ECM in Five Words

By Dennis Kempner posted 11-17-2014 21:15


What is Enterprise-Wide Content Management?
Enterprise-wide content management (ECM) is a formalized means of organizing and storing an establishment’s documents, and other content, that relate to the establishment’s processes. ECM is an evolving and ongoing strategy, that adapts to changes that take place in your company or your industry, in order to achieve maximum optimization.

What are the 5 Components of Enterprise-Wide Content Management?

Capture involves converting information from paper documents into an electronic format through scanning (forms processing) by optical character recognition (OCR), handprint character recognition (HCR), intelligent character recognition(ICR), optical mark recognition (OMR)and barcode recognition.

Capture is also used to collect electronic files and information into a consistent structure for management (automatic processing).

For both, images are cleaned up, and the data from documents from different applications is unified. Capture technologies also encompass the creation of metadata (index values) that describe characteristics of a document for easy location through search technology.

The Manage category controls the information’s life cycle to comply with the organization’s document retention policy, which in turn must comply with government mandates and industry practices. The Manage category includes:

  • Document management (DM), controls documents from creation to archiving, including checking for consistency, version management, search and navigation and organizing documents;
  • Collaboration (or collaborative software, a.k.a. groupware) to ensure that information can be accessed and used simultaneously by multiple users;
  • Web content management (including web portals);
  • Records management (files and archives management);
  • Workflow and business process management (BPM).

Store components temporarily store information that isn’t required, desired, or ready for long-term storage or preservation. Even if the Store component uses media that are suitable for long-term archiving, “Store” is still separate from “Preserve.”

There are different kinds of repositories used as storage locations, such as file systems, content management systems, databases and data warehouses, and can be used in different combinations. Additionally, this step adds Library Services, which are the administration components for repositories.

Eventually, content ceases to change and becomes static. Preserve involves the long-term, safe storage and backup of inactive, but important, information and secures the accessibility and usability of that information. Preservation is additionally designed to help companies comply with government and industry regulations.

As storage technologies fall into disuse, such as floppy disks, information must be migrated to newer forms of storage, so that the stored information remains accessible using contemporary systems. Also, during this process, information that is no longer relevant can be deleted.

The Delivery components, sometimes referred to as output management, of ECM present information from the Manage, Store, and Preserve components and provides the information to users. The Delivery components break down into three groups: transformation technologies, security technologies (both not usually seen by the user) and distribution (given to the user, with final design preferences in place).