The 7 Components of ECM

You’ve decided that your organization needs to make a change to get faster, more competitive, and less resource hungry — and you want to start by eliminating paper. But where to start?

For many businesses, the answer is Enterprise Content Management (ECM). But what is Enterprise Content Management? And what do the various components of ECM mean for your organization?

The 5 Components of ECM According to AIIM

No, that subheading isn’t a typo. Before we breaking into all seven ECM components, we should reference the list put out by the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM).  They define ECM as a ” formalized means of organizing and storing an establishment’s documents, and other content, that relate to the establishment’s processes.”

Following this definition, they have divided ECM into five components, including:

  1. Capture
  2. Manage
  3. Store
  4. Preserve
  5. Deliver

We briefly explore these components of Enterprise Content Management below:

1. Capture

Capture is the process of using OCR Software to convert information from paper documents into an electronic format. Capture is key to turning unstructured data into structured data and creating metadata for search and retrieval. It includes:

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
  • Intelligent Character Recognition(ICR)
  • Optical Mark Recognition (OMR)
  • Barcode Recognition

2. Manage

The “manage” component refers to the management of every captured document throughout every stage of its lifecycle. Managing your electronic content means automating retention policies, digital collaboration, Document Management, Business Process Management (BPM), and more.

3. Store

Securely storing your information is essential if you want to protect your customers, employees, partners, and, of course, your business. With ECM, all digitized documents are stored in a secure digital repository that can only be accessed by permitted users.

4. Preserve

Preservation of your information builds on the “store” component. Reliable ong-term storage is essential for regulatory compliance and to ensure that you have everything accounted for whenever the need arises.

5. Deliver

According to AIIM, delivery (output management) is the final component of ECM and is composed of three groups:

  • Transformation Technologies
  • Security Technologies
  • Distribution

The 7 Components of Enterprise Content Management According to IntelliChief

AIIM’s breakdown of ECM does a great job of covering the fundamental requirements of a true ECM system; however, it fails to account for two very important factors. In fact, these two factors are arguably the most important things to consider when shopping for a best-in-class ECM solution. These factors also bookend AIIM’s list, rendering them absolutely essential. Below, we’ll explain why as we detail our list of the seven components of Enterprise Content Management as advised by our experience implementing ECM for hundreds of companies across the United States and beyond. They include:

  1. Integrate
  2. Capture
  3. Manage
  4. Store
  5. Preserve
  6. Deliver
  7. Automate

6. Integrate

Simply put, you cannot adopt an ECM system without a seamless integration with your core technologies. It’s just not going to happen. This is an essential component of ECM that cannot be overlooked. Whether you utilize Oracle, JD Edwards, Infor, SAP, Microsoft, or another system of record entirely, your ECM solution needs to act as a connector between these systems to ensure that business processes can be completed to satisfaction and information can be shared across departments or business units when required. It’s also essential for our seventh and final component of ECM.

7. Automate

Automation is arguably the biggest value add when it comes to leveraging an ECM platform for your company. Tedious, time-consuming tasks such as document filing, invoice processing, sales order processing, and more can be automated from start to finish with best-in-class ECM. In our experience implementing ECM For hundreds of customers, the ability to automate Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Processing, and other important business functions were commonly the main incentives for implementing ECM. Of course, the Content Management side of ECM is essential, but the cost savings made possible through automation are unheralded.

To learn more about how Enterprise Content Management transforms businesses by giving them superior control of information, documentation, and business processes, contact IntelliChief today.