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Connecting Islands of Information:Content Management for ERP

This article is part of the Best Practices White Paper Customer Relationship Management [May 2004]

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“No man is an Island ...every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.”

— John Donne, c.1624

In a cross-functional business world, John Donne’s famous maxim, “No man is an island,” resonates more strongly than ever. Today, every business task seems to require multiple types of information from multiple sources. Unfortunately, when it comes to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, much of this information still exists as separate “islands” in a vast sea of corporate information. What business people need is a single, intuitive interface to all different kinds of information, both structured and unstructured, that will help them complete their day-to-day tasks faster and more efficiently. Best-in-class enterprise content management (ECM) systems with new integration capabilities for SAP, PeopleSoft, and other ERP systems can go a long way towards fulfilling this need.

Integrating ERP and ECM: What to Expect

Adding an enterprise content management capability organizes your ERP information assets for everyone to leverage in meeting customer and business goals. A good ECM solution will provide decision-making information that is:

  • Accessible with ease by authorized users;

  • Organized to simplify reporting;

  • Timely and accurate; and

  • Consistent across your enterprise.

ERP systems create and manage various records (accounts payable, parts records, logistics planning records, etc.) that are composed of structured data, which is typically entered and accessed by means of form fields. But structured data is only one part of the content required for ERP. According to the analysts, as much as 85% of managed information is unstructured content, which includes invoices, records, e-mail messages, digital images and text documents.

Enterprise content management is a key enabler in integrating these two types of information, providing users with simultaneous access to many forms of relevant content.

Managing content on a single platform makes it possible to:

  • Integrate digital assets and incoming documents with ERP processes;

  • Gain access to ECM-controlled content through your ERP portal;

  • Increase productivity with employee self-service portals;

  • Collaborate with customers, employees and suppliers more effectively by providing timely and accurate information; and

  • Streamline employee and manager self-service processes and accelerate time-to-payment.

For financial systems, for example, an integrated ECM/ERP platform will:

  • Streamline processes such as general ledger, sub-ledgers and procurement;

  • Drive efficiency and shorten time-to-cash by collecting, storing, finding, retrieving and linking content with ERP applications; and

  • Enable access to supporting content (and metadata) such as contracts, scanned invoices, RFPs and RFQs, responses and correspondence.

As illustrated for the customer ordering and fulfillment process, integrating ERP applications with an ECM platform can streamline business processes and link content.

ECM Increases Value of ERP Investment

Enterprise content management systems for ERP provide users with simultaneous access to many forms of relevant content. By adding an ECM platform, you can improve effectiveness, increase productivity, and shorten cash conversion cycles. It’s a direct way to get more value from your current ERP investments.

About Documentum

Documentum, a division of EMC Corporation, provides enterprise content management solutions that enable organizations to unite teams, content, and associated business processes. With a single platform, Documentum enables people to collaboratively create, manage, deliver and archive the content that drives business operations, from documents and discussions to e-mail, Web pages, records and rich media. For more information, visit Documentum on the Web.

About Fujitsu Consulting

A trusted provider of management and technology consulting to business and government, Fujitsu Consulting is the global consulting and services arm of the Fujitsu Group. Fujitsu Consulting integrates the core expertise of Fujitsu companies and partners to deliver complete business solutions that drive business value. Through its industry-recognized approach, Macroscope, Fujitsu Consulting enables clients to build more value into investments and drive leadership in the marketplace. For more information, visit: Fujitsu Consulting or send an email to

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