Defining Enterprise Content Management

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver content and documents related to organisational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organisation's unstructured information, wherever that information exists.

Enterprise content management systems combine a wide variety of technologies and components, some of which can also be used as stand-alone systems without being incorporated into an enterprise-wide system.

It's not enough to "manage" content. Of course, the ability to access the correct version of a document or record is important, but companies must go further. Content must be managed so that it is used to achieve business goals. Central to this strategy are the tools and technologies of ECM, which manage the complete lifecycle of content, birth to death.

While there are ECM technologies, more importantly, ECM is an ongoing and evolving strategy for maximising how your content is to be used.

The five ECM components and technologies

The ECM model was first defined by AIIM as follows:

- capture
- manage
- store
- preserve
- deliver

The model includes in the "Manage" category five traditional application areas:

- document management (DM),
- collaboration (or collaborative software, groupware),
- web content management (WCM) (including web portals),
- records management (RM) (archive and filing management systems on long-term storage media), and
- workflow/business process management (BPM).

Definition courtesy of AIIMĀ  (Association for Information and Image Management)