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10 ECM Basics and Gotchas to Avoid

Explore the crucial components of enterprise content management and the 10 pitfalls that undo efforts to capture, manage, store, preserve, secure and share information.
Records management enables IT to set retention and disposal policies and processes based on different content types. These policies control if and when content is deleted or archived on less costly storage and determines if there is a process that needs to be executed when the content is deleted.

Capture and delivery tools provide the means to convert documents from paper to electronic formats via optical character recognition so that forms can be stored, managed and most importantly searched. Content affected may include contracts and legal documents that have signatures; orders from customers; or other types of information that originate in paper form, like faxes.

Digital asset management provides a specialized set of content management services for browsing, searching, viewing, assembling and delivering digital media content types, such as audio, images and video. As more enterprise content moves beyond basic word processing and spreadsheet formats, having a process to include this data into the overall information library is critical.

Workflow and business process management provides tools for analyzing and executing processes around content. These procedures might include routing a document for approval, managing requests and approvals, controlling changes and revisions, and sending notifications when a document has changed or a new template is available for distribution. These systems might also be employed to enable integration into enterprise applications outside the ECM suite, such as to enrich CRM systems, push notifications to customers and enhance businesspartner communications.

Archiving systems help IT bring storage expenses under control through optimization of capacity. These systems manage content storage policies according to business context, and employ metadata drawn from other applications to make the most efficient use of storage assets. Functions might include deduplicating and migrating data automatically through different storage tiers, leveraging less expensive media while providing high-end storage services to further reduce storage demands. In enterprise environments, these processes are very time consuming for IT groups that lack an automated tool to apply policies uniformly across content.

Content reporting tools analyze content and generate reports on virtually any set of data while organizing and formatting output. This is not just useful for IT organizations seeking to manage their repositories; reporting systems also ensure the use of and compliance with content management policies and procedures throughout the organization. For many enterprises, regulatory requirements like HIPAA or SOX drive the move to ECM, so having a robust reporting capability is key. Reporting may also be used for management dashboards that can provide insight into aspects of the business and intelligence from a number of discrete content sources.

Top-10 Gotchas That Derail Deployments

Now that we've defined ECM, here's a sampling of the top 10 gotchas that foil many well-intended efforts to gain control over enterprise content.