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The Value of Document Management within ECM

This article is part of the Best Practices White Paper Enterprise Content Management [March 2004]

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Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is currently showing dramatic growth and receiving considerable media attention. This growth is being fuelled by organizations seeking to raise profits, reduce costs, focus more on strategic and core business activities and improve customer service. The challenge in today’s business environment is how to cost-effectively manage and exchange information to advance new projects, products and business processes. Today, companies need every advantage to maximize profits and deliver value-added customer service. The key is to better manage and streamline the flow of information in order to deliver products and services efficiently and effectively. Companies seeking to improve time-to-market and increase customer satisfaction need a collaborative infrastructure to publish and control information across the enterprise.

Document management supports ECM best practices by allowing businesses to control the processes surrounding the creation, capture, organization, management, dissemination and distribution of information across the enterprise and to the Web. Document management supports an organization’s infrastructure requirement to share documents, files, discussions, company best practices, policies and procedures, news and project-specific tasks.

From construction to manufacturing, all industries need access to information to improve business performance and must incorporate document management to process information. Discreet manufacturers use document management for processing documentation, instruction manuals, parts catalogs, material safety data sheets and assembly instructions. Industries that rely on published information such as banking, insurance and brokerage firms depend on document management for attracting clients or promoting sales. Computer software companies also use document management to publish technical manuals and materials.

Business Requirements and Regulatory Compliance

New government regulations and business requirements are forcing enterprises to undertake document management best practices. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that organizations maintain proper records management to ensure risk aversion; pharmaceutical firms must file with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); aerospace firms must comply with Federal Aviation Association (FAA) regulations; financial services firms must abide by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules; and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must process medical records, claims and other patient information while protecting patients’ privacy.In addition, heightened security concerns are leading firms to handle and distribute information in the form of electronic documents.

The value of document management within ECM are services to deliver document lifecycle management, collaboration, search and navigation, web access, workflow, knowledge management and business process automation.

Companies demand the value of document management to support information organization needs. At the core of document management systems are collaborative repository services for capturing, managing and storing information such as workgroups, folders, documents, discussions, memos, links and other objects. Document lifecycle management includes check-in/check-out, version control, audit trails and document-level security for all kinds of document file types, including word processing documents, Web pages, images and more.

Information must be easily accessible so end users can browse, search, manage tasks and view content and electronic documents quickly. End users will also want to be notified via e-mail if a document has been added, deleted, modified or viewed. These systems must also manage document content and the metadata (properties) that further describes the document to facilitate content-based searches. Organizations will want to store information in a structured way, enhance information retrieval by intranet, extranet or Web site and automatically find and index new or modified documents.

Industry-specific applications that offer document management resources along with the necessary support tools that make up a business solution, must incorporate process forms, metadata definitions and templates for different organizational functions. Templates that provide working code can significantly reduce the deployment cycle. Templates also provide an application infrastructure for partners to apply industry-specific domain knowledge and build industry specific applications to meet customer requirements.

Supporting Activities Critical toCorporate Performance

The benefits derived from adopting a well-designed and effectively implemented document management system are to save time, decrease process latency, increase efficiency, help streamline processes and decrease the risk associated with lost documents.

Document management solutions can also help teams and remote workers to contribute content and collaborate with other members. The business value can be quickly recognized by improving bottom-line profitability through the support of activities critical to corporate performance—innovation through knowledge capture, time-to-market by access to information and cost efficiencies by means of business process management.

KMtechnologies is a global provider of collaboration and document management solutions. They help organizations better manage information and activities critical to corporate performance and regulatory compliance. The software solution provides an infrastructure for organizations to safely create, store, publish and process documents and enterprise information. For more information, please contact KMtechnologies at 514-495-4201 or

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