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What is Enterprise Content Management (ECM)?

January 25, 2021 - Document Management

What is Enterprise Content Management (ECM)?
Mat Hourigan

Posted by Mat Hourigan

As the world continues to become more digitized, the difficulty for businesses to manage shared documents and file archives effectively increases. According to a report by Small Business Trends, 82% of the respondents said the reason their productivity is hurt by poor information management is because they have to navigate different systems and locations to find what they need.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the proliferation of remote work environments has accelerated the digital transformation trend and the need for businesses to implement a centralized system that securely stores, backups, and transmits content while still providing access to remote employees. Simply managing content without a strategy in place will no longer be sufficient.

So how can a business navigate these barriers? Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is your solution.

Understanding Enterprise Content Management

In order for organizations to utilize ECM effectively, they first need to understand how the solution works. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions help businesses capture, manage, edit, route, store, and retrieve electronic content in a fast and secure manner. ECM solutions simplify entry and search functions of an organization’s digital archive to provide users with easy access to an organized content library from any device. By centralizing content and data, businesses can run smoothly and efficiently regardless of where employees are working from.

An effective ECM solution will combine industry software, hardware, and support services in a comprehensive, end-to-end approach to provide businesses a powerful, scalable solution tailored to their specific business requirements. The right managed service provider (MSP) will work lock step with businesses to create a customizable ECM strategy. Organizations should make sure a MSP has a wide variety of ECM software and hardware solutions to ensure they’re able to capture, manage, store, integrate, and safeguard all business content including documents, images, emails, videos, and instant messages.

Providing Business Benefits with Enterprise Content Management

An ECM strategy provides businesses freedom from the abundance of pain points associated with unmanaged content. A comprehensive ECM solution will improve business operations and streamline processes by allowing businesses to work more efficiently and productively. ECM solutions can take advantage of mobile access and cloud capabilities to capture information from virtually anywhere and deliver it to enterprise applications which accelerates processes, minimizes latency, speeds up transaction processing, and reduces costs. 

One of the most attractive benefits of an ECM solution is a streamlined document capture process. ECM solutions centralize storage of company archives and information to reduce time and money spent preparing and managing paper documents. The importance of efficient document capture in the digital age has led to many industries including healthcare and manufacturing to adopt ECM solutions to mitigate their document environment challenges.

A comprehensive ECM solution will include workflow automation software that enables users to retrieve up-to-date documentation customized to their access level, eliminating the need for paper management, storage, and individual file sharing. Workflow automation software helps avoid errors and keep employees on track with more meaningful tasks by automating repetitive workflows like data entry, redaction, and Bates stamping.

>> Learn how vendor invoice approval for business essentials automated workflow  software can streamline the invoice approval process for remote employees. 

Other benefits of ECM include:

  • Improved workflow and productivity
  • Minimize paper, office supplies, storage space, and fees
  • Securely store, backup, and transmit content
  • Ensure regulatory compliance
  • Secure access via multiple devices including mobile 
  • Remote employee access
  • Increased access to current and correct resources
  • User-specific clearance preferences
  • Vertical-industry specific software
  • Integrate centrally stored data with other crucial systems

>> Learn more with the Work Faster and Smarter: Content Management Guide.


Mitigating Content Management Problems with ECM Solutions

Mismanaged content can lead to numerous problems for an organization. Whether it be lost productivity due to confusion over multiple versions of documents, or lost revenue due to security compliance issues, ECM can provide the solution. Businesses looking to streamline their data and content processes can turn to ECM to provide solutions for a variety of their document management challenges. 

For the numerous content management problems plaguing businesses, ECM has these solutions to mitigate the accumulated friction in the content management process:

  • Capture Documents. Capture important documents and data into one centralized and secure system.

  • Link Documents. Intuitively link documents and data within a business’s legacy and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to activities in other applications.

  • Access Content. Easy to use software allows for quick access to content from any location.

  • Automate Workflows. Machine-driven workflows can handle predictable and repeatable processes, and facilitate case management requirements.

  • Store Content. Securely store, protect, and destroy content as needed. Controlled access and automated record management policies also help to secure document storage.

  • Monitor Performance. Helps to easily produce reports, keep tabs on all processes, and make more informed decisions.

Using ECM in your Organization

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of having access to business-critical information regardless of location; whether that be in the office or working remotely. Organizations can utilize ECM solutions to navigate accessibility barriers caused by remote work environments and implement a sustainable document management solution to mitigate future content management challenges. 

Organizations that are aware of ECM and the associated benefits can leverage dynamic ECM solutions to solve a variety of content management challenges. Eliminating these obstacles will reduce manual processes, minimize content errors, automate access classification, and provide additional benefits to organizations to allow them to focus their time and resources on high priority areas.

The right managed service provider will provide organizations trained document management specialists to create a customized ECM strategy to solve their complex document challenges.   By maximizing efficiency and streamlining data and content management, workflow automation can be the differentiator that puts your organization ahead in an ever-growing competitive digital market.

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Mat Hourigan

about the author

Mat Hourigan

Mat Hourigan is a Product Engineer working with SymQuest’s document sales team as a pre-sales specialist to identify solutions, workflows, and efficiencies for our clients and future clients.