Enterprise Content Management: Hide What's Inside

Content management works best when its behind the scenes -- and not treated it as an application unto itself. Consider integrating with e-mail and business apps or explore emerging options for infrastructure- or service-based management.

With companies paying more attention to regulatory and legal compliance risks, there's growing interest in getting documents, reports, e-mail messages and other forms of unstructured information under control. With broad, enterprisewide deployments in mind, organizations want content management to be as easy as possible.

Enterprise content management (ECM) vendors are responding to the demand for simplicity by streamlining interfaces, automating filing steps and adding Outlook clients and application integration options that hide the complexity of content management. Meanwhile, infrastructure giants including Microsoft and Oracle are stepping up the management and collaboration capabilities they're providing alongside operating systems, databases, portals and desktop tools. Thus, organizations now have plenty of content-filing and access options.

The hardest part of simplifying content management is choosing an approach that fits user work habits and application pain points. The second feature in this cover package, "Targeting Transparency", offers instructive, real-world examples. For instance, a global law firm opted for Outlook integration because its attorneys constantly collaborate via e-mail. A county government office chose a more flexible, application-enabling approach to serve the needs of 11 departments. Finally, a large global services company integrated content management with SAP so it could deliver content both inside and outside of the ERP system. Read on to learn more about the options and strategies for giving business users faster, easier access to content in the context of their work.