What is Enterprise Content Management?

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Dave Found

Are you confused by all of the acronyms floating around about content management?

ECM, DMS, DAM, WCM, CMS, EDM, MCS

Some of them are a little redundant (some might even be made up); yet at the root – they actually are important.

Enterprise Content Management is more than just documents. It’s more than just organization. It’s an abundance of abilities and ideas in a single platform.

Think about it – organized content is great. Having a strictly followed folder structure keeps materials “where they belong”. But after a while, one document slips through the fortified walls of the organized structure. Then another. And another. If not managed properly, it can quickly get out of hand. The solution? Fix it. Get everything back into that structure. Redefine some rules so that the documents that previously didn’t fit, now can. The only problem is work doesn’t stop while this re-org takes place. Therefore, search is a requirement. Lacking organization, search still allows everyone to find what they’re looking for.

Continue down the path a little ways and we realize we have an excellent folder structure storing all of our documents. Great – but how did they get there and what are they doing there? An Enterprise Content Management system may require you to browse to the destination folder and have you upload your content. It may be able to interpret different parameters or attributes to calculate the destination. Or it may be directly integrated with another system so that you don’t have to touch the document at all! Thus, we’ve discovered our second requirement (of a good ECM anyways) – interoperability.

What does the content do in the ECM? Nothing is NOT a good answer. This likely suggests that your data is stale or unnecessary. The content should live there, not just exist there. Does it need to be reviewed and approved? Process management and collaboration. Does it need to be accessed by an external community? Web portal. Does it need to be understood? Visibility and reporting.

Enterprise Content Management isn’t a system. It’s a practice. If you have an ECM solution, does it offer these capabilities? If you don’t, it may be time to start considering the benefits of an ECM. Ensure you choose one that does the heavy lifting for you.


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