Enterprise Content Management Systems for Successful Results
Business know-how and expertise translate into enterprise content. As content is a key driver for your business decisions, it is essential that you stop looking at it as an ad-hoc asset which gets created and stored randomly and inconsistently. It is high time you started treating your content professionally.
What is ECM?
The way enterprises make themselves known to the public comes down to products and communication. Orchestration is essential when building and promoting your enterprise as a recognized brand. One of the assets which requires constant fine-tuning and solid governance practices is content.
Enterprises produce large volumes of content when they:
- Draft internal documentation: specifications, guidelines, conditions of acceptance, definition of done
- Write external documentation: end-user help documentation, quick start guides, product sheets
- Interact with customers as part of sales and marketing
- Expose a presentation site
- Manage blogs and community posts
- Respond to praise or criticism publicly
- Issue press releases
While targeted at different audiences and calibrated to serve different goals, all this content is interrelated at one basic level – an enterprise’s message to the world. Failure to consolidate and manage enterprise content properly can lead to:
- Inconsistent messages or ideas
- Inconsistent content structure
- Conflicting or outdated information
- Conflicting update schedules
So, what can enterprises do to manage something so shifting and vast as content?
Businesses can use an ECM system (Enterprise Content Management) to store and manage content. As a result, content is written consistently, published consistently, reused consistently, and retrieved consistently.
In a nutshell, use an ECM system to manage your content in a professional manner and enforce high-levels of consistency, traceability, and predictability.
How does ECM break with tradition?
In traditional ways of working with content, each enterprise department had its own assets, its own content, and most likely freedom to decide what happens to it. When departments had to collaborate and share content, they would be faced with several challenges:
- Mixture of paper-based and digital documents
- Missing or archived paper-based documents
- Cumbersome approval process
- Fuzzy accountability and traceability of who wrote what and when
- Huge effort to analyze all the content from all the documents
It is quite easy to see how this way of working cannot be sustainable in the case of large content volumes, of interoperable formats, of content versions, of common repositories, and of regulatory compliance. Nor can it cater for devising feature-rich content that can be manipulated via metadata and exposed in diverse media formats.
For an ECM system, the issues above are no longer challenges:
- All content is properly managed across all channels
- All content is retrieved from a single-source based on permissions
- All content is clearly versioned and can be audited
- All content can be distributed and manipulated to produce different outputs
- All content can be tagged
- All content can be reused
What can ECM do for my business?
ECM can truly digitize your content and make its distribution secure and simple. Here is how.
Collaboration and control
An ECM system enables you to develop meaningful content which can be:
- Structured, tagged, and managed by several users collaboratively depending on the permissions they have
- Stored in a common repository from which users access or edit the latest version
- Accessed and used by people across the organization depending on the permissions they have
- Controlled by guidelines: corporate policy, regulatory bodies
- Retrieved, filtered, and distributed based on intended audience
- Enriched with metadata which dictates a customized way of interacting with it
- Published to various formats and on various platforms by applying style sheets or transformation files onto the same source
ECM supports gathering and building business-level consensus.
Content becomes compliant because ECM can harness and orchestrate the input of all the departments involved in regulatory up-keeping. ECM enables you to proactively cater for several requirements at once. Moreover, if regulations change, you can easily adapt the content in one shot, from a single source.
Single Source of Truth
Content is organized and stored centrally in a digital repository, which prevents duplication or non-standard formats. The benefits are immense. The entire business accesses only the approved content at all times, which means that knowledge management is leveraged in a uniform fashion. Overall, corporate goals can be reached faster if knowledge is curated and distributed correctly.
Content is an ongoing journey. An idea morphs into a sketch which then becomes a document which is edited and reviewed by several people. Further on, that document becomes official and it gets distributed, only to be adjusted over time.
Lifecycle management entails that the entire content journey is mapped and enforced by ECM. Business continuity is a practice business are familiar with. It is high time content continuity became just as familiar and important. Obviously, any needed audit trail can easily be done since all gateways, access nodes and policies are embedded and defined in the ECM logic.
The importance of managing the entire content lifecycle gets critical if content grows exponentially.
Data manipulation and mining
An ECM system provides advanced data search and analytics to parse and filter enormous amounts of content to find relevant information, reassemble it, and extract it. Querying data that is well structured using a range of parameters leads to timely, precise results.
All of us had wished to have the tools to automate replies to queries depending on our target audience or to automate a process around publish actions, forms and documents. An ECM system allows you to do just that, streamline content input, output, and outreach. Overall, an ECM system leads to simplification of repetitive tasks while slashing response times.
By reducing the paper versions of your documents, an ECM system helps you be more agile, always ready to relocate your virtual office and content. An ECM approach is the backbone of lower printing, paper, and shipping costs.
Which businesses can use ECM?
Any business can benefit from ECM capabilities because everyone works with documents at some level or needs to at some point. Moreover, businesses need to prove to external bodies that they know what they are doing and that they are doing it right. Documents to the rescue! But wait … Where are those documents again? Do we have someone to compile that report? Do we have the right format? Have these documents been updated recently?
An ECM can help any industry stop asking such or similar questions.
For HR, ECM simplifies and speeds the rate at which employee documents and information is processed, retrieved, and updated.
For Sales, ECM helps with the digital storage and control of customer details, proposals, pitches.
For Purchase and Procurement, ECM helps with the digitization and update of contracts, purchase orders, price information, while customizing all the information per supplier.
For Finance, ECM reduces the manual and cognitive effort involved in processing and reporting.
For Healthcare, ECM can lay the foundation of patient digital records that are shareable and transferable among departments and medical institutions.
For Administrative bodies, ECM can drive a paper-free interaction with citizens where the latest versions of all forms and instructions is available at all times.
Why should I invest in ECM tomorrow?
Invest in an ECM system, if you are an enterprise which is seriously engaged in:
- Digitizing all its business assets for a smooth and unified user experience
- Making content a prime vertical rather than an afterthought
- Delivering a consistent brand voice across all channels
- Building the future on accumulated knowledge
ECM is a holistic approach which links how content gets created, how it is used, and how it is then distributed. With ECM systems, your content will never again be mismanaged, lost, inaccurate, or compliance challenged.