The benefits of electronic records management systems: a general review of published and some unpublished cases

Gary P. Johnston (Audata Ltd, Ashford, UK)
David V. Bowen (Audata Ltd, Ashford, UK)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To review published case studies, and some unpublished results, to identify the benefits actually achieved by implementing an electronic records management system or an electronic document management system (ERMS, or EDMS).


Draws on the literature and unpublished results of work undertaken by the authors’ organisation.


Few case studies were found in which clear, quantitative benefits are described. The reasons for this are discussed. Those studies that did show clear benefits with good evidence for them demonstrated five principles: (1) the “system” must include the people (policy makers and users); (2) the EDRMS must be integrated with the processes of the organisation; (3) frequently the role of records managers is to educate, advise and support the users; (4) a continuum model covering documents and records gives clearer benefits than separate document and record lifecycles; and (5) there is no single magic bullet to solve information management problems.

Practical implications

An organisation which is planning to implement an EDRMS, or which is planning to upgrade or modify an existing EDRMS, can be confident that real benefits and an acceptable return on investment are possible.


This paper identifies benefits that have been realised in practice from EDRMS implementations.



Johnston, G. and Bowen, D. (2005), "The benefits of electronic records management systems: a general review of published and some unpublished cases", Records Management Journal, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 131-140.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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