The three types of ECM

There are three types of ECM and figuring out where your company’s ECM needs fit is possibly the biggest step to identifying both the right solution and the right vendor.

For the record, OnBase, Hyland Software’s ECM software solution, is a leader in transactional content management.

Transactional Content Management

A system of record for managing process-related documents

“So many files,” he sings. “Piles and piles and piles.”

Sound familiar? If you have a lot of physical documents – insurance claims, medical records, government forms, payroll, student admissions – and you need a more efficient way to capture, process and access those documents, then you’re looking for a transactional content management solution. And with a solution like Hyland Software’s OnBase, it becomes even more powerful, as workflow solutions automate repeatable business processes and seamless integration with established core applications means ramping up users almost immediately.

Like everything dealing with enterprise content management, TCM is sometimes known by different names – document management, document imaging and others – that are more parts of the TCM picture than the picture as a whole.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick with Gartner’s definition: A system of record for managing process-related documents.

TCM is designed to fill in gaps between related processes, applications and departments, it lets you:

  • Capture documents in any format – including paper, e-mail, mainframe reports and e-forms
  • Manage content according to your organization’s business rules and gauge the health of process in real-time
  • Store, organize and track your content so documents are there when you need them
  • Deliver documents as soon as they’re needed so processes run fast and costs stay low
  • Preserve and protect your documents so you meet and stay in compliance with internal and external standards

If you’re ready to discover measurable benefits to your business processes, eliminate paper and file folders. If you’re ready to give your employees the ability to tackle high-value tasks and forgo low-value tasks (like fetching paper and file folders), and save money, then you’re ready for ECM.

Collaborative Content Management (or Collaborative Document Management)

Designed to process and assist the simultaneous creation of content by multiple authors across a network-based infrastructure

Maybe you work in a pharmaceutical company or financial services organization that demands several people work on the same document in various iterations and those folks are miles – or even oceans – apart. This solution allows for an entire team to work off the same master document, tracking changes, saving minor drafts and embedding files. Sound like you? Then you’re looking for a collaborative content management system (collaborative CMS).

If your business relies on key business knowledge and research that you continually duplicate (i.e., reinvent the wheel), and more and more often your employees telecommute (i.e., live miles, states or countries away), collaborative content management is a business solution to consider.

Collaborative content management – sometimes called collaborative document management – is the same thing, only living in a digital world where a software or online portal serves as the table and the group around the table is, in reality, sitting anywhere in the world, working on the document at any time of day.

Collaborative CMS will allow you to create “shared workspaces” – the electronic version of the table top we talked about earlier. More advanced systems can even allow for online meetings, white-boarding, collection and storage of project documents and version control and tracking.

Web Content Management

Allows consistent control of website look and feel while giving several content producers the ability to dynamically create and publish content

If you woke up this morning sweating about whether your customers can easily find valuable content on your company’s website, or have doubts about your employees’ ability to simply and efficiently manage that content, then start shopping for a web content management system.

So if your company maintains a large, content-rich website or suite of sites focused on brand consistency and personalized content for each public-facing presence, the solution you’re searching for a is a web content management system.

Different than collaborative content management or transactional content management, web content management (web CMS) is a software business solution that allows consistent control of website look and feel – brand, wire frames, navigation – while giving several content producers the ability to dynamically create and publish content – articles, photo galleries, video and so forth.

A good web CMS should be intuitive for your users. It should give content writers the ease of creating and updating content on their own, freeing up web developers and SEO managers to design and tweak the system. It should be a collaborative system, allowing authenticated users the ability to edit, design, post and publish quickly and easily.

Some things to consider:

  • User experience: Make sure the system you choose offers simple, built-in text editors and the ability to add pre-defined functionality to the page. Make sure any training necessary isn’t too complex for non-technical employees.
  • Scalability: As your business grows, so should your web CMS. As business booms, you’ll discover the need to add more content, more functionality and the desire to branch off with niche sites.
  • Content Tools: Make sure you can control what, when and how content is published. Chances are, as your business grows, more editors, writers and content creators will have access to the CMS. You want to make sure the tools to control content workflow are in place.
  • Support and Updates: Understand the level of technical support you will receive from the makers of your web CMS system (some? none?) and be comfortable with your choice. Also, make sure you are notified when updates to the software occur – and that you have easy access to those updates.