ECM information can be categorized in most cases as structured, unstructured or semi-structured. It’s important to understand what types of information your ECM needs to manage based on the content categorization. Highly structured information can have an automated capture process into the ECM while completely unstructured content might need to be processed with the help of human intervention. ECM solutions that have features like OCR, OCR Zone, OMR & Barcode reading and database lookups will help in the capture automation process. ECM helps companies manage, control, securely share and dispose of digital content but that’s only the repository side of ECM.
ECM also can help in the area of transactional content. What is transactional content? Transactional content is information that is involved in a key business process that needs to have a decision or end result. ECM solutions that have workflow can greatly help companies improve on transactional content processes. An example of one of these processes might be the invoice approval within the finance department.
ECM solutions also can be used for content collaboration and even content creation. ECM software packages can have features like access control and check in/out that can be used to edit and publish content. An example of content collaboration might be contract management. ECM solutions can also be used to create new content with online forms and digital signatures. For instance, a HR onboarding process might start with an online form that is used to auto create the other HR documents needed for onboarding.
ECM software solutions come in many shapes and sizes, from systems designed to archive medium-size office documents to full-scale enterprise solutions that manage all types of content. In the end all ECM solutions try and serve the same goal: to provide a systematic method for creating, capturing, processing, categorizing, storing, locating and sharing content.
An ECM solution should also improve and protect access to information, comply with government regulations and improve upon operational efficiency.
All ECM solutions – Enterprise Content Management – are not created equal, so you’ll want to be discerning when determining the right one for your company.