The foundation of any company is the content it creates, collects, and stores. Content can be anything from project documents, marketing material, business details to client information.
Keeping an overview of all content and organizing it accordingly in one place is not an easy task and can be a significant challenge for any company.
That’s where enterprise content management (ECM) software can help.
Just as project management tools help you manage projects, ECM tools help manage a business’s documents, images, and videos. The following article dives deeper into content management and introduces some of the best ECM tools.
What is Content Management?
Content management covers multiple processes regarding creating, collecting, organizing, storing, and distributing content in any form or medium.
Nowadays, as companies produce more digital content than ever before, this is becoming increasingly important to ensure smooth workflows and collaboration.
Let’s have a look at the different processes in content management. The first step is always content creation, where the content manager, copywriter, and designer are involved. In the second step, the first draft of the content is shared with different stakeholders to get feedback and make edits. Finally, when everyone is happy and the content piece is approved, it can be published and stored for future use.
Centralized and secure storage of produced content is essential. This allows businesses to make the information available to and usable by other team members for future repurposing.
To avoid making the process of organizing, categorizing, and storing hundreds or thousands of different digital files a complete nightmare, companies should use a content management system (CMS).
Companies often confuse document management systems with content management systems. Even though they both organize, store and secure documents, they function slightly differently. For example, document management only includes PDFs, Word files, Excel sheets, and other document types, while content management systems can store data in any format.
What is Enterprise Content Management Software?
Enterprise content management (ECM) systems are secure cloud-based storage and management platforms for digital documents, images, and other multimedia files.
With ECM software, companies can systematically capture files, categorize them accordingly and store them in folders. Plus, they can easily control the access rights for each file and folder.
The main goal of enterprise content management software is to simplify and streamline all content management processes. On the centralized platform, employees can upload, share, search and access information from any device at any time. Different teams in a company can easily collaborate on the management platform and thus ensure a continuous workflow.
Therefore ECM solutions are an inevitable digital asset management tool all companies will ultimately need.
Another benefit of ECM software is the embedded digital capturing technology that allows you to digitize your handwritten documents and other files. That means you don’t have to worry about the manual storage of paper files with all of the logistical problems that brings.
10 Important Features of Enterprise Content Management Systems
By now, you might know the necessity of ECM software for your organization, but the features don’t stop there. New ones are added to it almost daily to secure your organizational data. With the continued evolution of technology, ECM systems have also undergone several changes.
Capture & store all content in one place
The software will capture and store all your digital files in one place, making them easily accessible at any time. For example, you can directly scan all the paper documents of your company and digitally store them in a single location with ECM.
Organize and sort files
The system will systematically arrange every piece of information accordingly to ensure the precise distribution of data. ECM sorts your files into different folders and allocates specific tags to help you find the data easily.
Keep documents secure
Access to data (all or selected parts) can be restricted to authorized team or staff members. The ECM system’s role-based access keeps your information safe and secure.
Access files from every location on any device
Documents are accessible to authorized personnel at any time from any system or device type. It is unnecessary to be physically present in your office or at your computer to retrieve and edit a file.
Find files faster
ECMs categorize your file according to the business and other aspects of the file. The organization of the files in systematic ways makes it quick and easy to track them. And along with that, you can also use filter and search options to simplify the process.
For a company to function correctly, there should be coordination between the different departments. A file has to travel through various channels and employees to keep things running properly, and ECM ensures a smooth workflow.
Share & collaborate on files
Different departments come together to reach the final output of your work, and in this digital era, ECM makes the collaboration process much more manageable. The sharing and collaboration features enable different departments to integrate on a single project and work in a coordinated manner.
Integrations with other tools
ECM helps you use other content management tools to facilitate your work, while other tools and features are added to the software to increase efficiency.
Just think of this situation: there is a file that you do not need at the moment, but you don’t want to delete it because you might need it in the future. In this case, the archive is the best place to store such files.
ECMs have inbuilt analytics and reporting features to track your activities and alert you if any unauthorized person tries to access your files. It also has an enhanced reporting feature that records and reports activities on your documents, thereby ensuring double protection.
