ECM Choices Depend on Content DefinitionsBy Jim Rapoza | Print
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News Analysis: "Content is king." That's how the saying goes, but just what is the definition of content?"Content is king." That's how the saying goes, but just what is the definition of content?
Can content be defined as documents, Web pages, pictures and other digital media? Is content blog postings, e-mail, group discussions and chats? Is content essentially any knowledge that can be managed, stored and accessed?
Trying to define content can be especially confusing and even terrifying for the companies that have made it their business to manage the diverse pieces of content that exist today.
At its core, an ECM product is designed to control and manage the creation and distribution of all content created by a company.
But, as with most trendy product designations, vendors are slapping the ECM label on all manner of solutions.
If a vendor takes a collaborative portal product and adds some document collection management and Web publishing features, is it an ECM solution?
What about a Web content management platform with some collaboration and document routing controls?
If a document management system adds collaboration, process management and wikis, is it an ECM product?
Right now, the answer is yes to all (plus a few other ECM iterations we haven't even brought up).
Unfortunately, this can cause quite a bit of confusion for companies that are looking to invest in an ECM solution.
eWEEK Labs recommends that businesses base their ECM decisions on their core content requirements.
If most of your essential content is Web-based, for example, then a Web content management or portal-based system may be the best option.
Are you a business that must control and track a lot of PDFs, Microsoft Office files and scanned hard-copy documents? Then you should go with a solution with strong roots in classic document management.
In addition, look at the systems you already have in-house.
Most likely, they can interoperate to a certain degree to get your business most of the way to ECM functionality.
And, if a total ECM solution is truly desired, check to see if one of your current management system vendors is moving to offer a full-on ECM platform.
This could make upgrading to ECM less painful and time-consuming.
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