In the traditional business world, enterprise content management was kept structured and restricted to a back office to maintain a wide range of content. But that has since changed with the advancement of technology. In recent years, enterprise content management has shifted towards a more interactive role in an organization. 

As digitization becomes the norm in almost every industry, paper is becoming extinct. Cloud opportunities, artificial learning, and mobile capabilities have opened up a new set of capabilities in the business world regarding content. Digital content, including audio, images, video, pdfs, and socials, have eliminated the traditional enterprise content management methods.

So what is ECM?

In the modern business world, ECM (enterprise content management) refers to the collaborative process of digitally managing a company’s information to support its workflows and business goals. A reliable enterprise content management system enables a company to effectively access, organize, store and deliver vital information to all the business stakeholders, including employees and customers. 

That ensures that business information is readily accessible and helpful at any point of the content cycle. An enterprise content management platform can help you automate business processes, improve collaboration among teams and increase productivity. 

The main stages of the content lifecycle

  • Capture information, for instance, gathering research in your enterprise content management system.
  • Publishing content- an ECM makes it easy to publish content on your website and other platforms.
  • Archive content- one of the roles of ECM is to back up and archive content so that you never lose it.
  • Delete old content- ECM automatically deletes old and unused content to free up space for new content, and the process starts again.

Therefore, ECM is not a single technological process but a term that describes a set of methods that support capturing, managing, storing, and delivering information or content throughout its entire lifecycle. 

The content varies significantly depending on the company, but it generally refers to any information employees utilize to accomplish tasks. With digitization, the definition of content has broadened to include audio, video, web content, email, images, and social media files.

The best thing about an enterprise content management system is that it can manage both structured and unstructured content. Structured content refers to confined and defined data such as code repositories and databases. Unstructured content refers to data without a predefined format, such as PDFs, emails, and office documents.

Some business workflows that can benefit from ECM

  • HR automation- a quality ECM eliminates the need to maintain paper-based employee files and improves the hiring process. Generally, it streamlines HR information management and enhances compliance with HR onboarding mandates.
  • Contracts management- ECM allows employees and other stakeholders to collaborate and ensure timely reviews and approval of contracts by automatically delivering them to the right individuals.
  • Accounts automation- an ECM allows workers to accurately match, deliver and approve distribution purchase orders, delivery forms, and invoices to improve efficiency.

The bottom line

An enterprise content management system streamlines content lifecycle management by automating process workflows. It comes in handy for businesses with large volumes of content to eliminate inefficiencies, improve regulatory compliance, and reduce management costs.