The 6 Foundational Elements of ECM

In the last few months, GovLoop has talked about the 10 benefits of going paperless and provided an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) crash course. ECM software allows organizations to manage their documents more effectively and automate workflows, helping remove tedious document management tasks to improve government efficiency. ECM’s six foundational building blocks include the ability to capture documents, process requests, access documents, integrate with other applications, measure and monitor customized reports and store information. With the help of Hyland, a global leader in ECM technology, we’ve outlined the six foundational elements of ECM.

1. The ability to capture documents:

The ability to capture documents is an important building block, and a primary function of any ECM system. Your solution should have the ability to capture all your important content, paper, electronic and data in one system,” says Hyland. Your ECM solution should not introduce significant additional manual work just to get the documents into the system.”

2. An automated document management process:

One of the major benefits of ECM is the optimization of internal process. With an ECM solution, you can have your structured processes automated (like licenses and permits), which can save time by allowing ECM to take care of tedious document management tasks. Additionally, you can find additional efficiencies by consolidating your unstructured information.

“Documents are not the only important sources of information. When exceptions occur in your standardized processes, the information generated must be captured,” said Hyland. Therefore, ECM can help make sense about where documents belong, why they are important and who should be viewing them. This will help streamline workflows and operations.

3. Providing easy access to documents:

Another foundational element of ECM is the ability for employees to access important data and information quickly and easily. Access also focuses on the user experience for ECM solutions. And in order to facilitate improved access, an EMC solution must be personalized. “When your users have ability to personalize the interface, putting the documents, forms, business processes and reports that are important to them right at their fingertips, they can work more efficiently,” says Hyland.

Likewise, the solution should be integrated. Quite often, a user’s primary tool is not the ECM system. So when they need to retrieve a document, it should happen seamlessly and not be forced to use multiple applications for document access.

Another component is that ability for the solution to be mobile and have documents available offline. If a team is working out in the field, they should have access to all documents, and leveraging the cloud, be able to sync once connected to the Internet to update files and log data.

4. Can easily integrate with existing solutions:

Another important feature of ECM solutions is the ability to integrate with other applications. Often, ECM is being used by people without them ever knowing. So the integration has to be seamless and easy for the user. With integration, a well-designed ECM system should not require any custom code. “Custom code is expensive, takes a long time and has to be revisited when either application is upgraded,” said Hyland.

5. Measure, monitor and report activity:

An important component of an ECM system is the ability to monitor, measure and report on activity within the solution. For ECM, Hyland recommends that you should be able to have real time visibility without involving IT, access to dashboards and analyze the data your way. “Dashboards are great, but sometimes deeper analysis of the data is required.” Therefore, your ECM system should be able to extract data easily, allowing you to mash up various data points and run analysis, with the tool of your choice.

6. Store documents safely and securely:

ECM can help remove data redundancy, and allow you to automate retention policies. So, if you have a document that you know needs to be held for 30 days, 60 days, 5 years, you can set that classification for the data. “ Your ECM solution should allow you to store the files on any network discoverable file share, allowing you to take advantage of your existing infrastructure,” says Hyland.

With ECM, you can help your organization vastly improve document management tasks, free up personnel to work on important mission-centered work, and create better services for citizens in the long run.

Check out these resources to learn more about ECM:



OnBase is a proven enterprise content management solution for each level of government, helping each meet today’s challenges of smaller budgets and staffs while laying the foundation for simplified, efficient and mobile government information technology. To learn more, visit:http://www.hyland.com/solutions/government.aspx


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