What is enterprise content management (ECM)?
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Enterprise content management (ECM) is a set of capabilities for capturing, storing, activating, analyzing and automating business content, in order to provide new value from data that was previously unstructured and unavailable.

With enterprise content management, an organization can take full advantage of the customer information and company knowledge embedded in its content. When effectively managed across the organization, this content can be used to engage customers, automate business processes and enhance collaboration.

Why enterprise content management is important to your business

Content is the currency that fuels and funds digital transformation. Content possesses useful information about customers—their behaviors, sentiments and value to the organization—but only if you can harness it. Collectively, content buried in repositories, file shares and cloud folders across the enterprise represents the knowledge of the organization.  

As content grows at unprecedented speeds, organizations are taking concrete steps to streamline their processes relating to content services. “Content chaos”—the lack of digitized content and the inability to access the right content at the right time—is a pervasive barrier to businesses today. 

Now, more than ever, ECM software is an essential element on the journey to becoming a digital business.

How to get started with enterprise content management

Organizations that are serious about digital transformation can start with the basics. First, capture the content, classify it and apply governance rules. Then, control who can access it and provide tools to find it. Finally, put the content in motion for business processes and collaboration.

Identify the role content plays in your business

Successful adoption of ECM begins with an assessment of the enterprise. Where are paper documents slowing down results? Where is business content located in the enterprise? Is it in file shares, cloud repositories or an ECM system? And what is your strategy for governance, compliance and document retention?

Select an initial project

ECM solutions are scalable and often start with a department or line-of-business application. Once all stakeholders are engaged and have provided input, develop a vision and measurable goals for a management solution. Then, after thorough testing and user training, deploy the solution. Often, the success of the solution spreads to other departments, which will lobby to be the next ECM project.

Extend ECM across the enterprise

ECM is best deployed as an enterprise solution. Once the first project has been completed, many elements and procedures can be reused, making subsequent projects less expensive and faster to deploy. Many businesses develop a shared-services strategy to maximize their investment in people, content and technology.

Related solutions
Content services

Control your content chaos by making it easier for employees to securely access the information they need, when they need it. Combined with the resilience and scalability of the AWS Cloud, IBM Content Services enables you to integrate content into your application with an out-of-the-box user experience.

Learn more about Content Services at IBM

Content management

Manage your content where it is created. Securely collaborate on and share content wherever needed—and do it from any device. Protect it and make it easier to find. Implement enterprise archival and retrieval. Deploy it in the cloud, on premises or as a hybrid solution.

Learn more about IBM FileNet®

Document capture and imaging

Capture both paper and digital documents wherever they enter your organization. With automatic classification and extraction of data, you can accelerate customer-related business processes and reduce the overall cost of document management.

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Resources Omdia Universe: Content Services Platform Solutions, 2023

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Enabling Innovation through RPA and Content Services

Learn how you can digitally transform your business with foundational technologies like RPA as well as content access and content digitization efforts that go well beyond the tactical ECM solutions today.

Migrating your ECM system to the cloud

Make migrating your enterprise content management system to the cloud a painless process with these top 10 tips.

Take the next step

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