As discussed earlier, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the collection of systems, tools, methodologies, strategies, policies and everything that defines how an organization stores and manages its documents and contents. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) takes care of the entire lifecycle of the content in your organization. It allows you appropriate amount of control over your content during its creation, distribution and management. It also applies features like version control, indexing, metadata and security to your content.
Integrated ECM evolved to Unified Enterprise Content Management
Earlier Content Management consisted of separate LOB (Line-Of-Business) applications. These were built on separate platforms and were used for managing specific content types like web content, digital assets, employee records etc. This was accepted during the early days as the need of the hour was fulfilled. However, as processes evolved there arose a need for a system which can manage multiple content types.
As an example, an organization which creates and manages human resource policies purchased a document management system. Later when they needed an additional functionality to support web pages, they needed to purchase additional software to add the functionality. As the industry matured, vendors realised the need to allow such functionalities to coexist or integrate with their current system, and with other software, to create the Enterprise Content Management. Although this fulfilled the necessities to a great extent, it also incurred higher implementation costs to the organizations, as the functionalities were to be integrated out of the box.
Integrated ECM was the solution put forward by the vendors to counteract the higher implementation costs of ECM. Integrated ECM came packed with integrations between applications built on one platform. It allowed easier and quicker implementation. Integrated ECM offered great advantage over the traditional ECM system but has its own short comings. Weak integrations, differences in support for various OS and programming languages, content duplication and complex training on multiple interfaces were some of them.
What is Unified ECM?
Ability to manage multiple content types was a functionality all content management systems were longing for. While studying differentcontent management systems we find that they all share a common set of functionalities. Abilities like version control, security access, metadata, integration etc. are common to all content management systems.
Unified ECM offers the same set of common functionalities in one product for all content types. Any of the other unique content management functionalities could be enabled or disabled within the application based on the necessity. Thus Unified ECM offers a wide range of functionalities like document management, image management, web content management, digital asset management, records and retention management etc. within a single application, thereby eliminating the need of integration between ECM components.
Benefits of Unified ECM End users of Unified ECM benefit from:
- Ease of Use:
Unified ECM offers a single well designed interface to its end users, thereby offering better usage. All the functionalities can be performed in a single interface.
It increases productivity as all users work in the same interface.
- Higher Adoption Rate:
The above factors make it the most adopted content management system.
The main advantage of a Unified ECM is that it is a single architecture using a single code base, API and security measures. It reduces cost by utilizing a common IT architecture, and by saving on application development and support costs. It also has the benefits of reduced implementation and setup costs, simpler system updates, and easier administration, along with all the benefits of traditional ECM.