As a business, it’s nearly impossible to function properly without a good enterprise content management system in place. Businesses are generating very valuable and often sensitive content and materials on a routine basis, so establishing a strong content management system at an enterprise level is crucial to a business’ success.
But first, let’s take a step back and establish what enterprise content management (ECM) actually means. ECM is a very broad term used to describe how an organization’s documents and related content are stored and organized. The term ECM covers many different strategies, methods, and a host of technologies, including web content management and digital asset management.
The technology behind ECM has come a long way since 2000, when the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) first defined the term as “the technology used to capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.”
Today, that definition has grown to encompass records management and document management systems, as well as data conversion systems. Though technology has certainly improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade and a half, a good ECM system should still meet the basic requirements that the AIIM laid out 14 years ago.
To achieve this, it’s important to recognize how ECM fits into the dynamic of other rapidly evolving technology, namely cloud-based computing, in the business world. Thanks to the dramatic shift to the cloud, the strongest ECM option for most businesses is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) provider.
As we’ve outlined in detail before, cloud computing and SaaS models are typically much more cost efficient than their on-premise counterparts. The process of deploying a SaaS model is much simpler and less time-consuming than legacy systems, and there’s usually no need for IT to step in. Because most cloud/SaaS providers offer a subscription-based service, it’s much easier to scale the product as your needs grow.
The benefits of choosing a cloud-based ECM provider also go hand in hand with the growing trend of enterprise mobility, supported largely by the ongoing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement in the workplace. When you’re storing your business-critical images, documents and files in a cloud-based system, it is much easier to access them anywhere, anytime from a range of devices. That’s especially helpful for today’s business, which is filled with workers who bring their personal devices to work and expect them to function fully in an enterprise environment.
Finally, another significant benefit of deploying a cloud/SaaS model over an on-premise ECM system is the ability to easily monitor who is accessing content from where. This is especially critical for businesses that have extremely valuable files and content stored in their ECM, making it imperative to understand how that intellectual property is being used. And with SaaS ECM systems, monitoring your data doesn’t just end there – cloud technology allows for powerful reporting and analytics to give rich insight into what material is being accessed for what purposes .