Enterprise Content Management, abbreviated ECM, can be defined as the systematic collection and organization of a company’s information to be used by a specific audience – customers, business executives, etc. It is not a single technology, process, or methodology, but a dynamic combination of methods, tools, and strategies that are used to capture, store, manage, deliver, and preserve information needed to support critical organizational processes through their entire lifecycle.

Unstructured information, and that includes Excel spreadsheets, scanned images, and PDF’s, are stored and made available to the right individuals at the right time. The main reason why Enterprise Content Management is implemented by different organizations, from contract management to commercial supply chains, or government administration to HR processes, is so that they can do business better.

By organizing unstructured information to suit business needs and eliminating the dependence on paper documents, it becomes easier for businesses and organizations to work more efficiently. Regardless of industry, Enterprise Content Management can help streamline business processes, remove over-dependence on paper, increase productivity, improve customer service, and reduce organizational risk.

The Key Components Of Electronic Content Management

  • Capture – This involves the creation of new information by converting paper docs into electronic files, organizing information, and sorting electronic data in a cohesive structure.
  • Store – This involves the temporary backing up of frequently changing information for specified periods within lithe folder structures, allowing users to edit or view the information stored.
  • Manage – This component involves connecting, modifying and using information through different things like collaborative software, document management, records management, and web content management.
  • Preserve – This component involves the backing up of information that is not changed that often and is often accomplished by using a variety of record management features. It’s commonly used to assist organizations to comply with government regulations and others.
  • Deliver – This component involves making sure that end users and clients get the information they request.

Key Features of Electronic Content Management

Electronic Content Management can be broken down into 5 major components. Here is a look at these components:

1. Capturing Documents Digitally

The management of an organization’s content using ECM starts with the capturing and importing of information from documents to a secure digital repository. This could be any document created, stored, archived or shared, including:

  • Job applicant’s resumes
  • Vendor invoices
  • Research reports
  • Correspondence
  • Contracts

Some of the methods used to capture documents include:

  • Scanning paper document
  • Working with “already-digital” content creation options like PDF, Microsoft Office documents, etc.
  • Automatically categorizing and filing documents from MFPs, servers, and other shared digital locations

2. Storage of Documents in Digital Repositories Through ECM systems, enterprises can easily store all their business-critical documents in a digital repository that can be easily accessed. This not only makes it easy to keep track of where critical documents are located but also reduces the complexity, cost and time associated with managing critical documents throughout their lifecycle. This helps improves compliance with organizational record retention/storage policies.

3. Retrieval of Documents, Regardless of Location or Device

Once an Enterprise Content Management system has securely stored an organization’s records, it allows and makes it possible for users to find whatever document they want using:

  • Full-text search
  • Specific phrases or words within a document’s metadata, entry name, annotations, and text
  • Preset search options like document creation date and such

ECM helps eradicate the time spent on searching for documents and information, making it easier for employees to answer information requests from auditors, clients and citizens instantaneously. Apart from that, it gives staff instant access to information they need to make better, informed decisions about the different issues affecting an organization’s bottom line.

4. Automating Document-Driven Processes

By automating processes, Electronic Content Management helps organizations avoid manual tasks, such as photocopying, repetitive dragging and dropping, and hand delivery to achieve better results with the use of just a few resources. Some ECM programs have digital automation features that are able to:

  • Alert users when documents require attention
  • Automatically deliver documents to the right users when they are required
  • Recognize documentation errors before any work is done

For instance, records have to be archived, purchase orders need to be signed, and employee vacation requests need to be denied or approved. ECM automation ensures that these documents move through the required steps of approval and review, in the specified order. The result is processes that are not only streamlined and cost-efficient, but also error-free.

5. Securing Documents and Reducing Organizational Risk

With industry compliance restrictions in different industries becoming stricter by the day, many organizations are now turning to ECM systems to protect themselves against risk and to optimize their record management practices. Dependable ECM systems provide customizable security settings that allow organizations to protect their information from unauthorized modification or access.


  • Monitor system logout and login, password changes, document creation and destruction, and so much more
  • Restrict access to documents, annotations, fields, folders, and other minute document properties as per set parameters
  • Protect sensitive document metadata by controlling access to information right down to individual templates, fields, and folders

Electronic Content Management solutions make it possible for line-of-business departments to manage user access independently. This way, sensitive human resource information stays within the human resource department, while private and critical financial data remains within the finance department despite information from both departments being stored within the same repository.

The Importance and Benefits Of Enterprise Content Management

Electronic Content Management systems provide a centralized platform on which content can be retained and disseminated in manners that meet risk management guidelines and regulatory compliance requirements. ECMs achieve these benefits by abolishing ad-hoc processes which can expose a company to regulatory compliance risks amongst other potential issues. Fully functional ECM systems possess features like content taxonomies, check-in and check-out, auditing capabilities, and other security mechanisms and workflow controls.

An effective ECM software can streamline business processes and access, optimize security, minimize overhead, maintain the integrity of the organization, and eliminate bottlenecks by reducing mailing and paper needs, as well as storage – aspects that will, ultimately, increase productivity. All the organization needs to do is document all types of content it deals with, the processes it deals with, and who handles content. ECM systems can be used to identify near-duplicate and duplicate content, allowing the business to keep fewer copies of particular pieces of content instead of many similar ones.

Enterprise Content Management systems have become increasingly complex and important in recent days for a number of reasons. Data breaches and financial fraud, including regulations set to prevent them, have improved information governance not just for compliance reasons, but to also help safeguard an organization’s reputations. It is vital that companies and organizations also manage their content more effectively to ensure that business analytics and business intelligence applications that help them use available information to make informed business decisions integrate.

Enterprise Content Management tools and strategies are constantly changing to adjust to the demands of businesses looking for more integration and agility. As technology continues to evolve, we should expect to see more features added to ECM platforms.

As a modern-day business or organization operating in today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected world, it makes no sense having documents and files scattered across various email accounts, smartphones, and hard drives. You do not want to waste precious time searching for critical information while your competitors are already out there winning and transforming the industry.

An Enterprise Content Management system offers set processes and methods of storing, organizing and delivering data at any time to all intended recipients while, at the same time, removing informational bottlenecks and helping you overcome the challenge of having to handle too much paper.

Other cases

Contact ProcessDelight

Questions or comments? Discover how ProcessDelight makes a difference for your business processes. Contact us right away.

#ProcessDelight bvba
Follow us

This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.