Employees can waste up to five hours per week searching for digital documents. That is time spent doing nothing – no work, no productivity, no innovation. 

The solution to this issue is electronic file management (EFM). This system not only reclaims this lost time but provides a more robust approach to document security and accessibility. 

By implementing the right software, organizations enable real-time editing and feedback, streamline document retrieval, and foster a collaborative workspace no matter the location. It is a foundational strategy to drive significant cost savings through document management.

What is Electronic File Management?

Electronic File Management (EFM) organizes, stores, and retrieves documents – replacing traditional paper files. This system speeds up information retrieval and reduces physical storage costs through improved search functions and indexing. 

For enterprises of all sizes, EFM provides improved data security, supports regulatory compliance, and facilitates remote collaboration. Businesses across manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and oil & gas sectors use EFM to ensure data accuracy and mitigate risk in fast-paced environments. It is a foundational concept for modern business.

Five Best Practices for Electronic File Management

For an organization to tap into the full potential of what electronic file management has to offer, it is important to follow best practices. It begins with establishing clear guidelines to avoid any type of waste. Here are five electronic file management best practices:

  1. Establish a Clear Organizational Structure

Make things simple and intuitive. Design a logical folder hierarchy that mirrors the organization’s established workflow. This facilitates quick and easy file access. Structure folders by department, project type, and access level. Finding a file should not be a confusing and therefore frustrating experience for a user. This organization minimizes time spent searching and supports better file management practices.

  2. Implement Consistent Naming Conventions

Did you know that 80% of employees will recreate documents if they cannot find them? Avoid this waste of resources. Develop standardized naming conventions that include project names, dates, and version numbers. This will streamline file searches and sorting. Consistency in file names reduces confusion and improves clarity across all departments. This means that every team member can quickly locate and utilize documents as needed.  

  3. Enforce Version Control Procedures

Protect documents from avoidable mistakes. Implement version control procedures to maintain oversight of document modifications. Utilize timestamping and version numbering to track changes and prevent the use of outdated or conflicting file versions. This type of system ensures that all team members access the most current documents. It protects data integrity and consistency across the organization.  

  4. Regularly Review and Update File Permissions

Keep systems and operations up to date. Consistently review and update file access permissions and make sure that only authorized users can access sensitive information. Conduct periodic audits of user permissions. Update to new security needs, staffing, or regulatory changes. This practice prevents unauthorized access while maintaining compliance with legal standards.

Regular monitoring allows for swift remediation actions, safeguarding data integrity and ensuring compliance with regulations.”
Forbes Technology Council

  5. Backup Data Regularly and Securely

Avoid unnecessary data loss. Implement a backup strategy to protect against data loss from hardware failure, cyberattacks, or natural disasters. Regularly save copies of files to both on-site and off-site locations. These backups should be encrypted to prevent unauthorized access. The dual-location storage will secure the data while improving disaster recovery capabilities.

What are the Benefits of Electronic File Management?

Looking for reasons why EFM systems are worth investing in? Adopting an EFM offers a wide array of advantages, from process to costs to security. Here are four key benefits of electronic file management:  

  1. Increase Efficiency & Productivity

Get the most out of workers’ time and resources. EFM eliminates manual tasks and expedites document retrieval and sharing. Proactive document control drastically cuts down on the time employees spend searching for and distributing files. The acceleration of document handling boosts overall productivity by minimizing tasks. It allows staff to focus on more important aspects of their work.  

  2. Improve Collaboration

Foster a culture of working together and breaking down silos. EFM allows teams to access and edit documents simultaneously from any location. This real-time interaction speeds up decision-making and facilitates a more dynamic and connected working environment. Such accessibility means that projects move forward swiftly and efficiently. It is about keeping all team members well-informed and engaged.

  3. Better Security and Compliance

Protect systems and data without sacrificing compliance. The best EFM systems improve security through features such as access controls, encryption, and audit trails. These elements keep sensitive documents protected against unauthorized access and breaches. Additionally, electronic file management software makes compliance easy. It easily mitigates risks while reinforcing data integrity.  

  4. Cost Savings

Do not spend when there is no reason to. EFM significantly cuts costs by reducing paper use, storage demands, and the time spent on manual engineering document management tasks. These efficiencies decrease direct spending on materials and space while improving staff productivity. Resources can now be diverted towards more strategic activities. The streamlined system finds substantial financial wins across the organization.

Types of Electronic File Management Systems

What an EFM looks like in practice depends on its setup, infrastructure, and deployment methods. Understanding the different types of document control systems can help enterprises choose the most suitable system.

  1. On-Premises

An on-premises electronic file management system stores data on company-owned servers and equipment. This setup provides organizations with full control over their file management and security protocols.

It is ideal for businesses requiring stringent data control and immediate access without relying on internet access. However, it requires an upfront investment in infrastructure and ongoing maintenance. Also, by nature, an on-premises EFM is not flexible and does not cater to workers in various locations, which may be a problem depending on the business.

