What Is Enterprise Content Management? A Simple Guide

If I asked you to find the current version of your procurement policy, how long might it take? Even if you asked a member of staff, it could take some time.

Administrative tasks even¬†consume up to a third of a worker’s time.

Enterprise content management offers a simple way to keep important data at your fingertips.

Keen to learn about enterprise content management? Read on for everything you need to know.

What Is Enterprise Content Management?

Also known as ECM, enterprise content management is a business system.

Before ECM, businesses would store or file information. Data and documents disappeared into their records. Retrieving the right content depended on their system and the efficiency of staff.

ECM overturns that. These systems collect, manage, organize, and redeliver information to the right individuals.

They also go beyond document management. Businesses need to access and use information in a range of formats. This data may come from individuals outside of the business.

The information isn’t just stored, it’s also archived. This allows the business to retrieve it, however far into the future you may need it.

It’s a combination of technology and process, created to suit the business that uses it.

Who Uses ECM Technology?

Any business that wants to streamline its process uses ECM. Yet it doesn’t stop with them.

ECM makes it easy to access and share information. Businesses that work with them also use ECM. It becomes part of their professional relationship. 

That could include government agencies, suppliers, contractors, HR departments, or media partners.

How Do I Use ECM Technology?

At its heart, ECM turns your unstructured data – the separate files on your hard drives – into a structured system. It organizes this system and makes it available to those who need access.

ECM systems can be tailored to each business but there are some common elements.

The digital capture of documents is a key part of starting a system. This enables your business to digitize information for better storage, sharing, and archiving.

Create Your Own System

You can begin by scanning your existing paper documents. Recreate forms in a digital format for use going forwards.

Link these systems into your existing digital content. That might include PDFs or software-specific files.

Once the information is digital, you gain full control. View the contents, manage versions, and review metadata, among other things. You can even access earlier versions of documents in moments.

Digitizing documents makes it easier to search for them. You can also find information within files using keywords.

Finally, secure the system to help restrict unauthorized access to your data. Track which documents are viewed, created, edited, or even deleted.

Access these benefits by using an enterprise content management solution.

Keep Your Business Flowing

Now you know what enterprise content management systems are. You’ve learned how they can help your business.

By bringing your data into one place, you can manage each part of it from a single location. You can also rest easy since you control the security of your information.

Keen to learn about more systems to improve your business? Check out our business article for more advice.