Top 15 Enterprise Content Management Solutions
There are several ECM software solutions available, and while all do basically the same thing, features vary between them. Here is the list of the top 15 ECM systems.
Filestage helps creative businesses, marketing teams, and agencies to manage their content files during the review and approval process. Users can upload and share files with colleagues or clients on the centralized platform to receive feedback or approvals in minutes. This way, the tool streamlines the entire content creation process and is a great addition to any ECM solution.
- Comment and annotate directly on files
- One-click file approvals
- Real-time collaboration and communication
- Create custom approval workflows
- Works with any file type
- Easy and intuitive user interface
- Only a limited number of active projects can be run at the same time
MS Share point
Microsoft’s MS SharePoint is another enterprise content management system where your company can safely share and store files. This software combines with Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 to provide efficient document management. These are ideal for content platforms and content writing companies as they allow co-authoring.
- Keep records of actions users take
- Save both the initial and amended version of the file in the archive
- Allows co-authoring
- Offline file editing
- Third-party integration
- Robust ecosystem
- Compromised user interface
- Difficult to handle large files
Box.com is a cloud storage system that you can use throughout your content’s lifecycle. From creating the file to its storage, sharing, editing, storing, and retention, Box will be a home for it. Its design ensures the integration of different departments in a single project.
- Seamless collaboration with internal and external parties
- Unlimited file storage
- Organize and classify files
- Auto tag files through leverage machine learning technology
- Comes in tablet reading format
- Easy to install and set up
- No metadata for images
- Hard to manage heavy files
Onbase by Hyland
Hyland’s technology-assisted content management software, Onbase, is a good tool for content creation and sharing. Cloud-based storage ensures easy accessibility of content from any system around the world. In addition, data is stored in a single location to ensure security.
- Automated document sharing
- Retain control over shared files
- Automated notifications for critical business processes
- Dynamic approval process
- Automated workflow
- Uses barcodes to scan files
- Complex working method
- Highly dependent on Microsoft Office
Nuxeo is an easy-to-use content creation and management platform. Its features make it highly suited to financial companies such as banks and investment agencies. It ensures an enriched customer experience and eases decision-making, while the content creation process promotes products and services in the market, contributing to sales.
- Advanced content search results
- Automated workflow
- Provides content analytics
- Content performance is scalable
- API first strategy
- Excellent customer support
- Unclear documentation process
- Poor internal problem resolution process
M-Files is a next-generation documentation software that comes with several innovative features. It assists people in sharing, finding, and using data effectively thanks to integrated documents. It is suitable for both small and medium-sized businesses whose documentation is mainly paper-based.
- Co-author articles
- Capture and image content
- Automatic file saving
- Quick and easy access to information
- Fast upload and download of content
- Complex setup process
- Lacks a web-based template tool
Laserfiche is one of the oldest enterprise content management systems that led the way to paperless business. It is a cloud-based storage solution with intelligent document management and an automated enterprise process. The software features automated creation of repetitive documents, saving considerable time. Additionally, it has AI features and machine learning technology for the next generation experience.
- Allows image correction on documents
- Automatically capture invoice data
- Connect and collaborate with teammates and clients
- Manage full records lifecycle
- Easy to manage through website and application
- Centralized storage for all the files
- Web and desktop clients sometimes do not match
- Requiring a high-power PC for processing data
This cloud-based storage platform manages policies and procedures with constant updating throughout. Power DMS also has a directional portal that allows users to learn the techniques before getting started. So even if you don’t have much technical knowledge, you can use this software effortlessly. They also have a devoted customer care facility to resolve your doubts.
- Provides analytics
- Gives periodic reviews
- Automated alerts
- Tracks the status of content
- Electronic signature facility for security
- Adequate customer care support
- Manual synchronization is time-consuming
- Features to import images are not available
Egnyte provides a unique platform to archive, access, and share valuable documents throughout systems. Its storage is cloud-based and allows sharing content irrespective of physical location. Additionally, data can be synchronized from any design on the platform, and you can regularly monitor activity on the content.
