The Datamax Thinking Blog

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An Introduction to ECM

ECM or Electronic Content Management allow for the storage of images and information on your network. Byron Aulick at Datavault posted an introduction to ECM at the Datavault Blog.

Enterprise Content Management, by definition, is the ability to gather, organize, and distribute corporate information, regardless of its original format. The ECM industry is rapidly becoming the most highly sought after service for 'Corporate America'. Having said that, let's first understand that ECM has no ‘vertical' market. Simply stated, this means that there is no one type of business served better than any other. ECM can help a medical facility handle its knowledge base just as quickly and efficiently as it can help an attorney's office manage their legal documents.

The second thing we need to recognize is that ECM has integrity. Think of it as an electronic library of knowledge. Similar to a library made of brick and mortar, once information is deposited, it becomes the central focal point for getting reliable data. In other words, you can depend on the reliability of the information because there is only one original copy, not five!

It is safe to say that ECM is not all things to all people. To be represented properly, it must be known as having a single focus; to afford a company the ability to reduce frustration in the office environment. How can it do that you say? By being a tool and by being the central repository for anything a computer can understand, staff only has to look in one place to find necessary information. Like a student doing a report, if you take them to a good library, they will find the information they need and the report will reflect it. ECM is that library! Additionally, the ECM library has security, accountability, reporting and audit-trails. Ooooh, if only the old-fashioned libraries had that kind of accountability, they would never loose a book!!

Thirdly, ECM is truly a ‘niche service' and therefore, it needs a ‘niche market'. The interface that the end-user sees on the screen, in most cases, can be simply modified to fit the perspective niche. For example, you can address the specific needs of a medical concern with a medical ‘interface'. If you choose to modify the initial login screen to contain medical terminology, the users will believe it was created especially for them! I am not advocating deception, just perception, and positive perception at that. Now you have a niche product, addressing the niche medical market

Certainly, this introduction only scratches the surface of ECM. However, its implications are far reaching. Consider this introduction as you begin to implement your new document management system.