July 09, 2023

Benefits of replacing paper documents with an enterprise content management (ECM) system for all business units

How an enterprise content management (ECM) system that replaces paper documents benefits all business units

Benefits of replacing paper documents with an enterprise content management (ECM) system for all business units

Using an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system provides accounting department with enormous benefits, including efficiency gains, cost savings and, if implemented correctly, a significant return on investment. But other departments may resist using an ECM system, often because they don't see how ECM can improve their processes and way they work.

The legal sector's resistance to enterprise content management (ECM) is either due to regulatory compliance or a lack of understanding of validity of digital documents. Long time legal practitioners often feel that in order for a contract to be legally binding, they need to keep original wet (ink) signed document. While this may be true in some cases, environment is rapidly evolving and there is a growing trend towards use of electronic signatures offered by VeriSign and other companies.

The sales team resisted using digital document management as it would change way they interact with customers. Sales representatives are more accustomed to sitting face to face with clients or potential clients and signing paper contracts with them. It can be difficult for them to make switch until they are confident they can maintain high-quality human interaction through digital documents.

Overcoming resistance to ECM adoption

When you refer an ECM case to departments such as Legal and Sales, emphasize value of continuing to use paper documents. In addition to overheads such as office supplies, document storage, etc., employees have to spend a lot of time on a bunch of messy files, and this also affects responsiveness of department.

For example, if you are thinking about sales process, there can be many exchanges between sales representatives, customers, and operators before you finally form an offer and place an order. In a situation where several people are doing iterative work together, paper process will be much slower and more resource intensive than using electronic documents in a digital workflow. In a digital workflow, you not only save time by eliminating manual transmissions, but you can also work on multiple parallel tasks at same time.

A fast process not only saves you time and money, but also increases your flexibility and responsiveness, which directly affects customer satisfaction.

This flexibility in sales process can also increase speed and efficiency of accounting, which will have a significant impact on cash flow. In a paper based system, it can take up to 30 days from time accounting team creates paper invoice and mails it to client before funds finally arrive in your bank account. However, in a purely digital situation, you can complete entire process within 24 hours, resulting inimproved financial position.

For legal departments, digital workflows can help reduce cycle times, automate much of approval process, and allow legal teams to automatically identify and resolve exceptions rather than looking at everything. In addition, audit trail in an enterprise content management (ECM) system is a big advantage for legal departments. For example, audit trails keep track of who accessed a document, when it was accessed, and any changes they made to document, all of which are viewable at any time.

HR departments can also benefit from implementation of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. When your organization hires new employees, your onboarding process is their first exposure to how your company operates. Digital processes eliminate need to mail back and forth job applications, speeding up onboarding, increasing employee satisfaction, and helping new hires onboard faster, resulting in faster payback.

Whether you want to implement enterprise content management (ECM) in a sales department, legal department, human resources department, or another department, start by choosing one process where you think ECM will have greatest impact on user satisfaction and end result. For example, in sales, you may want to focus on process of generating offers. By doing one process at a time, you can improve your department's key performance indicators (KPIs), achieve some early results, and make it easier to deploy ECM to other parts of your organization.

Want to learn more about how ECM can benefit your organization? Click here to learn about 5 benefits of document management in midsize companies.