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Development & Maintenance
Submitted by supriya.malineni-sm on 31 October 2022

Overview of Enterprise Content Management

In a business context, Content Management is a set of processes and technologies that supports collecting, managing, and publishing information in any form or medium. The central idea behind content management is that information exists to serve a purpose and should be presented in the version and form that best serves that purpose.

What is the difference between ECM and CMS?

Content Management tools mainly consists of two types: Enterprise Content Management (ECM) tools and Content Management Systems (CMS). ECM tools are generally used to manage content and digital assets that can be published in a wide range of digital and non-digital formats. CMS tools are mostly used for managing content and assets for publishing on websites and portals. Both types of systems include controls and workflow to allow people within an organization to collaborate to create, modify, and publish content, within defined roles which limit the extent to which individuals can perform these functions.

Benefits of ECM

  1. Offers a Central Data Repository - It is very easy for organizations to lose track of content and digital assets. Material stored across various formats, filing systems, folders, filing cabinets and other types of storage can effectively be lost forever. When executed properly, an ECM can consolidate all of an organization’s content and digital assets in a single secure repository, or digital library, making materials easy to locate and use when they are needed.

  2. Cuts Operating Expenses - Implementing an ECM solution can save organizations money. By digitizing content and other information assets, the cost of physical storage, paper and printing can be significantly reduced.

  3. Simplifies Document Search - ECM significantly reduces the amount of time employees spend trying to find the content resources they require to do their job. ECM serves as your corporate search engine allowing workers to quickly find the latest version of documents and content they need to do their jobs.

  4. Increases Productivity - Effective document management, retrieval, and organization are all capabilities of an ECM solution. ECM can increase productivity by reducing the time workers need to spend finding and retrieving content, allowing them to focus on other business critical activities.

  5. Improves Security - ECM systems include their own security features which can restrict access to sensitive content resources and limit the authority to individual users to create, modify and delete content. Additionally, ECM can be deployed in environments that incorporate the latest IT security strategies and technologies dramatically improving the security of your digital assets as compared to legacy approaches that may have been used.

  6. Increases Transparency - ECM systems can track digital assets, any changes that were made, who made the changes and how they have been used. In the event that something was published in error, an ECM system can help trace the origin of the error and be used to quickly identify all instances where the error would need to be fixed. For some industries, these records can be used to document compliance with rules or regulations.

  7. Reduced Risk - ECM can help ensure that all departments within an organization are using the latest versions of approved materials. In regulated industries, where product claims are subject to high levels of scrutiny, ECM can help ensure all departments adhere to approved materials and demonstrate compliance with industry regulations.

  8. Consistent Branding - An important part of building a brand is reinforcement. ECM can help organisations establish and enforce branding guidelines and consistent messaging to help ensure all public communication is cohesive and consistently reinforces the organization’s value proposition.

  9. Rights Management - An ECM system can manage your digital asset licenses to help you plan for the replacement of digital assets, such as stock photos, or renew licenses as needed.

  10. Automation - ECM systems allow organizations to automate the update process. When new versions of a digital asset are approved, they can be immediately be updated on electronic documents and other places where that content is being published. Not only can all departments be instantly provided with the latest versions of approved materials, individual documents can also be updated to incorporate the new content without the need for manual editing and formatting.

  11. Avoiding Duplication - ECM systems can help avoid duplication of effort and duplication of documents. By making it easier to find digital assets, ECM systems can virtually eliminate instances where a piece of content is needlessly recreated because the last version could not be found. ECM systems can also compare scanned documents to identify instances of duplication, thereby minimizing the possibility of future errors or version control issues.

  12. Improved Collaboration - ECM systems can include powerful workflow features to help foster collaboration. ECM workflow can help organizations structure collaborative activities for improved efficiency and consistent oversight.

Major Components of ECM

  1. Capture - The process of capturing involves transferring data from paper records into a digital form utilizing optical character recognition software, and other tools. Unstructured data must be captured to be transformed into structured information. Metadata is also created to support easier search and retrieval.

  2. Manage - All captured documents are managed at every point of their lifespan. Automating document management, digital collaboration, business process management, and other processes is part of managing your electronic information.

  3. Store - ECM systems not only store your and your clients’ digital assets for easy retrieval, they also secure your assets against unauthorized access and tampering. Because ECM systems can incorporate the latest security best practices, implementing an ECM system provides a substantial advantage over legacy approaches.

  4. Preserve - ECM systems are built for preservation. ECM systems not only allow you to ensure the latest versions of approved documents are made available across your organization, they maintain records of past versions and where each version was used. This can prove invaluable when your organization is subject to regulatory requirements.

  5. Delivery - Delivery encompasses how content will be used or outputted by the ECM system. ECM systems have the capability to publish content in formats convenient for end users, based on predefined and approved templates. The delivery capabilities of ECM systems can allow for substantial savings in design time by streamlining the publishing of approved corporate materials.