What is ECM? What are the benefits of applying it in your facility?
An ECM enterprise content management system provides organizations with the tools to capture, organize, store and deliver an ever-increasing volume of digital information – documents, images, rich media and other types of content that contain business value. ECM helps streamline content lifecycles and automate workflow processes.
What is an enterprise content management (ECM) system?
ECM stands for Enterprise Content Management, and is a technology collaboration solution designed to manage, store and organize business documents in real time. ECM allows organizations to dramatically simplify business processes and make daily operations more efficient.
Organizations that want to improve operations and stay on the cutting edge of business technology need to consider implementing ECM, a market that is expected to grow at more than 25% CAGR through 2026.
Here are some of the key benefits of enterprise content management software that businesses of all types can achieve when implementing ECM:
1. Provides a central repository for data
Managing your business content starts with capturing your information and importing it into a secure digital repository — a digital library, of sorts. Many organizations maintain records and data in multiple formats and locations, including everything from online platforms to personal desktop computers and file cabinets. The risks of keeping critical business data in such a mixture of formats is that it can lead to data loss, security breaches, duplicate files, and more.
A central digital repository allows users to view or edit any document, view document metadata, manage content and organize the documents within it. A repository makes it easy to search for content and store it securely. It also improves employee collaboration, as employees across departments and across the organization will be able to access any document.
2. Content analysis and retrieval
ECM solutions are equipped with features that allow users to retrieve specific information from within the organization. Content is often scattered across the company in multiple, often disconnected systems. A good enterprise content management solution should connect information silos and bring them to a common platform that can retrieve data in an easy and systematic way. Intelligent analysis of different types of content to extract relevant information can unlock value in content and provide actionable insights for decision-making processes.
3. Records management
Company policies and legal regulations may require that specific documents be retained for predetermined periods of time and may also have rules regarding disposal.
ECM's records management capabilities can help ensure content consistency and enable compliance by controlling and enforcing retention schedules. In the modern era, records management also includes website content management.
4. Content storage
The location of digital content – on local servers versus the cloud – is an important part of enterprise content management solutions. In either case, security and compliance are essential for storing content. Storage information management includes storage location, network, security, data center architecture, in-transit communications, built-in redundancy, and data replication access restrictions.
5. Digitization of content
Document automation tools may integrate one or more of the following functions for different levels of content management: data capture, data categorization, document verification, version control, and audit tracking capabilities with security, search, indexing, and management features. More recently, this has grown to include rich media management, geared toward managing non-textual content such as photographs, audio clips, and video collections, which helps with functionality, broadcasts, and transcoding.
6. Integration and communication
Enterprise content management tools allow an interface between automated business process management (BPM) processes and can be linked to metadata, automated document approvals, and semi- or fully automated workflows. Some common functions to integrate are emails, productivity tools such as word processors and spreadsheets, business systems such as CRM and ERP, and existing department-specific systems such as HR, finance, and legal. The ECM solution must be compatible with existing software applications used for routine job functions, such as document editing, data file storage, searching, electronic records manufacturing, and filing tools. tools.