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The benefits and ROI of enterprise content management

Whether deployed within a single department — even a single business process — or deployed across an entire organization, the return on investment (ROI) of ECM can be very high.

Nucleus Research conducted a study on small and mid-size organizations (companies fewer than 500 people) that had adopted an enterprise content management system and found that for every dollar invested in ECM, the organizations experienced $8.55 in real-world benefits. That constitutes a 750% ROI.

Here was their summary:

Nucleus found that for small to medium businesses, investing in content management returns $8.55 in benefits per dollar spent. The key value drivers for these solutions are increased user productivity and cost savings from redeployed staff or avoided additional hires. As organizational transparency and the value of data continue to grow, companies that fail to fully leverage their own digital content will lag behind more savvy competitors.

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An ECM system adds value to almost every department in the organization. The benefits are seen in a variety of ways across divisions and departments, but they all have one thing in common: digital documents improve and facilitate work and reduce costs. In addition, an ECM system can ensure compliance and ensure the security of documents within the business since digital documents are much safer to store than paper. Integration into existing processes within the organization is also easier.

The implications of this new approach for documents are therefore generally similar. Within individual departments, however, there are additional synergies that offer advantages for users, departments and consequently the entire enterprise.

Use electronic signatures for legally binding documents

Many users of traditional documents and contracts still assume that a document only becomes legally binding if it has been signed by hand. This is no longer true. Electronically signed documents are legally valid in many fields and there are numerous opportunities to accelerate and significantly optimize business processes. Contractual partners can find each other faster, business is done faster, time is used in optimal manner and not wasted by sending paper documents.

The trend is increasing toward electronic signatures, if only because of the ever-advancing internationalization and globalization of companies. Information must be accessible and available quickly and everywhere — including on mobile devices, of course.

Improve cash flow and invoice monitoring

In accounting, improved process execution through ECM drives higher cash flow. It still takes 30 days for payment to be remitted onto a bank account for invoices sent by regular mail. With digital invoices, this process can be shortened to days, hours or even minutes. In addition, the shipping and receipt of billing documents is easier to follow and made trackable.

When invoices are digitally captured, automating the approval process can achieve discounts and rebates and avoid payment reminders. ECM helps the processing, settlement, storage and archiving of incoming and outgoing invoices. This boosts the reliability of cooperation with suppliers. All processes that occur in the context of payment transactions are much more transparent and can be tracked more effectively.

Improve customer service and customer experience

Brochures, catalogs and other sales documents are often best delivered in digital form. Besides environmental considerations, handling electronic documents is significantly simpler since they are accessible everywhere, including via mobile devices.

With the correct information, customers can order products and services faster. And with accelerated business processes in the back office, more orders can be processed in less time.

In addition, sales documents in an ECM system are digitally indexed and fully searchable. This allows customers and employees to find important information instantly.

Finally, relationships between customers and employees are positively impacted with an enterprise content management system supporting their interactions. Employees can help customers faster and, most importantly, more effectively.

Improve information flow between teams

Enterprise content management improves response times as well as the accuracy of information flow within an organization.

No more paper

Electronic information is significantly less expensive than paper documents, and far more efficient to work with. Going paperless saves on costs like office supplies, storage, shipping and more – as well as working hours spent finding, organizing and managing paper documents.

Confident engagement with customers

The sales department often engages in extensive correspondence between the customer and seller. The documents that accrue are typically needed by several employees. If, on top of that, these individuals work in different departments, or phone support needs to provide answers to questions for the sales process, paper documents complicates things.

Faster approvals

Using an enterprise content management system significantly shortens approval processes and, above all, provides process transparency for everyone involved. The ECM system logs who accesses which document and when. This is also helpful for the legal department and all other individuals involved in the process. Of course, changes to documents can also be accurately logged, including the time, location and the changes made.

Expedited and enhanced recruiting

ECM also helps handle large volumes of job applications. Recruitment processes for new employees are faster when application documents and employment contracts are digitized, organized and findable. This also boosts a company's reputation when applicants see an organization that is adopting modern systems.

Next: Enterprise content management integrations

Resources

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Analyst Report

New ROI research: for SMBs, content management returns $8.55 per dollar spent

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