Enterprise Content Management

Introduction
Enterprise Content Management is any strategy or technology used in the document management solution industry dealing with document management, gathering, storage, security, revision control, retrieval, distribution, preservation, and ultimate eradication of documents and content. ECM especially is relevant to content imported or comprised from within an organization during existence. ECM also manipulates the acquisition of content from the outside of an organization. The system is engineered to manage structured and unstructured content in order for an entity to meet business goals, provide for customers, and safeguard itself. Recent vogues of business insinuate the usage of ECM systems is being implemented into both big and small businesses to aid in meeting their goals of document management.

Definition
The original definition of ECM denoted, “technologies used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes,” which was provided by AIIM International. The lengthy reinterpretation in the introduction was orchestrated to incorporate all current document management solutions, such as the advent of digital processes. The recent nomenclature seeks to encompass all of the areas related to the use and preservation of information within an organization.

Most document management solutions focus on the business to employee aspect. As the sphere of document solutions has evolved, additional components relating to document management have been considered. With resources such as Customer Relationship Management systems and emails being involved in an organization’s total informational intake, the ECM systems must constantly reconsider the scope of intelligence. The term, ‘enterprise content management,’ refers to solutions that provide in-house information (such as intranet), in conjunction with portals to and from the outside.

Components of ECM
ECM component and technologies are categorized as the following:
– Capture
– Manage
– Store
– Deliver
– Preserve

These components can be applied in the following areas:
– Document management
– Collaboration
– Web content management
– Records management
– Business process management

Who Needs ECM
The use of document management makes a huge difference in staying competitive. Any business interested in keeping their IT infrastructure modern can make use of ECM. The integration of document technologies such as ECM makes traditional data processing complete. It is integral for businesses to keep in-house information in order and under control.

Any organization looking to make the most use of information in employee’s heads, documents, emails, and other germane documents should consider utilizing an ECM system. Organizations need tools to help them manage and control the vast volumes of information that accumulate over the years. Industry experts have estimated that information workers spend as much as thirty percent of the working day searching for the information that they need.

Benefits of ECM

An ECM document management solution addresses general and specific problems. Employees will more readily find, consume, and reuse information that they will need to utilize in order to get their work completed. Organizations can use their content as a business asset; businesses can derive value by generating customer satisfaction and keeping employees informed of all in-house information.

ECM has a place or role in helping any organization better manage and use their content regardless of size, industry, or position within the organization. The following are just some ways to make usage of ECM advantageous:
– Create libraries to scan and reuse to engage in various scenarios
– Publish mediums to be used for training, conferences, and presentations
– Security and document management will be kept current to ensure the efficiency of employee usage
– Users will be able to locate and access a broad range of information with alacrity
– Compliance with legal and regulatory mandates
– Easy online access to non-electronic content
– Reduced costs resulting from accurate access and retrieval
– Employees can be better and more quickly served (employee benefits management and other administrative processes that are normally intensively paper-based)
– Email can be used to send a pointer to content and notify a user to look at referenced content

Evaluating Cost

ECM document management does not come cheap, but it is important for an organization to gauge cost against the implied benefits. One aspect a potential consumer can think about is how they will get their employees to adopt the ECM solution they have employed into their business; this will serve as a real testament as to whether the investment was a success. A business can think about the impact an ECM system will have on the average employee and the working day. Employees may need to learn new tools and technologies relevant to the ECM process before they can really take full advantage of what it has to offer.

Businesses also need to evaluate how well an ECM system can be integrated into their overall infrastructure, including databases, middleware, collaboration suite, and other elements included at present. The ECM solution must be a good fit for the system already in place, not only in reference to components being built upon, but how extensible it will be and interoperable with outside services and standards.

Conclusion

ECM document management solutions, when integrated and executed effectively, can massively change a business and their impact on their industry. The advantages of ECM solutions can be partitioned into many facets of the in-house portion of a business, with its repercussions also reaping benefits outwardly as well. Implementing ECM software is a decision like any other one made in an organization: the present and future of the business has to be kept in mind, and the implications of where the organization will be after the decision is made should really be the ultimate aspect to have in mind.