Enterprise content management (ECM) solutions enable an organization to take full advantage of the customer information and company knowledge embedded in its content. ECM solutions capture, store, activate, analyze and automate business content, providing new value from data that was previously unstructured and unavailable.
When effectively managed across the organization, content can be used to engage customers, automate business processes and enhance collaboration.
Content is the currency that fuels and funds digital transformation. Content possesses information about customers — their behaviors, sentiments and value to the organization, but only if you can harness it. Collectively, content buried in repositories, file shares and cloud folders across the enterprise represents the knowledge of the organization. Now, more than ever, an enterprise content strategy is an essential milepost on the journey to becoming a digital business.
As content grows at unprecedented speeds, organizations are taking concrete steps to bring content under control. “Content chaos” — the lack of digitized content and the inability to access the right content at the right time — is one of the most pervasive barriers to becoming a digital business.
Organizations that are serious about digital transformation need to start with the basics. First, capture the content at the first opportunity. Next, classify it and apply governance rules. Then, control who can access it, and give people tools to find it quickly. Finally, put the content in motion for business processes and collaboration.
Successful adoption of ECM begins with an assessment of the enterprise. Where are paper-based processes slowing down results? Where is business content located in the enterprise: are they in file shares, ECM systems or cloud repositories? And what is your strategy for governance, compliance and document retention?
ECM solutions are scalable and often start with a department or line-of-business application. Once all stakeholders are engaged and have provided input, you develop a vision and measurable goals for the solution and, after thorough testing and user training, deploy the solution. Often, the success of the solution spreads to other departments, which start lobbying to be the next project.
ECM is best deployed as an enterprise solution. Once the first project has been completed, many elements and procedures can be reused, making subsequent projects less expensive and faster to deploy. Many businesses develop a shared-services strategy to maximize their investment in people, content and technology.