Enterprise Content Management is a perfect manager for you if you are struggling with managing your important documents and other records. ECM system is a group of aligned systems which provides a structure to your chaotic world of information. As the name says, enterprise content management tools help companies organize and manage disorganized stuff such as documents, images, health or accounting records, surveys, product information, emails, and web pages.
Managing a company is itself very laborious, and then to manage company’s data is backbreaking. You must hire herculean employees to manage all these or you can go with enterprise content management tools. These tools are very easy to use, affordable and efficiently manage your data. Companies can use this software to streamline the cycle of information and easily track each and everything while maintaining the data security. These tools are compatible with almost every file formats like .doc, .xls, .jpeg, .png, .tiff, .xml, .html, .odf etc. It lets you store a large amount of content, dispose of waste data, distribute information and create workflows as well.
Enterprise CMS is different from standard CMS. A standard CMS is primarily used to publish content on the web, whereas Enterprise CMS is a helping tool for large organizations which helps to manage diverse files and documents.
What Enterprise CMS does?
- Electronic Document Management
- Document Centric Collaboration
- Electronic Records Management
- Workflow Management
- Email Management
- Business Process Management
- Digital Asset Management
- Web Content Management and Portals
- Search and Retrieval
- Deliver and Repurposing
- Information Organization and Access
- Security and Access Control
Must Have Qualities In An ECM System
Before buying any ECM system, one must be clear in mind what they want. One must look for an ECM system which best fits the needs of their particular business.
Here are some qualities to look for your enterprise content management tools.
- Flexibility: Start your hunt with the most basic level i.e. flexibility. Your enterprise CMS should be flexible enough to gel well with all other applications of the system at your company. If you can find such an ECM system, then you can save yourself from consequential struggles. An ECM system should be able to handle and customize all the metadata of your site so that any content can be searched easily when needed.
- Integration: To add a new function to your existing system can be a little messy if your enterprise content management tools don’t provide end to end information management. Your tool should be able to adapt and integrate well with the essential applications of your business use. A well integrated ECM system will allow your day to day applications like Microsoft Office and AutoCAD to easily store the content without any interruptions.
- Categorization: Do you know, 80% of the world’s data is unstructured data. In order to keep things simple and aligned at your company, the best thing is to find tools which can systematically classify your data and put it in an index. When you assign a project to your employees, your data remains fragmented, but what if, you have a tool which can collect all the files and documents of that project and stores it at a place. It will become easily accessible and you don’t have to search for it at multiple places.
- Compliance: Each and every document of any project should comply with all the rules and regulations. An ECM system allows you to keep all the metadata at one place so that you can review them whenever you want. Also, your compliance tools will be password protected so that only authorized person can access those files. This will help you majorly at times like surprise audits where you will need all the compliances files and other related data.
- Cornerstone: Enterprise content management tool becomes a cornerstone of your business as it offers a very reliable support to your company. It intersects with different kinds of operation and offers a global tech support along with educational and training documents. It also helps you resolve any technical issue by providing quick troubleshooting. Not all tools provide such kind of support, so choose wisely.
- Pricing: You can ask your vendor for the attributes you want in your ECM system and can get pricing quotations easily. As ECM system is easily customizable, its prices vary from attribute to attribute and aren’t posted.
Best Enterprise CMS:
- OnBase by Hyland:
It is one of the most complete software available in the market today. It provides easy integration with outlook and performs day to day operations easily. It also keeps a backup of every file so even if you lose any file; you have the backup of that file. OnBase scans your documents and aligns them in the form of an index on the basis of predefined keywords. It also provides you to set up permissions so that none of the unauthorized person can access or view that particular file. Hyland provides you a number of tech support, quick troubleshooting, and online training courses.
- SharePoint: Microsoft integrated multiple software with SharePoint to create an ECM system that provides collaboration, versioning, access control, records management, indexing and search, workflow, audit, and Web content management. It also allows its customers to design workflow, document sharing and synchronizing team content to folders for offline use.
- Seismic: Seismic allows your marketing team to personalize content at small and large scales. It dramatically improves selling and win rates. One can easily update any fact, logo, case study or ROI model and the changes will appear in every metadata. Your sales team can access data from anywhere anytime. It provides you regular insights so that you can figure out what is working and what’s not.
