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5 Frequently Asked Questions about Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Bill Dermody

In today’s digital world, it’s expected that you can find any document easily online, but that isn’t always the case. Organizations still have warehouses of file cabinets filled with paper documents, archaic business process workflows, and time consuming data entry methods. Enterprise Content Management was designed to fix these issues, but with every new technology comes frequently asked questions.

Below are five of the more frequently asked questions regarding ECM: 

1. What is Enterprise Content Management (ECM)?

Enterprise Content Management is the organization of structured and unstructured documents using technology and software that allows your organization to “work smarter, not harder.” As technology advanced and everything became digital, organizations needed a new way to store and access files, leading to the creation of ECM. Enterprise Content Management consists of four main points:

  • Capture: Capturing information from hardcopy documents or online forms and transferring it into the system

  • Manage: Managing the captured data in a structured format that allows quick and easy retrieval

  • Storing: Securely storing files in a central repository that can be accessed from multiple locations

  • Delivery: Implementation of business process workflows to automatically move documents from one step to the next

2. What are the Benefits of ECM?

There are many benefits of ECM depending on what solutions you implement, but some might not be as obvious as others. The most common benefits organizations see are:

  • Reduced Operating Costs: With everything being stored digitally online, your business will see a reduction in the cost of printing, shipping and storing paper files. Along with reduced operating costs, you’ll know you’re doing your part for the environment in making your business greener.

  • Increased Productivity: Staff members will no longer need to spend time searching for documents as they’ll be able to easily search and retrieve them instantly, leading to less downtime and staff frustration.

  • Minimize Risk: Adhering to compliance becomes much more manageable thanks to ECM. Documents will be safe and secure and allow for reporting and auditing of the information to be easier than ever.

  • Improved Workflows: Being able to see and control content within applications and automate the transfer from one staff member to the next improves the speed and organization of business processes.

The benefits don’t stop there; every organization utilizes ECM specifically to their needs and begins to see the various benefits almost immediately. 

3. Who Uses ECM?

The most common industries that use ECM are educational institutions and law firms due to the large number of documents they have to maintain, but that doesn’t mean other industries can’t benefit from it. The International Data Corporation (IDC) is projecting a 50 times growth rate in digital content from 2010 to 2020, and managing that content will prove to be a challenge for most. If being greener is a part of your business strategy, you’re struggling with archaic workflows or you want to see some of the benefits listed above, ECM is for you. 

4. How Does ECM Help with Compliance?

With the recent rise of cyberattacks comes more regulation, and adhering to compliance is critical to business. Organizations are doing more audits each year, internally and externally, and having all records available in an organized and secure location eases the burden of often daunting audits. With an ECM solution, records can be archived automatically according to industry standards, ensuring auditors have secure, remote access to all business-critical documents.

5. How Difficult is it to Implement an ECM System?

Implementing any enterprise system is not an easy task, and ECM isn’t an exception. Once you’ve made the decision on a vendor and are ready to begin the process, it’s important to take it one step at a time. Plan the implementation from start to finish, noting any potential obstacles or barriers that might make it difficult and how you plan to move past these. Communicate with everyone involved about the goals and expectations so everyone is on the same page. During the implementation period, test it frequently and early to avoid having to reverse hours of work if an error occurs. While it can seem difficult at first, a good ECM provider will be there to help every step of the way, and should continue after.

With the amount of digital content growing year after year, managing data will become more difficult and burdensome. If you think your business could benefit from ECM, contact an expert at Gordon Flesch Company for a free consultation to learn how an Enterprise Content Management system can improve your business.

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