Today, we’re going to get into a conceptual debate and explain a bit more about the main concepts on which the ECM universe is founded.
The first fundamental concept to understand is that of the content life cycle. Documents and other content/digital assets have a life cycle within organizations. This life cycle begins when new documents are created or received, and ends when they are finally destroyed or permanently stored. A life cycle tends to be defined as the different states of publication of a document’s content, although it’s really a deeper concept that also involves the way in which users interact with the content (if it’s only retained for legal requirements, if it’s being consulted on a regular basis, or, in contrast, if the document is still active, etc.)
Proper management of content over all the phases guarantees proper storage of the business’s information, and the capabilities of companies to exploit this information.
The discipline that works with this life cycle is called Enterprise Content Management (ECM), a discipline which takes in many other disciplines that, traditionally, have been chosen separately for managing digital business content in each one of its phases. These phases are known as Capture, Manage, Store, Preserve and Deliver:
Capture: Addresses how documents get into the information system. You can call the capture “smart” when information is obtained automatically from the documents going into the system.
Manage: Means the movement and the circulation of the documents, as well as being able to use the information contained in them.
Store: This phase refers to where the documents or digital content are stored, and our ability to get them back.
Preserve: Conserving and keeping the digital content over the long term.
Deliver: This phase works with the integration of the ECM system with the other business applications or the business’s entire information system. These are the available mechanisms to get the content to the people who need it, through the appropriate channels.
In the next post, we’ll see how each one of these disciplines uses different software tools, as well as the use of an endless number of different technologies.