Rethinking document and data management
What does the ‘E’ in EDMS stand for?
“…an ‘E’xcellent technology which goes beyond the boundaries of digitizing”
One of the reasons I was excited to join WRENCH was its honest view of information technology as a digital solution to human weaknesses. I found this interesting compared to other IT companies which are quite conservative about end-to-end digitization, even today. If you think of the problems in creating, storing, sharing engineering data, it seems like an information management problem (data is too complex and disorganized) or a process problem (process is not detailed enough). But the problem is neither the information or the process, it is the perspective. Companies are trying to enforce process by human effort – and that is a big problem because human effort is inefficient.
You can put it like this: the issue is judiciary not legislative.
Electronic? Engineering? Efficient? Effective?
To me the E in EDMS means many things: electronic/digital, engineering-related, efficient, effective. But also it is an ‘E’xcellent technology which goes beyond the boundaries of digitizing. It adds intelligence into the work culture, by making a process automatic and not needing human supervision. First the paper based system becomes a DMS, then DMS becomes an EDMS, then EDMS moves to the cloud, then it becomes ‘smart’, and so on. Constant evolution. We are now at ‘smart cloud-based EDMS’, which is a way to manage data and documents in the cloud and on smart devices, proactively, according to the company’s prescribed process, without needing a human manager. That is why the latest generation of data management systems is miles above earlier generations, and why engineering companies should
view it as a ‘must-have’ rather than a ‘good-to-have’.
As my colleague has said elsewhere in this blog, automation is about replacing a process not a person. Machines cannot think or judge, but they can carry out instructions precisely, and that is the strength of automation which should be embraced by the manually-driven EPC industry.
It may be that I am alone in this view even among my peers. But I am proud to be part of a team that pushes for innovative thinking and is not afraid to drill down to the core of a problem, no matter how disruptive the solution may be. Because we can use technology strengths to solve human weaknesses, yes, but we can also use technology strengths to complement human strengths, and this I would consider really smart.