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Enterprise Content Management

It's not enough to "manage" content. Of course, the ability to access the correct version of a document or record is important, but companies must go further. Content must be managed so that it is used to achieve business goals. Central to this strategy are the tools and technologies of ECM, which manage the complete lifecycle of content, birth to death. To drive understanding of these tools, this poster highlights a typical process for a piece of content as well as four primary areas in which content, and ECM, is fundamental to the success of your company: Compliance, Collaboration, Continuity, and Cost.

While there are ECM technologies, more importantly, ECM is an ongoing and evolving strategy for maximizing how your content is to be used. Use the information below as a starting point to review a common content lifecycle. Map a current process to see where you may find overlap and room for improvement for the applications and strategies that your business is developing. The information below only hints at the complexity inherent in any process that deals with managing an organization's content. As always, you must match up the technology tools to address YOUR businesses needs. Technology can enable streamlined management of content, but the underlying strategy must come first.

The key to a successful compliance strategy is integrating the idea of compliance success into your business-not viewing compliance as a project that can be completed and then considered "finished." While painful, complying with regulations should be viewed as an opportunity to improve common business processes and not just an ongoing cost to the business. It is no secret that there can be high costs associated with your compliance initiatives for both technology and employees. Only securing compliance for one regulation such as Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA will cause your costs to continue to grow as each new regulation is delivered over the years. To help limit the risk and cost, proactive ECM strategies must be developed within key areas, such as records management and business process management. Ensuring that the proper business practices are followed and that content is properly captured, stored, managed, and disposed of at the appropriate and legal time in its lifecycle. Developing a compliance initiative properly will tap many areas of expertise, particularly legal, IT, and records management; all in support of the overall business objectives of the organization. Individuals from each of these areas must contribute their knowledge and perspectives to ensure the benefits of a sound compliance program. While compliance is not always a technology problem, information technology, and the massive growth of unstructured content, contributes to corporate exposure. The tools of ECM, properly used, can help reduce the overall cost of compliance to the business.

The information provided in this page is courtesy of AIIM ®.  Please click here for more information on ECM.