What’s New is Old in EDM

OCT 8, 2012 1:42pm ET

What’s new is old.

I have been seeing a lot of articles and press releases recently that speak to paperless processing and the enormous benefits it provides. This “New, Latest and Greatest” technology, as it’s touted, has automatic document indexing, robust document capture, sorting, splitting, merging, annotating, e-delivery and more. WOW! This is new and great; right?

Yes it’s great, but it is far from new. Technology vendors have been providing these technologies for close to two decades. In the past few years, many others have gone to market with similar products. Why now are these seasoned products just getting noticed, and at least in some circles, viewed as new and innovative technology?

A few years back, when cash was flowing and lenders had more business than they could handle, throwing bodies at mounds of paper was not an issue. Schlepping files from Point A to Point B and waiting for the FedEx guy was an accepted cost of doing business. Unfortunately, many lenders, along with their piles of paper and cash, had the “if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it” mentality.

Well, yeah, it didn’t appear broken then. But in hindsight, it was a house of cards built on mounds of paper. You know the rest of story.

Case in point is that electronic document management is not a “new” technology that many are touting it to be. While some venders are new to the game, others have been providing this service for quite some time. Unfortunately, it took a market meltdown and the ensuing fallout to see the benefits. Lost documents, robo-signing, chain of title and other issues could have all been less painful if the mounds of documents being passed around like a game of hot potato were digitalized in an organized and structured manner.

Advancements have been made to document management technology over the years, however at the core of any system remains the ability to save time, save money and keep lenders’ documents secure. Those early adopters of this technology, which are those that adopted a true, enterprise EDM platform—rather than those scanning blobs of paper and parking it on a shared network drive—can tell you that they could not have survived without it. Many who resisted the change to a less-paper environment now are the loudest proponents of the benefits.

If you were one of the fortunate few to make it through the storm without EDM technology, look back and consider how much easier life would have been with one. If you are a startup shop, now is the time to adopt EDM. George Santayana, a Spanish philosopher once said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Change is never easy. Changing to a new and proven technology is even a harder task. Take comfort that you are not alone. By changing to a less-paper environment, you are not blazing a path into unchartered waters, however following thousands who did so before you. The need to switch is intuitive. The first step is what’s hard.

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