An Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system is a strategic tool for many organizations that want to improve efficiencies and data security and reduce paperwork. Enterprise content management, as a practice, was established with the intention of connecting people, processes, and technology together meaningfully.
ECM can be broken down into five major components: capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver. The purpose of each component, as defined by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), is as follows:
The Capture component involves creating information by converting paper documents into electronic formats, obtaining and collecting electronic files into a cohesive structure, and organizing information. Information can include content such as invoices, contracts and research reports.
The Manage component connects, modifies and employs information through means such as document management, collaborative software, web content management and records management.
The Store component temporarily backs up frequently changing information in the short term within flexible folder structures to allow users to view or edit information.
The Preserve component backs up infrequently changing information in the medium and long term and is usually accomplished through records management features. It is commonly used to help organizations comply with government and other regulations.
An effective enterprise content management system will provide everyone in the organization with easy access to all the information they need to make business decisions, complete projects, collaborate and perform with optimized efficiency.