By Virender Jeet, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing / Products, Newgen Software
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems have been around for quite some time. They have enabled businesses across industries to manage content and serve customers better. It evolved from Document Management Systems (DMS), which primarily digitized, stored and managed documents through imaging, storage and document and record management technologies.
With ECM in place, businesses automated their complete content lifecycle from content generation, storage, archival to its retrieval. To address the needs of multi-channel digital content, ECM further advanced by leveraging cloud, mobility, analytics, and social technologies. Thus, allowing for easy information access through mobile devices. However, ECM stands to offer a lot more.
ECM- The Known and the Hidden
Other than managing content, ECM offers a host of benefits, which include:
Secure Information: ECM enables management and security of various content types, such as documents, forms, and electronic files. It facilitates organizations with a centralized repository for archiving data, thereby mitigating the risk of losing information from physical drives. It further encrypts data transfer from capture to archival and offers rights-based access to users, eliminating data leakage.
Better Regulatory Compliance: The system underpins the compliance issue by empowering companies to control and monitor information through detailed audit logs and reports. It conforms to various regulations and policies concerning long-term archival of information and records.
Improved Customer Service: With access to the right information at the right time, users can drive contextual customer interactions. Leveraging ECM, businesses can manage content across various channels and social media, resulting in enhanced customer experience.
Enhanced Operational Efficiency: Reduce knowledge workers’ time spent on information search and retrieval. With proper indexing via ECM, any information is just a click away. Further, it helps in reducing administrative costs associated with storing and managing documents and physical records.
The Drivers Challenging your ECM Strategy
To get the real advantage from an ECM system, it’s important to strategize right. And, to do that well, businesses need to identify the business challenges and address them. The key drivers challenging organizations to redefine their content management strategy are:
Rising Customer Expectations: Customers today are accustomed to high-quality service levels. Delivering less than the expected would result in poor customer experience. Businesses need to leverage systems that help them know their customer’s context. And, create the right experiences by engaging customers through content in customer’s preferred format (message, video, image, document, form, picture, tweet, post, comment) across any mix of channels (social media, phone, chat, email, fax, postal, face-to-face) and over any device.
Increasing Employee Demands: To efficiently service customers, the digital workforce (including employees, vendors, partners, etc.) expects mobility across multiple devices, networks & platforms and collaboration over a secure work environment. However, the real challenge lies in ensuring information security while sharing information beyond the boundaries of organization.
Growing Competition: To outpace the competition, organizations should be able to adapt to changes in real-time. This requires businesses to act fact and embrace change as it comes. ECM systems that provide elasticity to upscale or downscale, extend applications, and tap innovative strategies or technologies as and when required can make this happen.
The 7 Step Approach to Successful ECM Strategy
Further to identifying business challenges and formulating a Content Management strategy to address them, it is for businesses to follow the enlisted aspects for an effective ECM strategy:
- Identify and prioritize business processes that you need to digitize as per your organization’s content strategy.
- Understand how existing business systems must work with ECM applications for given business processes.
- Analyze which specified content services are needed to enable the business systems and tools.
- Evaluate if the existing ECM platform provides the required content services or new content services are required.
- Deploy new ECM platform/ content services on top of the existing ECM and other business systems.
- Execute user onboarding, training and change management programs for managing business processes.
- Gain insights into ROI, process and activity metrics to evaluate and improve business performance.
Enterprises lay out their content strategy based on how they want to connect their processes, systems, people and things. Content Management technology fits into the broader business technology stack along with directly or indirectly associated Applications, Systems and Tools. While formulating the strategy and selecting an ECM platform, it’s important to ensure that it meets the current business needs and considers future requirements.