Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
More than just archiving: the capture and management of documents are becoming a critical business factor
Modern enterprise content management automates processes and does not require any paper at all
In 2010 the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) first introduced the term ECM, defined as the “strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes“ (Source: Wikipedia).
As the definition states, the components of ECM are capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver documents.
The question of when to move a document from “Store” to “Preserve” is a subject of current debate and the answer certainly differs from industry to industry. If a bank customer calls his credit institution requesting a copy of six-month-old account statement, it is certainly helpful if it is in some type of interim storage. Many banks archive only raw data under “Preserve” (what transaction occurred on day X, what was the account status on the due date), but not the layout of the document. Ultimately it’s impossible to save all information as printed pages.
To begin with, a bank transaction is a data record, and the account statement just one of many possible views of it. If we attempted to preserve all the possible forms of depicting the data, we would quickly reach the limits of technology.
ECM is becoming a critical success factor
Enterprise Content Management is therefore more than simply archiving and preserving data and documents, even though that is where ECM has its origins. Today the model includes the following processes:
- Document Management System
“Loose” designation for database-supported management of electronic documents.
(Interactive documents) Processing of documents in work groups, including releases, authorizations, signatures, and additions.
- Web Content Management System (WCMS)
Interaction with recipients/customers via Internet portals (Web 2.0).
- Records Management (RM)
Data-oriented document management, such as account statements.
- Workflow/Business Process Management
Definition of processes and rules for both batch processing and interactive documents. Examples: What documents need to be released when? When should an invoice be processed for payment? What are the restrictions for individual authorized signatories??
In sum, ECM is becoming a critical business factor that offers, ideally in combination with ADF 2.0 (process automation), significant optimization potential.