Enterprise Content Management

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What Does Enterprise Content Management Mean?

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is an organizational process methodology designed for complete content life cycle management. ECM content includes documents, graphics, email and video.


ECM is derived from electronic document management systems (EDMS) used during the late 1980s to early 1990s for smaller scale imaging and work flow. Today, ECM solutions employ a single software package that encompasses multiple enterprise divisions, including accounting, customer service and human resources (HR).

Techopedia Explains Enterprise Content Management

ECM encompasses multiple management types, including Web content/document/digital asset and work flow management. ECM also provides data discovery and manipulation capabilities through search, collaboration, capture and scanning.

Originally geared toward business-to-employee (B2E) systems, ECM now provides solutions to business-to-business (B2B), business-to-government (B2G), government-to-business (G2B) and other market segments.

The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) defines five ECM components, as follows:

  • Capture
  • Manage
  • Store
  • Preserve
  • Deliver

The three software application sources of ECM are as follows:

  • Locally installed software available through a local area network (LAN)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Hybrid of locally installed SaaS and other software solutions

Key ECM benefits include:

  • More efficient and cost-effective document management and control to drive enterprise adoption
  • Ensured integrated compliance with government and industry regulations
  • Security functions that filter sensitive data masked with redaction features, facilitating document sharing without compromising individual identities or other sensitive data
  • Reduced costs through decreased storage space, supply resources and postal requirements
  • Reduced IT resources via SaaS solutions

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.