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ECM (Enterprise Content Management)

An approved definition of the term Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is provided by the Association for Information and Image Management:

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

Thus ECM covers the entire life cycle of information in a company. The life cycle comprises the following phases:

  • Capturing of information (Capture): includes technologies used for the generation, capture or editing of information. This category includes technologies, such as Scanning and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for the capture of physical content (paper documents) or the automatic processing of documents via COLD procedure.
  • Managing of information (Manage): Document Management, Collaboration, Web Content Management, Records Management, workflow and Business Process Management - components that manage, process or permit the use of the information - are attributed to Manage.
  • Storing of information (Store): For temporary storage of information in an ECM, repositories, such as databases, Content Management Systems or file systems, can be used.
  • Delivery of information (Delivery): the delivery of information is described by the Output Management. It contains transformation technologies to transform the information into corresponding output formats, as well as security technologies for the observance and guarantee of directives.
  • Preservation of information (Preserve): archiving through long-term and secure storage of information on storage devices such as microfilm, paper, CAS (Content-Addressed Storage) or WORM.

This list emphasizes that Enterprise Content Management unites the different technologies and can combine the companies' requirements accordingly.

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