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By Danielle Hoverman • October 17, 2016

What is Enterprise Content Management and Why You Need It

Enterprise content management (ECM) helps businesses digitize documents and automate document-driven processes, allowing the right people to access the right information at the right time - in any location. In general, ECM is an umbrella term for the technology, strategy, and method used to capture, manage, access, integrate, measure, and store information.

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Handling too much paper or unstructured information that causes bottlenecks when trying to process, access, or store business information often leads to businesses determining they need a dynamic, strategic ECM solution. Common information and document challenges that customers face involve regulatory compliance, dealing with different document versions that contain critical business information, productivity issues, losing track of documents, slow business and workflow processes, and managing too much paper.

There are 6 strengths of a successful ECM platform.

1. Capture

Managing your business’s content starts with capturing and importing your information into a secure digital repository. Any type of document can be uploaded into the system including invoices from vendors, resumes from job applicants, contracts, reports, and more. You can capture these documents by using electronic forms, scanning paper documents, through digital content such as Microsoft Office documents, PDFs, photos, and videos, and automatically filing and categorizing documents from servers, MFPs, and other shared locations.

2. Manage

ECM platforms allow you to automate the predictable, repeatable parts of your processes to eliminate manual tasks like photocopying and hand delivery. Depending on the ECM platform, you will be able to automatically route documents to the right people at the right time, alert employees when documents require their attention, and recognize errors before they become problematic.

3. Access 

Once you have captured your documents and information in an ECM platform, your content can be easily accessed from intuitive software in the office, on your mobile device while on the road, while online, or while offline. This gives you the ability to find any document using full-text search, identify specific keywords or phrase within document text, metadata, annotations, and entry names, and use preset search options to search documents by creation date, names of users, and other metadata.

4. Integrate 

With the right ECM platform and solutions, you will be able to integrate documents and data to the transactions and activities in other applications. ECM allows you to leverage information from other applications to automatically launch processes in your ECM such as composing documents, filling out forms, or triggering business workflows.

5. Measure 

With ECM, you can gain real-time insights into the status of your processes and system performance to help you make better decisions and take action when needed. ECMs may also facilitate audits and support compliance initiatives by identifying the existence and accuracy of information.

6. Store

Robust ECM platforms allow businesses to securely store, protect, and destroy business-critical documents and information. Businesses are increasingly relying on ECM systems to optimize records management practices and protect against risk; an ECM platform provides customizable security settings to allow organizations to protect information from unauthorized access or modification.

By investing in a robust ECM platform, your business can remove dependency on paper, streamline business processes, drive better customer service, increase productivity, and reduce organization risk.

Learn More About Enterprise Content Management