Enterprise content management includes tools, strategies and processes that help corporations to efficiently receive, systematize and store important information to its employees, partners, and clients. It’s a set of tools that help companies manage their documents.
Companies use ECM systems extensively because they help businesses manage content and provide better services for their clients. At first this set of tools was known under the name of Document Management Systems, but as businesses’ needs evolved, the systems also evolved and now with ECM in place companies can automate their content lifecycle.
Why is enterprise content management important?
You may still doubt that enterprise content management could benefit you. You should know that it works like a platform where you can store content, and circulate it in a way that meets the regulatory compliance prerequisites and risk management regulations. This system can do all these things because it removes the cuff processes that expose your company to risks related to regulatory compliance and other potential problems.
When you integrate enterprise content management effectively in your business, the system can modernise it by accessing certain processes, eliminating bottlenecks, and boosting security. All these actions can increase your business productivity.
It reduces operational costs
Your business registers growing costs associated with creating, sorting, searching, retrieving, printing and copying files. You need to pay for both labour and materials to power this process. By integrating enterprise content management in your processes, you don’t entirely remove printing and copying from your operations, but paper no longer constitutes the main medium for information storage and distribution. When using this system, you will print and copy fewer documents and also adopt a culture of electronic-only filling.
Fewer security breaches
Without an enterprise content management system, you spend valuable time, money and effort trying to identify misfiled or lost documents. Limited access to the right documents and information leads to poor decisions and negatively impacts your company’s productivity.
Over 50% of company managers say they miss crucial information daily because even if it exists in the business’ premises, it’s difficult to find it.
Steps to effectively run an enterprise content management strategy
To put in place an effective enterprise content management strategy, you need to follow certain steps.
- Decide what business processes you want to digitise
- Understand how you can integrate the enterprise content management system with the existing tools and processes
- Check which content services are required to enable company tools and systems
- Evaluate if the enterprise content management system you want to use provides the services you need
- Deploy the ECM platform on the business systems you already use
- Train your employees on how to use the new system
- Evaluate the efficiency of the system
What are the main elements of enterprise content management?
An ECM solution provides access to designed documents and eliminates the business’ dependence on paper documentation. By using one you can organise your company’s data and empower your corporation to work more proficiently. But for the ECM system to be effective, it has to include the following five elements: capture, store, retrieve, automate and secure. Each of the listed components has an essential role in ensuring a smooth system running.
It captures information
To capture information, you need to convert paper documentation into electronic files and collect the files into an organised folder. During the capturing phase, the system imports the sensitive data and secures it in a digital form.
Enterprise content management organizes and restructures your company’s data in a safe and centralised location. It can store all sorts of documents, from correspondence to contracts, research reports and employee resumes.
To capture information, you can use one of the following methods:
- Use electronic tools to convert paper into digital documents
- Scan documents and store information in a digital folder
- Manage digitised content
- Automate adding and sorting documents
By storing the information in a digitised form, you lower the possibility of error occurrence.
It stores and manages documents
The second element of enterprise content management includes, allows you to link and modify information with the help of software. Your employees have access to documents, which they can view or edit, according to their access level.
You have an overview of the overall metadata of the documents. An enterprise content management system favours organising documents in an intuitive folder structure.
It retrieves documents
Once you store all your documents on a digital platform, you can easily find a piece of information by using a search tool. To perform a search, you can use a specific word or phrase, or enter the title of the document you want to check. The search tool comes with predetermined options to help you identify the content you need.
You can also identify documents by the name of the users who created or viewed them. This tool reduces the time you spend searching for data, and encourages employees to improve customer service. You can instantly access information that helps you make decisions aligned with your company’s values.
It automates processes
Automated processes help you reduce manual labour, including tasks like hand delivery and photocopying, and provide better results with fewer resources. Enterprise content management solutions include automation tools that instantly send documents, alerts and identify faults.
It secures documents
With more and more compliance restrictions authorities pose worldwide, companies need to use enterprise content management tools that strengthen their record management processes and protect them from organisational dangers.
Most of the systems come with customisable security features to allow you to guard your sensitive data from alteration or unapproved access. Choose a system that:
- Controls access to information
- Monitors the system logins and logouts, password alterations and document creation, editing and deletion
- Protect sensitive metadata by limiting access even in individual folders.
To ensure that you use the best enterprise content management system to improve your business’ performance, you should check if it has all the above elements because they boost efficiency and security.