What is ECM?
Paperwork. Email. Information in general. We all have too much of it these days – whether at home in our personal lives, or in the office, strewn across our desks and digital devices. The abundance of content – in both physical and electronic form – is overwhelming and extremely difficult to corral as we create, consume and distribute vast amounts of information daily.
Organizations suffer significant losses in time and productivity spent searching for information. This can translate to significant costs for a corporation. IDC estimates “the typical enterprise with 1,000 knowledge workers wastes $2.5 million to $3.5 million per year searching for nonexistent information, failing to find existing information or recreating information that can’t be found.” It’s estimated that the average worker spends 8.8 hours per week searching for information – to a tune of $14,209 per employee per year.
Not only does mismanaged information translate to lost time, productivity and a hit to the bottom line, it also – depending on your industry – puts your company at risk for noncompliance with various regulations or corporate policies.
What is ECM? Enterprise Content Management supports data governance efforts by adding structure to control and execute business rules around data. This protects your organization by efficiently managing where to store data, how to archive it and flagging when to destroy it. This strict control over sensitive information is required by many federal regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley. Operating without ECM to help manage the data that lives in hardcopy form, digital form and out in the cloud exposes organizations to unnecessary risk and executives to unwarranted headaches.
Forbes Insights reports that data-related problems cost the majority of companies more than $5 million annually – and that 95% of organizations agree strong information is critical for business success.
Fortunately, there’s also a technology category and a discipline that’s helping control and manage data. Read on to learn about ECM and how it fits into the overall digital transformation that’s taking place worldwide.
According to AIIM (the Association for Information and Image Management), ECM is, “neither a single technology nor a methodology nor a process, it is a dynamic combination of strategies, methods, and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver information supporting key organizational processes through its entire life cycle.” Basically, ECM is the process of managing the life cycle of data – from its creation through to its eventual disposal. And, it’s essential nowadays to have an ECM system that offers easy organization and delivery of data in a timely manner to remain competitive in any industry.
There are various stages of managing business content. Savvy businesses can leverage opportunities to gain efficiencies in these areas, while laggards may make costly missteps that can throttle productivity and introduce greater cost and risk into business operations. Let’s review these key components in the ECM life cycle:
As you read about ECM, you’ll likely come across the following phrases. Let’s take a look at a few key definitions:
ECM offers some of the highest direct return on investments rates ever reported. A study from AIIM reports that “59 percent of ECM users achieved payback in 12 months or less (a single budget cycle) including 28 percent seeing positive returns after just six months.”
In additional to financial gains, businesses reap additional benefits from an ECM platform, including:
When looking to implement an ECM initiative, consider the following questions when researching an ECM solutions and vendors:
Another consideration will be whether to opt for an on-premises solution or a cloud-based solution. ECM in the cloud offers benefits such as little to no upfront capital expenses and removes the onus on internal staff to supply hardware and IT resources to run and manage the software. Fast implementation, ease-of-access and flexibility also can go hand-in-hand with a cloud ECM deployment. Research firm Markets and Markets reports the cloud ECM market alone will grow from $9.9 billion to $34.4 billion by 2022.
However, cloud ECM isn’t ideal for every company, and you should evaluate your company’s needs and requirements. An ECM vendor that offers choice and flexibility in deployment models – cloud, on premises, and hybrid – can give your organization piece of mind that it will meet your needs today and in the future.