27 Sep 6 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your EDMS
Government agencies rarely have the budget to chase after every shiny new object, which makes it difficult to know when it’s the right time to upgrade your Electronic Document Management System (EDMS).
Year-after-year, agencies delay modernizing their enterprise systems because it’s tough to weigh the potential benefits against the costs and risks associated with the change, coming to that calculated decision – “Do we need it right now?” Sometimes, the answer is yes. Sometimes, it can wait.
To help you make this decision, Access Sciences’ records management experts put together a list of six signs it’s time to upgrade your EDMS:
#1 YOUR SYSTEM IS AT OR NEARING ITS END-OF-LIFE
Once a system becomes outdated, it’s common for a vendor to gradually end support services for that version. If you’re experiencing this, it’s a big sign it’s time to move on and upgrade.
Holding on to an old, unsupported platform leaves you in a very vulnerable position. If it breaks and vendor support is no longer available, you’re left with limited options. At that point, you may be forced into a hasty upgrade.
#2 YOUR SYSTEM’S SCALABILITY HAS MET ITS LIMIT
It’s important to take a good look at the scalability of your current EDMS and determine if it’s going to continue to meet your needs as your organization grows.
If you implemented your system ten years ago, the volume of your records has grown over time. Consider your document milestones – there’s a significant difference when it comes to managing 100,000 documents, one million documents, or ten million documents. As your repository, and the expectations of your user base grow, the ability to scale your infrastructure to meet demands may reach system limits, resulting in sub-optimal performance or unexpected downtime. If this is an issue, it’s time to upgrade your EDMS.
#3 YOUR CURRENT SYSTEM DOESN’T MESH WITH OTHER APPLICATIONS
If your EDMS doesn’t easily support integration with other applications, you may want to consider an upgrade. Modern document management systems support open standards and APIs (like CMIS) and offer tight integrations with common document management and processing applications (like Kofax Document Capture or DocuSign) to streamline processes, decreasing the need for manual intervention and increasing productivity.
Modernizing can also help you connect with other agencies’ systems to streamline inter-agency processes – if both parties are taking advantage of these standard APIs. On an outdated system, transferring records can be manual and time-consuming, orchestrated using complex and fragile custom integrations.
#4 YOUR SYSTEM CAN’T KEEP UP WITH LEGISLATION
The laws governing state agencies are constantly changing. New data handling requirements are modified so frequently that it can become hard to keep up. Agencies must update their systems to ensure they are continually compliant with these requirements.
For example, the guidelines for handling documents with personal protected information (PPI) can be altered from time to time. In Louisiana, driver’s license numbers were recently added to the list of PPI, which means that form of personally identifiable information (PII) is no longer subject to disclosure via public records request. To address this need to manage sensitive information, and other new privacy requirements, your EDMS should have robust access controls and sophisticated information protection mechanisms.
If your EDMS isn’t flexible – or doesn’t have the capability to keep up with the changes, it may be time to upgrade your system.
#5 YOUR WEB-BASED SYSTEM IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH MODERN BROWSERS
EDMS platforms are often web applications that rely on third-party browsers for feature delivery. If your EDMS is not compatible with modern browsers, it may be time for an upgrade.
Even if your organization continues to support the specific outdated browser and version your EDMS application relies on, your user adoption will likely fall since employees will often hesitate to use an application if they can’t quickly access it on their favorite modern browser.
This issue is further magnified if your EDMS is public facing. If users are unable to access it on their most current browser, they will either (1) contact your staff for help or (2) give up. Either way, it’s a frustrating situation that can ultimately discourage people from using your system.
#6 YOU CAN’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MODERN CAPABILITIES
Yes, there are a lot of nice-to-haves when it comes to document management systems, but some modern capabilities can be extremely valuable.
When it came to LDEQ’s EDMS redesign, its users (the agency staff and the public) found huge benefits in the new faceted search capability, which uses several levels of pre-determined filters to narrow down the search for desired documents. This capability makes it much easier to locate what you need, saving significant time for both internal and external users.
The staff and public had also requested the ability to save searches, receive email alerts for new documents, and navigate a more intuitive design. Again, once delivered, these features proved to save a lot of users’ time and greatly increased user adoption.
If your outdated system can’t take advantage of modern capabilities to deliver a rich user experience, you may want to consider an EDMS upgrade.