How enterprise content management can help organizations manage their content?
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) enables it to move beyond traditional document management by providing an integrated enterprise platform to manage the complete lifecycle of information, automate content-based business processes, and enable record management.
“Companies are using ECM in a variety of ways to address various business issues. New technological innovations are rapidly increasing the capabilities of ECM, making it an even more useful tool,” said HTC Global Services. Says Prashant Kothari, head of ECM practice.
Smart Business spoke with Kothari about ECM and how it can help organizations manage ever-growing content and information.
Why is ECM important?
An ECM platform can help organizations gain better control over content and information. It also helps to streamline business processes to increase productivity and efficiency, thus reducing costs. An ECM platform gathers all the information in a way that helps knowledge workers make quick decisions.
What types of businesses can benefit from using ECM?
It can benefit almost any business that deals with content in both paper and electronic form. Content may include documents, emails, faxes, multimedia, transaction records, and other digital assets.
ECM is critical for any business dealing with challenges such as a large amount of content that needs to be made more accessible and usable, the inability to complete operational tasks that require content for decision making. Is, or is a regulatory compliance mandate that requires more control over unstructured information. Within the organization.
How does the business process get integrated, and how does it benefit businesses that use ECM?
Business Process Management (BPM) enables manual business process automation. It provides a comprehensive set of workflow capabilities for end-to-end automation. This helps automate task assignments, motivate work on a specific event, or make decisions using default rules.
It integrates content with the business process, thus helping an organization make timely decisions using the most accurate information available. Such capability can reduce cycle times and improve productivity throughout the organization and provide significant returns on investment.
What is the process of setting up an ECM system for business?
The ECM platform provides software components that can be used in sandstone mode or as a unified platform with other components. At the highest level, these components can be grouped into functionality for imaging, content and data capture, content management, process management (workflow), records management, electronic forms, collaboration, and business rules management.
The process begins with an assessment of the content management requirements and the process management requirements (if any). Identify the type of content that needs to be managed and the source material format. How and who will need access to this content after it has been stored?
This evaluation is then used to identify the components of the ECM software that will be used to implement the solution. Once the ECM components have been identified, the hardware and infrastructure requirements are explained.
The solution is then designed to explain content capture, content management, user access, user roles and security, system integration, repository storage, and configuration for reporting. The software is then configured according to the design and customized.
There are many ECM software products on the market that can be selected, and these products can be purchased and customized domestically, or hosted by overseas vendors. Some ECM vendors are now offering their software through the cloud (or SaaS) model.
Configure storage devices such as storage area networks to store content. Configure network administration and security servers such as Active Directory to define user authentication and access privileges. Configure content entry tools for importing content from various sources such as email, fax, and online. Configure scanners and/or multi-function copier machines to scan paper documents.
Implementing advanced features may require setting workflow, deadlines, and content retention policies. Some products provide features to define search parameters that can be customized for each business group to make it easier to find, retrieve and view content.
What should a company expect to invest in an ECM system as far as installation time is concerned, to train employees to use the system, and to update and maintain it?
It varies depending on the size of the organization and its needs. Implementing the basic system requires a minimum of time and training. Users can easily learn the system in a day or two. However, if it is a complex solution involving business process management, it may take a few weeks to implement and train.
What is the return on investment?
It grows as you move from basic imaging and document management features to the latest workflow automation and legacy integration into electronic discovery and content analytics features. However, a business that relies primarily on paper for all kinds of information can achieve significant ROI with just one basic system. This basic system can address the challenges of paper management, material distribution and delivery, disaster recovery, business continuity, and regulatory compliance.
ROI is calculated on a case-by-case basis considering factors such as information capture, information management, storage, sharing, processing, and communication management. In general, the efficiency achieved by implementing ECM is 20% and above.