Whether it’s making sure our desks are clean, insisting the volume on the TV is always an even number, or organizing your clothes by shades of color, a lot of us claim to have our own obsessive compulsive habits.
Despite having the word management in its title, enterprise content management (ECM) isn't simply used for “managing” content, it also involves the collecting and organizing of information to be used by a specific audience. The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) describe enterprise content management as the following:
“…a dynamic combination of strategies, methods, and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver information supporting key organizational processes through its entire lifecycle.”
Your business should be aiming to find such a combination. Thankfully, Microsoft’s SharePoint is a platform well-equipped to deal with an enterprise content management strategy. When it comes to organizing your content in SharePoint, it can actually help to have those OCD tendencies – the consequences of lost, stolen or damaged data can be extremely costly for a business.
Managing Content from Creation to Archive
ECM within SharePoint integrates the familiar tools of the Microsoft Office system, with the management capabilities of SharePoint technologies. This helps users keep track of their content – documents and files, media and more.
This means getting your content into the system. For SharePoint, there are a number of ways you can do this: import and export options with Microsoft Excel gets your data from one platform to the other, and those proficient in .NET can write a program to import data into existing lists using the SharePoint object model.
Once your data is in SharePoint, the next step is making sure it’s accessible to all those who require access to it.
Content Types allow users to assign shared settings for a specific type of content, while uniquely defined permissions offer tools to control access to information at any given level, from a single document, all the way up to the site itself. Because content should only be accessible to those it was intended for!
The Document Information Panel enables you to browse and edit document properties, such as metadata, directly into your documents. Speaking of metadata, you can also create term sets and groups that make it easier to both organize, and find your content.
Companies create, process and share content and information on a large scale, so finding them an appropriate home in your infrastructure–be it a formal content management system or other information solution–is extremely important.
In SharePoint, users can store their content within a central repository, collating information from all corners of the company. While stored, users are able to search, access, and share all of their content in a communal space, making it much easier to locate any documents or files.
Preserving content refers to the long-term care of information in SharePoint. By archiving content, you're essentially "hiding" your content from users, so you're able to protect it for however long you wish. It can be accessed at a later date if it is needed.
Your organization's policies for the retention, protection and auditing of information are there to be implemented, helping you guarantee your records are properly retained. Audit trails are in place to provide proof to internal and external auditors that records were retained appropriately.
Litigation discovery – a cost-effective practice for retrieving information that is required for legal discovery – can also be made easier through the records management capabilities in SharePoint.
SharePoint record management capabilities are in place to help organizations store and protect business records in their final state. By applying information management policies to business records, organizations can lessen the risk of litigation by ensuring that the information complies with both legal regulations and business policy.
Finally, you want to be able to put all this information in the right people’s hands, when they need it to be there. Microsoft Delve – one of Office 365's tools – helps you discover, in real time, the information and people most relevant to you. Delve shows you all of the documents stored in OneDrive for Business and in SharePoint.
The Importance of Enterprise Content Management
With the help of the SharePoint platform, users are able to successfully integrate enterprise content management into the business, eliminating ad hoc processes in an attempt to prevent potential regulatory compliance risks.
Financial fraud and data breaches have made the need for effective information governance essential in order to protect an organization’s reputation. Therefore, businesses also need to ensure that they manage their content effectively when integrating with business intelligence applications that allow them to use information and data to influence decisions.
By developing an ongoing and evolving ECM strategy, you can remain fully in-check with your content across the SharePoint platform, and hopefully relieve some of the stress of working with sensitive content.