- Mobile accessibility
- Integration with vital productive tools
- Track updates and share files securely
- Threat detection
- Easy to use
- Adaptable and convenient
- Does not have direct access to images
- Poor customer support
Alfresco Content Services
Alfresco Content Services is an enterprise content management software that allows access to content from anywhere in the world. The whole process is scalable, and you can monitor it at any time. The accessible and integrated features allow for a high degree of content sharing configurations.
- Document scanning and management
- Flexible development options
- Enhanced information governance
- AI integrated search option
- Simple customization
- Documentation storage with metadata and document workflow
- User interface is not intuitive
- Cannot scan documents directly with this software
IBM is a pioneer of enterprise content management systems and supports its customers with safe sharing and storage of documents. IBM is a good choice for businesses of all sizes. The advanced features of IBM make the process of organizing your data considerably easier.
- Create, store and share files
- Automated workflow
- Allows you to image capture paper documents
- Automatic classification and extraction of data
- The entire process is scalable, flexible, and secure
- Poor content modeling and process engine
GlobalSearch by Square9 is an all-in-one solution for digital enterprise content management. It is suitable for organizations of any size since it offers flexible pricing and configuration options. The tool allows to capture, validate and classify high volumes of content. Plus, it has a robust security model that protects your data from unauthorized access.
- Mobile document delivery
- Bi-directional data sharing
- Document capture automation
- Map document workflows with insights
- Good workflow management
- Integration capabilities
- Lack of timely technical support
Contentful is an easy and fast content management tool that helps in publishing content across channels without any hurdles. This software is ideally suited to content creators, developers, project managers, and business teams. Contentful unifies the content, structures it, and integrates the entire process to make it extensible.
- Unifies content and brings it into a single application
- Continuous workflow
- Structured content
- Complete programmatic control over the system
- Flexible, simple, and clean interface
- No option to move data between spaces
- Poor integration with other platforms
Content management has been made easier and faster with Umbraco’s content services. It is a flexible system suitable for all sectors, including healthcare and the public sector. The software is most useful for companies looking for a NET-based content management system.
- Cloud storage
- Automated workflow
- Customizable templates
- Infinite editing
- Excellent data architecture and templating systems
- Migration of data between clouds is difficult
- Lacks work stability
The digital asset management platform by Bynder is a cloud-based document storage system. Bynder provides fully automated document optimization making clients’ jobs effortless. The efficient system provides a continuous workflow and thereby allows the content to reach the market faster.
- Digital brand templates
- Automated workflow
- Communication through annotations and comments
- Watermark file unauthorized distribution
- Filters are customizable
- Web-based storage for additional safety
- Does not detect duplicate documents
- Sharing a single document from a category is problematic
How Do I Get Started with ECM?
As every company is going digital nowadays, enterprise content management is a necessity. Implementing a content management system for the first time can be overwhelming, but you will soon become a fan of the process with practice.
If your organization has paper documents, the first step will be to digitize every document.
In general, it’s important to integrate your ECM system with your existing content management processes or create new ones if you don’t have any yet.
Combining your different processes for content creation, content review, and content publishing and storage allows you to work more efficiently and productively.
In particular, the review and approval process of content can be very time-consuming if you don’t have an established process and proper tools in place. It is beneficial to connect any tools you do have directly to your ECM software to make the distribution, sharing, and storing of approved content as easy and fast as possible.
Let’s see how this workflow can look: take the example of a marketing project where you need to create a new design. After the creation, you share it on Filestage. There, your stakeholders will give their feedback. Amendments and corrections are made based on the feedback, after which approval can be granted, all on the platform.
In the final step, you upload it directly to your ECM software, where it gets stored in the marketing folder. Now every marketing team member can access and use it for their campaign, regardless of their location.
There are several content services for content storage and categorization suitable for use in any company. Enterprise content management is a one-stop solution to share and save your files securely.
Before implementing ECM in your company, think of weaknesses in your current content management processes and what benefits you expect from the software. And always go for a trial version if available, as it will help you understand if the software adequately meets your expectations.