Give it to me straight – what is electronic document workflow?

Posted On June 3, 2011 By Advance Blog

A compelling reason for going to a document management system is for speed through an electronic, collaborative workflow. For example, take the real estate market. In the past, the process of putting a house on the market, from a realty company back-end office standpoint, involved lengthy paper contracts, FedEx shipping costs, manual back-end office processes, and often lost or misplaced documents before the house could even hope to be listed and earn its place of glory on a realty website.

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With a document management software system, what was once a two week process is able to be cut down to just two days using a document management system and electronic workflow on the front- and back-end of the process. Through the simple acts of scan, capture, index, store, and distribute, a document management workflow is able to streamline processes and simplify the once paper- and process-intensive workflow and digitize it, making it easier to send documents and files through the system electronically than the physical act of walking the paper around the office or mailing it to your distribution center on the other side of the country. Workflow can be applied to a variety of processes, contracts, employee check requests, invoicing…If you can dream it, it can probably be done.

The examples could go on for hours, but the long and short of it is that document management is able to take a paper-based workflow and transform it into a more efficient, quicker, electronic one. It also allows for document collaboration. Instead of numerous emails with attachments floating through an organization and individuals all making edits to different versions of the same document, a document management system with a workflow integration allows for a collaborative effort with the document in one central location. This eliminates the “which document is the one with the most recent edits?” question.

Speed is a main driver for our contracts and billing departments here at Advance, but overall, it’s a result of the workflow and functionality of the documents we work on through a document management system that enables us to work more efficiently. AIIM Expert Blogger, Steve Weissman takes a look at workflow from the time when he recalls it was still used as two separate words.