Can you think of a single product or service that hasn’t gone through a simplification process? Simplification is frequently measured from the point of view of the user, because they use things that are easy to operate. This is exactly the idea behind modern ECM solutions. Simplifying your document management processes and creating efficiencies for your information workers makes it possible for your organization to complete more work and solve more problems.
Using a sophisticated ECM solution greatly simplifies how your organization captures, classifies, accesses, stores and processes content. The ability of an ECM solution to simplify business operations and save time cannot be overstated.
Simplifying How Content Is Organized & Accessed
In order to understand how an ECM solution improves access to documents, it’s necessary to learn some basics about the powerful technical element known as metadata.
Metadata is information about data. Confusing as that may sound, it allows users to search their file systems quickly for a specific piece of content. Metadata tells your system what a document is, who it’s from, and what it’s about. Metadata can also include free-form text or notes about the document.
For example, purchase orders (POs) always have an “effective date” and “customer number”. The metadata can include these two fields and apply them to every purchase order entering the system. By indexing these fields, ECM solution users can instantly sort through hundreds of POs to find the one that matches the specific date for that particular customer number. To make it even simpler for the user, the ECM solution can integrate with a separate line-of-business application, which allows instant access to the PO document while the user is working within the line-of-business application that does not provide access to POs. Metadata eliminates the need for users to search for documents using the traditional classification method made up of folders and subfolders on a shared drive. Replacing the “hunt and peck” search ordeal with metadata search capabilities is a huge step forward in accessing information. And metadata search greatly improves the ability of the ECM system to automatically locate a document with no human intervention.
Simplifying Document Lifecycles
Another area where ECM solutions can simplify your work-life is appropriate long-term storage; because these systems can automatically monitor metadata pertaining to a single document or groups of documents, they can notify a user if a specific date has passed without the right actions taking place.
To illustrate, when your ECM system manages the lifecycle of your documents – for instance, legal contracts – it can send an alert if the termination date on a contract is about to pass without being updated. This feature allows information workers to concentrate on higher value matters and let the ECM application worry about mundane tasks like tracking dates.
The Age of Simplicity
How organized are your files? Could your organization benefit from better tracking and monitoring of documents? How much time do your employees waste on low-level issues? Behind-the-scenes document management tools can simplify office operations; ECM solutions have reinvented how we organize, access, and manage content throughout its lifecycle. With the help of the right enterprise content management (ECM) solution, workers have an organization’s entire document library at their fingertips. If your business values efficiency, (and we know it does), perhaps it is the perfect time to review your own content management practices.