What is ECM?

Start here to understand the basics of enterprise content management

Enterprise content management (ECM) — sometimes referred to as document management or records management — is the process (strategies, methods and tools) of managing the entire lifecycle of an organisation’s content, including Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PDF files and scanned images. The goal of an ECM solution is to reduce risk and improve productivity, efficiency and customer service via the elimination of paper-based tasks and the enhancement of process visibility. 

What should I know about an ECM solution? 

  • Enterprise content management is an umbrella term for the technology, strategy and method used to capture, manage, access, integrate, measure and store information.
  • The value of today's ECM solution goes beyond simple scan, store and retrieve solutions. The ideal ECM solution encompasses all of the platform’s capabilities and strengths.
  • Sometimes the term transactional content management is used — but it’s only part of ECM. As mentioned, ECM is an umbrella term and transactional content management, often associated with business processes that help drive actions and decisions, is just another term under that umbrella.
  • Think of an ECM solution more like your enterprise content strategy. Remember, ECM has evolved into a term more associated with business processes and content strategies than as an enterprise content management system.
  • ECM solutions have evolved into content services. First-generation ECM solutions no longer fully reflect the way users create, use and interact with information. A successful content services approach helps you tackle these changes and combats information silos by delivering the right information to the right people at the right time.

How does enterprise content management benefit your business?

The primary function of an ECM solution is to simultaneously reduce clutter while increasing data and process visibility and accessibility, ultimately saving time and significantly lowering costs.

An ECM solution will help you:

  • Archive information quickly and access it quickly from wherever you are and whenever you need it
  • Eliminate paperwork and make whatever records-keeping you were doing via paper far more accessible and efficient
  • Organise and structure your company’s data in a way that makes it easy to cross-reference, providing invaluable context around and transparency into processes

What are the features of an ECM solution?

The capabilities of an ECM solution should enable you to build unlimited tailored solutions that integrate and work with your core applications and systems to deliver improved business processes. The features to look out for can be categorised into nine main functions.

  • Capture: This is the critical starting point of your content management journey; capture your documents — even in structured and unstructured formats — and automatically and intelligently extract, classify and validate information before seamlessly integrating it with core business applications. 
  • Content management: Get a complete view of your processes; automated content management simplifies access to the files you need so your team can make faster, better informed decisions.
  • Business process automation: Streamline critical processes; automate repeatable tasks, route documents, manage exceptions and extend key processes using configurable workflow tools and built-in rules and actions that are easily customisable without the need for IT support.
  • Case management: Get full visibility into an entire case from start to end; staff gets a 360-degree view of all the information they need for effective case management and enhanced customer service.
  • Customer communications management: Improve customer communications with content management integrations; create individually personalised content and handle a wide range of communication needs to cater to customer expectations.
  • Collaboration: Secure sharing and collaboration; share content, collaborate on documents and extend related processes to your users — whether internally or externally — in a secure environment.
  • Reporting and analytics: Discover, analyse and reimagine reporting and analytics; gain visibility into your content and processes in real-time with interactive dashboards and audit trails of all activities.
  • Search: Find the content you need no matter where it resides; intelligent query tools help search through repositories, sites, email systems, intranets and more from a single platform.
  • Records and retention management: Meet regulatory and compliance standards; configure automated rules and workflows for easily overlooked tasks like approvals, transfer to storage, archival and deletion. 

What makes OnBase unique in the world of enterprise content management?

OnBase, Hyland’s enterprise information platform, manages content and processes all from one platform, centralising your vital data and infrastructures to one secure location and delivering them to you when and where you need it. With only one platform to support, maintain and upgrade, the OnBase platform helps you reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and IT sprawl. The OnBase platform is also scalable to any size or type of organisation, allowing you to tailor your solutions to your exact requirements. Hyland, creator of OnBase, has been recognised as a leader for content services platforms by Gartner, Inc. 10 years in a row.