Case 1.1 Electronic Records Management (ERM)
Spring Street Company (SSC) wanted to reduce the “hidden costs” associated with its paper-intensive processes. Employees jokingly predicted that if the windows were open on a very windy day, total chaos would ensue as thousands of papers started to fly. If a flood, fire, or windy day occurred, the business would literally grind to a halt. The company’s accountant, Sam Spring, decided to calculate the costs of its paper-driven processes to identify their impact on the bottom line. He recognized that several employees spent most of their day filing or retrieving documents. In addition, there were the monthly costs to warehouse old paper records. Sam measured the activities related to the handling of printed reports and paper files. His average estimates were as follows:
Sam would prefer a system that lets employees find and work with business documents without leaving their desks. He’s most concerned about the human resources and accounting departments. These personnel are traditional heavy users of paper files and would greatly benefit from a modern document management system. At the same time, however, Sam is also risk averse. He would rather invest in solutions that would reduce the risk of higher costs in the future. He recognizes that the U.S. PATRIOT Act’s requirements that organizations provide immediate government access to records apply to SSC. He has read that manufacturing and government organizations rely on efficient document management to meet these broader regulatory imperatives. Finally, Sam wants to implement a disaster recovery system.
Prepare a report that provides Sam with the data he needs to evaluate the company’s costly paper-intensive approach to managing documents. You will need to conduct research to provide data to prepare this report. Your report should include the following information:
Ask the following questions when selecting an ERM:
Does the software meet the organization’s needs? For example, can the DMS be installed on the existing network? Can it be purchased as a service?
Is the software easy to use and accessible from Web browsers, office applications, and e-mail applications? If not, people will not use it.
Does the software have lightweight, modern Web and graphical user interfaces that effectively support remote users?
Before selecting a vendor, it is important to examine workflows and how data, documents, and communications flow throughout the company. For example, know which information on documents is used in business decisions. Once those needs and requirements are identified, they guide the selection of technology that can support the input types—that is, capture and index them so they can be archived consistently and retrieved on-demand.
Spreadsheets should show the following, plus graphs (data here based on 4 weeks/month):
Because documents are stored in a digital form, they can be copied to a secure and remote backup site and later re-created, if needed. Also, they are more secure than paper documents as physical access (a break-in) would still require access to secured documents. Documents also could be encrypted for greater security.
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