11 Benefits of Electronic Records Management Systems

11 Benefits of Electronic Records Management Systems

How digital records management can help your organization.

Records management is a vital part of any business that relies on large volumes of paperwork. Still, it can quickly become a chore to maintain folders, cabinets, and entire storerooms full of important documents. That’s where electronic records management comes into play. By digitizing records and storing them using an electronic records management system, businesses can tap into major improvements to efficiency, productivity, and decision-making that research shows may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of five years.

From better security to disaster prevention, here are 11 of the greatest advantages of employing electronic records management.

Our ultimate guide covers the benefits of records management, how to develop processes for your organization, and services that can help. Learn more here.

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Benefits of electronic records management systems

Reduced storage space

Every square foot of commercial real estate must be paid for, so it stands to reason that each should contribute to your organization’s bottom line. But filing cabinets, each of which takes up around 17 square feet on average, can quickly become a resource drain as your company grows. By shifting your record storage into the cloud or digital on-premises archives, you free up all that square footage for more desks, conference rooms, offices, and other productive uses of space.

Easier organization

Maintaining a physical organization schema requires time and effort. It’s easy to misplace a record; once it’s been organized incorrectly, it becomes significantly harder to find. In some cases, it may as well be lost.

Digital documents are far less tedious to store, organize, and retrieve than paper ones, cutting down on time spent maintaining proper organization and scouring cabinets for crucial bits of information. That leaves employees more time to do the work only they can do rather than spending it bogged down organizing files.

Did You Know?:Sharp Healthcare in San Diego uses Ricoh scanners to reliably scan around 600,000 documents each week. The scanners “simply do not fail," per the organization's Manager of Information Systems. Read the whole story here.

Protection from disaster

Physical papers are at constant risk of being destroyed by factors outside the control of the average business. Natural disasters such as fire and flood can destroy crucial paper trails. Even simple exposure to light or high levels of humidity can cause these records to degrade over time. Any loss to readability or access can disrupt day-to-day productivity, and records loss or destruction can endanger compliance. With electronic records management, however, records can be stored in the cloud. Once there, these documents are all but completely insulated from disastrous destruction.

Remote sharing

The average employee spends 60% of their time working with documents. Although it may seem quick and easy to walk a physical document over to another employee's desk, that time expands as the physical business does. Walking up a flight of stairs and across the office adds mounting inefficiencies to records sharing. Making the swap to digital records optimizes inter-office document sharing such that employees always have the information they need to do their work as quickly as possible.

Digital sharing is even more important for distributed teams. Sending a digital document to a remote worker can take just a few clicks, making it much faster than mailing or faxing. With electronic records management systems, workers anywhere in the world can retrieve the records they need at any time. They can even do so simultaneously alongside their colleagues, allowing for fast and easy collaboration.

Expedited information lookup

The time required to locate physical files in cabinets and other storage solutions can be drastically reduced with digital records management. Digital files can be indexed for content across several fields, and also be tagged with pertinent info, such as patient names or customer zip codes. This makes it easy to find relevant information in just a few seconds using powerful text and tag searches. As a result, employees can work more efficiently, pulling only the information they need precisely when they need it.

One study found that workers at businesses that store physical documents spent five hours per week looking for information. After digitizing, businesses cut the number down to three hours per week, resulting in a 40% increase in efficiency.

Informed decision-making

The need to retrieve paper records slows down an organization’s capability for agile yet informed decision-making. With quick and easy access to up-to-date records provided by electronic records management, leaders have all the information they need to make informed decisions. That brings about smarter, data-driven strategy and execution across the organization.

Enhanced security

Paper records can be secured using locked rooms and file cabinets, but even the best security measures are only as effective as their day-to-day implementation. Electronic records management systems can be set to automatically implement individual user passwords, encryption, and regular backups to prevent unwanted access by users outside the organization and minimize damage in the event of such access.

System backups

Every time a paper record is removed from its place in the filing system, it runs the risk of being lost. Records can also be destroyed by disasters. While physical copies lessen these risks, they introduce their own logistical hurdles. Digital files are immune to both problems thanks to search functionality, nearly limitless storage space, and the ease of creating backups. This ensures that even in the event of data loss, no important data vanishes.

Granular information control

Customizable user permissions make sure only those users who should have access to documents or information can get that access. Permissions can even be automated to update as a document moves through its lifecycle to ensure continued compliance. This substantially reduces the risk of customer information or other sensitive, need-to-know data being wrongfully accessed.

Regulatory compliance

Compliance requirements vary by location, industry, and the type of documents. Your records management process must be flexible and robust to minimize the risk of potential fines and other adverse legal ramifications. Electronic records management may help address that need by providing access controls, access history and audit support, and document lifecycle automation.

Cost savings

Paper is an expensive commodity. Beyond the raw material itself, purchased in huge volumes, businesses that work with it must further invest in storage solutions, printers, toner, folders, transportation, and more. Moving to electronic records management eases many of these costs. It also brings a less obvious, and perhaps even more valuable, cost savings. Through its many workflow efficiencies, electronic records management trims lost productivity. Workers spend less time searching for files, sharing them, scouring them for information, re-filing them, and losing them. That translates to a healthier bottom line.

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Our recommendation: Ricoh fi Series scanners

Those in the market for electronic records management have no shortage of options. We take great pride in having spent the last 50+ years researching, designing, and developing some of the most advanced and powerful electronics in the world, including our professional grade fi series of scanners.

Built to purpose for the most demanding document handling jobs, fi scanners are capable of processing tens of thousands of pages per day at the highest levels of accuracy. Their intuitive integration capabilities with all existing work suites minimize time-to-value for businesses looking to invest in tools that will pay dividends for years to come.

If you’re looking to digitize your workflow and integrate electronic records management, the fi scanner lines stand ready to help. These robust scanners and their integrated software solutions can rapidly turn file cabinets overflowing with records into neatly organized digital files, freeing up your workers to focus on creating value. No matter the size of your business, fi scanners have the solution for you. Click here to learn more or shop the rest of our production scanner line.

Note: Information and external links are provided for your convenience and for educational purposes only, and shall not be construed, or relied upon, as legal advice. PFU America, Inc. makes no representations about the contents, features, or specifications on such third-party sites, software, and/or offerings (collectively “Third-Party Offerings”) and shall not be responsible for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of such Third-Party Offerings. Please consult with a licensed attorney regarding your specific situation as regulations may be subject to change.