Enterprise content management (ECM) refers to the processes, strategies, tools, and platforms an organization uses to manage its content. The term itself includes different components like:
The definition and idea of enterprise content management continue to evolve. In 2010, it focused primarily on documents and other content. The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) recently evolved the term into Intelligent Information Management (IIM). It accounts for the way data contained within documents can be captured, analyzed, and used for better-informed decision-making.
Today, if you search online, you’ll likely find different organizations defining ECM in different ways. Why?
The simplest answer is that today there is so much content. And so much more that we can do with it.
These are only a few examples. You can certainly identify more.
To really understand enterprise content management, we need to understand:
The way enterprise content management helps businesses meet their goals may sound like benefits in themselves. In reality, the benefits go much further and include:
The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) identifies five elements of enterprise content management systems:
1. Capture: The creation, scanning, saving, or digital recording (in terms of documents that still live in paper) of content into the system.
2. Manage: How you store, retrieve, and use the documents in the system based on your retention policies.
3. Store: The different platforms used that house your content, including any IT or cloud infrastructure and backup and disaster recovery services.
4. Preserve: This is your lifecycle and records management policies put into practice for storing, archival, and eventual deletion of the materials.
5. Deliver: The ways you share, collaborate, and send the content where and to whom it needs to go. Workflow automation tools such as automated routing with applications like our Smart Integration Solutions belong in this category.
Although these five cover the many different elements, we include two more elements in every enterprise content management system –
6. Information governance: The policies that define how you manage your content should exist for every type of content. Best practices include written policies and employee training to ensure everyone understands proper handling of company content.
7. Reporting and analytics: See detailed analysis of user access, content usage, and more to better understand the content lifecycle, user behavior, and to track access for compliance reporting.
The following steps can help you choose a content management solution for your organization.
1. Determine the scope of your need. Do you need a system for your entire enterprise or only for select departments? Which type of ECM do you need: for web, collaborative, or transactional content? Effectively, the first step involves determining who will be using it and what they will generally be using it for.
2. Identify your objectives. What problem are you trying to solve? Starting with questions can help you define and prioritize your objectives. For example, questions to consider may include:
Once you identify your specific objectives, you will find it easier to determine what element of ECM you should start with.
3. Find a partner. Many companies provide ECM products and services, but that doesn’t mean they are the best fit for you. You want to consider:
This step may be the difference between a successful implementation and frustration and a lack of adoption by your organization. Take your time here and research your options, see a demo and understand how the application will work in your implementation, and talk to partner references.
4. Define the requirements of the implementation. Take time to understand the roles and responsibilities for the implementation and onboarding process. Although the vendor will likely create the Scope of Work document, view your organization’s role as coauthor. And make sure to understand how you will be able to scale it as needed.
5. Deliver. The ways you share, collaborate, and send the content where and to whom it needs to go. Workflow automation tools such as Kofax TotalAgility®, XM Fax (fax over IP – FoIP), or, at a departmental level Smart Integration Solutions, address enterprise needs.