched within text, PDF, image and other types of files.

  • Collaboration

If EDM (electronic document management) tools used to focus on storing and managing electronic files, ECM software offers new collaborative resources, such as workflows for content review and approval. That way everyone can keep tabs on the current status of documents, identify at which stage it is still pending and who is responsible. These resources also make it possible to guarantee that everyone is accessing the document’s most recent version, while also preventing problems that arise from using information that is not up to date.

  • Security and Productivity

With centralised content, security controls can be implemented to guarantee document integrity. ECM software generally provides robust resources that are also flexible, allowing for prevention of security violations by defining access controls by user, area, role, job role, metadata, and others.

Better content control prevents content from being recreated and makes it easier to share, which is a huge driver of productivity.

  • Content Anywhere

Most of today’s ECM solutions offer ways to access content through mobile devices, whether through an App or web access, with applications built to adapt to different screen resolutions and sizes, on devices such as smartphones and tablets.

To learn more about this and other benefits, we invite you to download our eBook “How to enhance document management at your company”, which shows strategies that can be implemented to provide control and improve productivity at your company.

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