  2. Cloud-Based

Cloud-based systems store data on servers managed by external providers. That means the data can be accessed from anywhere with internet access. This type provides flexibility, scalability, and reduced IT overheads because providers handle system maintenance and upgrades.

Further, security and compliance are managed through encrypted connections and regular audits. It is appropriate for enterprises looking to minimize initial costs and utilize the potential of advanced IT frameworks.

  3. Hybrid

Hybrid EFM systems are what they sound like. They combine the security features of on-premises setups with the accessibility of cloud services. This type allows sensitive documents to be kept on-premises while less important data can be stored in the cloud for easier accessibility, collaboration, and scalability.

Hybrid models offer flexibility in managing document access levels. They are particularly beneficial for organizations transitioning from traditional to modern IT environments without the need for a full-scale infrastructure overhaul.


Overview of electronic file management system types: on-premise, cloud-based, and hybrid solutions.

Choosing the Best Electronic File Management Software

What is the best electronic file management software for an organization? It is an important decision. When evaluating EFM software, consider these four factors:

  1. Scalability

Think about the future and the goals of the business. Consider software that can scale with the growth of an organization. The ideal system should accommodate an increasing volume of files and users without a drop in performance. This capability means the software can support an enterprise on a long-term basis. It adjusts to higher demands as the business expands.

  2. Integration Capabilities

What is the current setup and layout of the organization’s software? Choose EFM software that easily integrates with existing systems and tools. Consider capability with operating systems, email clients, and other regularly used tools. Prioritizing smooth integration will simplify workflows while eliminating the inefficiencies of operating disparate systems.  

  3. Security Features

Protect data at all costs. Look for software offering comprehensive security measures, including encryption, access controls, and audit trails. These features protect sensitive information while ensuring the system adheres to industry regulations and compliance standards. Robust security protocols safeguard data from unauthorized access and cyber threats.

  4. User-Friendliness

Keep things simple and get results. Select user-friendly software to help with quick adoption and minimal training requirements. Software that is intuitive and easy to navigate will improve productivity while reducing any potential pushback from users. Consider what type of support and training solutions are offered by the vendor.

Accruent’s RedEye: Best Electronic File Management System

Accruent’s Redeye is a leading electronic document management system that provides a centralized platform for managing files throughout their lifecycle. It provides comprehensive accessibility, security, and full compliance with regulatory standards. For many users, it is an indispensable tool, especially for those in industries with intensive documentation needs such as manufacturing, oil & gas, and pharmaceuticals.


Accruent's RedEye Dashboard, displaying project data and document control system information.

Some key benefits of Accruent's RedEye are the following: 

  • Centralized Document Control: RedEye centralizes document management, allowing users to easily store, search, and retrieve files from a single repository. 
  • Regulatory Compliance Tools: It includes features that automate compliance processes by keeping records of all changes and using audit trails. This means documents are up-to-date and meet industry regulations such as FDA for pharmaceuticals, ISO for manufacturing, and EPA for oil and gas.
  • Integration with Industry-Standard Software: RedEye integrates with other software systems like ERP, CRM, and project management tools. 
  • Lifecycle Management: From creation to archiving, RedEye manages documents at every stage of their lifecycle, ensuring they are accessible but secure at all times.
  • Advanced Security Features: The system protects documents and data through encryption, rigorous access controls, and continuous monitoring.

RedEye Is the Most Advanced EFM Software on the Market

Accruent’s Redeye sets the standard for electronic file management. Unlike general providers, the powerful software is specifically designed for document management and the needs of industries dealing with a high volume of information. It ensures improvements in compliance, processes, and efficiency. It is shepherding a future rooted in productivity and innovation. 

Want to know more? Learn about the RedEye difference, and schedule a demo today.

Electronic File Management FAQs

What is an electronic file management system?

An electronic file management system (EFM) is a digital solution designed to organize, store, and retrieve documents electronically. This system replaces traditional paper files by digitizing documents. It improves accessibility and security while facilitating easier and faster retrieval of information.

How do you keep track of electronic files?

Within an EFM system, electronic files are kept track of through indexing, categorization, and metadata. Utilize a consistent naming convention and regularly update file directors to keep information straight. Additionally, document version control and audit trails help organizations trace documents.

How do I organize my electronic files?

Organize electronic files by developing a structured filing system that categorizes documents in a logical hierarchy. Utilize folders and subfolders labeled according to specific criteria such as project name, date, or document type. Use metadata tags and a consistent naming convention for files for easy organization and retrieval.

What are some examples of electronic file systems?

Examples of electronic file management systems include SharePoint, Google Drive, Dropbox Business, and RedEye by Accruent. Each system offers unique features such as collaborative tools, cloud storage options, and specific compliance measures catering to diverse business needs and regulatory standards. Research the benefits of each one to find out what is best for an organization.