Best Document Management ECM Tool:
- M-Files: It is designed to make your workflow easier by efficiently handling your document and files management. It allows you to set up the automated workflow so that one’s task is completed and approved; it automatically goes to the next level person. It also has its mobile app to make it more users friendly. Version control is the key feature of this tool that allows commenting on its previous versions. It also provides permission setting option, so that you can set limited access to important documents.
- DocuShare: DocuShare is a content management system developed by Xerox Corporation. It makes use of open standards and allows for managing data, integrating it with other business systems, and developing customizable software applications. This platform helps your company and its employees get connected to diverse users and contents. Your partners, employees, and customers can easily access, share and edit business information.
Best ECM For Scalable Solution:
- LaserFiche: This ECM system offers many different options for all size businesses. LaserFiche is of three types: LaserFiche Avante for small to medium size businesses, LaserFiche Rio for scalable businesses and LaserFiche is for larger businesses. It allows easy integration with other applications. Audit trials, compliance control, drag-drop and importing contents are some of its core features. Rio is priced on the basis of per user. LaserFiche is the most secured among the three. This enterprise content management tool specializes in enhancing your company’s workflow.
Best ECM For Customization:
- Alfresco: It is an open source enterprise which can be customized by your company employees according to your business needs. You don’t have to make any adjustments with this tool, just customize it as per your liking. Its interface and process automation is also customizable. It comes in different editions with different add-ons and modules for different business requirements. It helps you to increase your company’s productivity and workflow.
Best ECM For Collaboration:
- Huddle: Collaborating documents and projects is really hectic when it comes to doing it manually, but Huddle has made it really effortless. It is one of the best ECMs available in the market for creating a secure workplace for all your tasks and contents. It also provides you with communication tools and you can go back to previous versions of any file at any point of time. One can easily discuss revisions and deadlines on any particular projects as it facilitates comment streams.
Difference Between An ECMs And Document Management Software
Internet is a hub of advertisements. While searching for enterprise content management tools, you will come across hundreds of software. But it is really important to know whether they are delivering the same things that you want or not. So please read the product descriptions carefully and judge if it’s ECMs or document management software. There are some key differences between ECMs and document management software:
- Document management software is just a repository for documents, whereas an ECM allows you to manage different types of files like images, audios, videos, emails and other media formats.
- ECM systems are specifically designed to align the unstructured data. It allows categorization based on predefined keywords and metadata. On the other hand, Document management system manages your documents but does not provide categorization.
- In terms of security, ECMs provides you robust security options which are designed to deal with high risks. Whereas document management software is designed for scalable level risks.
Critical Aspects While Choosing An Enterprise CMS
ECM systems are generally very similar to each other, so the decision to choose becomes very difficult. But what you need to look for is the core functionality of and ECM system. Following are the critical aspects you should consider while choosing an enterprise CMS:
- The first thing you need to consider is storage. If your business generates large data then your ECM should be able to manage such huge data. If you want to increase the storage, you will need to pay more depending upon the size.
- If your company is collaborating with freelancers or contractors then you might need effective collaborative software so that you can allow external collaboration for the outsiders.
- Your ECM system should be easy to use. If it’s confusing or hard to learn then you might need to train your employees before using it. So it’s advisable to try the free demo before you purchase the software.
- If your company is a small scale company, you should consider using cloud storage or hybrid option as it is cost effective. But as your data will be prone to web attacks, it is advisable to create multiple security levels. If your company generates a huge amount of data, try to go for on-premises servers as all of your data will be on your servers and more security can be provided. Cloud hosting can also be used for clients and partners.
- While buying any ECM system, choose software which is providing training resources so that you can train your employees. Many of the software offer interactive courses which are beneficial for employees.
In the era of Internet, security of data is a big issue which the world is dealing with. Data is always vulnerable to cyber threats. Data hacks and breaches are some issues which can scare you from using these tools, but one must understand- avoiding is not a solution. When we talk about ECM systems, its security has progressed a lot and no one can get into your document without your permission. Tools are created to make your work easy. It is really a tough task to handle and organize such huge amount of data. So when it comes to managing your unstructured data, just opt for an ECM system. These ECM platforms are trying to destroy those potential threats to your data. It is simplifying their approaches to risks and governance as it is an integral component of any business. It reduces the line of errors in the company management. It allows your company to be compliance with all the rules and regulations. Organizations should understand their need and choose the enterprise content management software accordingly.