Does Your Business Need an ECM or Online File Sharing Application?

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Sending files to your coworkers and customers used to be a complicated task. You may have used file transfer protocol applications or just emailed files around the company. In some cases, you may have even copied files to a disc and mailed or walked it over to a colleague.

Today, organizations have nearly endless options like Dropbox, Box, Google and Microsoft SharePoint for collaboration. Thanks to online cloud storage, file-sharing is as easy as clicking a “Share” button or sending a link to a colleague. However, there is a point at which sharing is not enough.

File sharing and storage programs are increasingly powerful, but there is a point at which a business needs more powerful tools like Electronic Content Management (ECM), Content Management Systems (CMS) or other advanced technology to make workflows click. The good news is that ECM and file sharing applications can be complimentary assets— if you know how to make them work together.


When documents are stores in disorganized online repositories, it can be difficult to bill clients or pay your own bills. Accounts Payable, Credit and Accounts Receivable departments simply need more than a storage system. And as companies grow, Human Resources will need to automate employee onboarding processes. In addition, organizations that require regulatory compliance need documents to be stored in certain ways, with rules followed and access provided in a timely manner.

As an organization grows, simply storing files in a shared repository will not meet your needs. Without rules and workflows, a shared repository can become a disorganized mess, and it will be impossible to manage access rights, track invoices or approvals or to enforce compliance and security standards. It is time to automate your workflows with ECM.

Predefining a workflow best suited to each company's approval process will simplify the routing of documents, delivering more rapid document circulation and approval activities. Automatically routing content throughout the organization takes documents from your file sharing application and delivers them to the right person for:

  • Approvals
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable
  • Legal Reviews


File storage systems can become data silos—data repositories that are not integrated and become a big bottleneck when it comes to efficiency. ECM allows for effective management of data and, more importantly, integration with current business analytics. Managed Content can serve as middleware connecting multiple applications, providing access to content in any application.

It’s especially challenging to maintain compliance when data is stored in different file storage systems. Most companies these days have remote workers, employees in various departments, third-party vendors, employees working in other countries and more. These people have laptops at home and at work, smartphones and tablet computers. All this information must be structured in a way that it can be stored or accessed successfully whenever needed, especially if your company depends on regulatory approvals.

Advanced OCR and automated data entry found in modern ECM and managed content solutions means you don’t have to manually create records and manage them in a repository. For example, our Business Analysts can deploy self-learning applications that the pull metadata from scans and store, route and share the content based off the document type. Managed content technology can even read and write metadata across applications. This means you can automatically identify records for regulatory and compliance needs and route them to where they are needed.

At a minimum, managed content should enable you to do the following:

  • Automate document security and record retention.
  • Support existing workflows for your users.
  • In addition to folders and directories that are easy to make sense of, you should be able to search both file names and for content inside of documents.
  • Include helpful collaboration features like secure file sharing, version control, roll back features and more.
  • Deliver file security, access control and provide audit trails necessary to maintain compliance in your industry.

Look at the list above and compare it with the features your current systems offer. The more items on that list you don’t have access to, the more likely it is that a new option is in order. If that is the case, a managed content system would be the best way to not only avoid information chaos, but to enable more collaboration and enhance your bottom line. 

There is more information available to us today than ever before, but with an ECM system to capture, preserve, archive and make this content actionable, companies are saving money as well as finding new revenue sources. Talk to the business process experts at the Gordon Flesch Company about how to start or build on your own managed content solution.

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