Enterprise Content Management, ECM, while implemented via technology, is not technology, it is a set of practices and methodologies for gathering, storing, securing, and delivering content. There is no one technology that makes ECM. It is a combination of technologies in the correct orientation that make great ECM solutions. ECM involves integrating systems, storage, databases, and applications like email, data capture, e-discovery, tools such as search, and the provisioning of services to manage electronic content in a full life cycle manner.
The purpose of any ECM system is to seamlessly connect an organization’s operational processes, management, workers, and enterprise-wide information. ECM constitutes a fully integrated platform and architectural framework that brings about total collaboration, intelligent content lifecycle management, and greater productivity.
AIIM defines ECM as “the strategies, methods, and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists.”
Most specialists would suggest that within the overall heading of ‘information’ the term ‘content’ usually applies to any form of ‘unstructured’ information (as opposed to structured information which is the stuff held in nicely ordered rows and columns in a database). The objective of ECM is to get control of all of your information, put it into a virtual repository, provide secure access, control its lifecycle, streamline processes with digital distribution, provide audit trails and reporting, and have the ability to retrieve your information on demand.
In conclusion, ECM is all about having an effective strategy and an organizational commitment to effectively manage content; it requires work to implement effectively. In this digital age, competitive advantage awaits those organizations which realize information is a key asset, and manage it accordingly.