What is Electronic Document Distribution?
Electronic document distribution (referred to as EDD below) is the automated and intelligent circulation of information in a digital format. The circulation could be within an enterprise, with customers, with partners or a combination of these. The purpose of an EDD system is to get people the documents they need quickly and efficiently.
EDD systems should get documents to the people who need the information contained therein through existing channels and in common document formats. A fax transmission is a common transport for electronic documents that many businesses utilize. Computer based fax solutions make it easy for large and small businesses alike to communicate using this technology. However, electronic mail, with many advantages is quickly replacing the fax for business-to-business distribution. Electronic mail is also much more practical for business-to-consumer distribution.
Some business relationships require a tighter and more encompassing integration of systems than that mentioned above. Integrating information systems is really beyond the scope of an EDD system. EDD requires well defined documents, versus abstract data, because EDD systems share “documents” and not pure data, which is an important distinction to make.
Some common documents that businesses distribute electronically and benefit greatly from doing so include:
- Customer Invoices
- Explanation of Benefits
- Order Acknowledgments
- Purchase Orders
- Work Order
- Various Daily, Weekly and Monthly Reports – Across Industries
Why Should My Business Implement an EDD System?
It may be a cliché, but in business, ‘time is money’. Having an invoice in the hands of your customer today can mean a deposit to your bank account tomorrow. Having reports in the hands of your directors now can mean time-sensitive decisions get made today and not too late. Electronic mail and the fax machine made it possible to get documents in front of the right eyes this fast, at least on a one-off basis. If implemented properly, EDD can make that process easy, automated, painless, even routine, and even on a large scale. electronic stores channasandra
Electronic distribution is also “paperless distribution”, which has many benefits on its own. The benefits of the paperless office include savings on storage space, reducing clutter and cutting printing and print equipment costs to name a few. For more information on the paperless office, see my article entitled, “Moving Toward a Paperless Office”.
Lastly, more and more people are past embracing technology – they are demanding technologically advanced solutions. As a vendor or partner, if you cannot conduct business electronically, you just may not be eligible to do business with certain people or organizations. A move toward EDD is a move toward the future.
What Features Should I Seek in an EDD System?
First of all, the EDD system you select needs to work with your existing information systems to either generate or interpret the documents you need to circulate. The vendors for your existing systems may already have an EDD solution, so ask them first.