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Integrated document management key to efficiency


In the so-called information age, more is being generated than at any time in history; and it has been theorised that the average person today is bombarded with more information in a year than someone in previous centuries encountered in a lifetime.
Nowhere is this information overload more prevalent than in the modern workplace, which is producing and receiving more information then ever, in the form of both electronic and paper documents.

This is according to Jaap Nieboer, Mailstream Software solutions manager at Pitney Bowes in South Africa, which provides technologies and services to help organisations to gain efficiencies and strategically leverage their opportunities.
“These have to be stored in a methodical manner, which ensures their easy accessibility, to satisfy the demands of customers who require real-time answers to their queries,” says Nieboer.
“In addition, HIPAA privacy requirements and Sarbanes-Oxley international audit regulations demand that all documents be accurate and fully protected, regardless of the form they are in.
“It is therefore crucial for businesses wishing to maintain optimum efficiency to keep up with the latest document management technologies, while minimising costs."
Nieboer adds: “Keeping the total number of documents to a minimum is key to controlling them. Ideally, a document management system should link archiving and retrieval systems to a business’s entire document processing operation. This effectively minimises the use of paper in favour of digital storage; and eliminates superfluous duplication.
"When a business maximises the use of technologies that gather store, analyse and provide access to data, its staff are empowered to make better decisions.”
According to Nieboer, OpenEDMS Document Management Solution from Pitney Bowes is a web-based system that allows organisations to manage and share documents collaboratively in the Internet, Intranet and LAN environments. Furthermore, these documents are all accessible from a standard web browser.
OpenEDMS supports document access control, document version control, metadata management, advanced searches, retention and archive management, for a full document life cycle management.
“OpenEDMS integrates with MS Office documents, PDF documents, is able to convert documents to a common format, has an advanced image viewer (with over 180 different formats), and redaction, while file encryption and digital signature technologies also complement the offering.
OpenEDMS Record Management Solution is an extension to the OpenEDMS document management system that allows for file plan, record creation, record classification and record retention. It provides both software and services to manage critical business documents throughout their entire life-cycle from creation through final disposition.
The Workflow Management module is another valuable component of OpenEDMS. It supports document submission, review, approval, and distribution processing.
“It provides e-mail and instant message protocols for workflow events notifications, as well as a browser-based workflow manager. This allows users to conduct document submission, review and approval tasks,” says Nieboer.
“The documents can be digitally signed with PKI-based digital signatures and, when approved, converted into PDF format with watermark insertions. A key strength of the OpenEDMS Workflow Management module is its simplicity and user-friendliness; as well as its ease of installation and maintenance.
OpenEDMS also features a desktop application that connects to the OpenEDMS server from the Internet/Intranet. It uses the same server environment that serves for document management and workflow management transactions from the browser interface.
“An integrated document workflow system like OpenEDMS ensures that everyone is on the same page, literally and figuratively. Each area of the organisation will be able to access activities in other departments, thereby ensuring smoother, better integrated and more cohesive communication. This paves the way for all-round more effective and successful business,” Nieboer concludes.