Organizations are increasingly looking for ways to manage their information digitally to help them operate more efficiently, increase productivity, and reduce cost.
In the world of information management, taking a look into the available solutions in the market will certainly make the decision makers confused specially with the technical acronym being used i.e. ECM and DMS
In this blog post, we will go through these two concepts in details and focusing on their differences.
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Document Management System
AIIM defines a document management system as
Document management, often referred to as Document Management Systems (DMS), is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper based information captured through the use of a document scannerAIIM
in the early 90’s, companies started developing systems to manage electronic documents. The ultimate goal was to achieve what used to be called “Paperless Office”.
These systems contained all the functionalities needed for organizations to digitize, manage, locate, and circulate their documents in no time.
Some of the functionalities are:
- Check out/ check in.
- Download files.
- Link documents
- Manage document versions.
- Flexible yet powerful security
- Audit trails
- Route documents from one person to another using workflows capabilities for documents review and approval.
These type of solutions gained a lot of attention because of the benefits they provide to the organization starting from cost reduction to maximizing productivity
Refer to the below articles for a study that measures the cost savings for a document management system
ECM (Enterprise Content Management)
Enterprise Content Management is the systematic collection and organization of information that is to be used by a designated audience – business executives, customers, etc. Neither a single technology nor a methodology nor a process, it is a dynamic combination of strategies, methods, and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver information supporting key organizational processes through its entire lifecycleAIIM
Most ECM solutions started as a document management system and throughout the years, they evolved to become solutions serving organizations not only in their documents lifecycle management but also in automating their processes, and improving collaboration.
ECM solutions in my point of view should be the entry point to the digital transformation journey as they contain the modules needed for organizations to operate more efficiently and the document management module represents its core and most important module.
Usually major ECM solutions should contain the below modules
- Records Management:
- Document Management: Represents the core module in any ECM solution. Checkout my previously published article covering Records Mgt & Document Management
- Collaboration: For more information, check out my previously published article: Why Collaboration is extremely important in ECM.
- EFSS (Enterprise file sync and sharing): i.e integration with dropbox
- Web Content Management.
- Business Process Management: Giving the ability to automate internal and external processes. for more information you can check out my previously published article: Automate Organizations processes using ECM.
- Archiving: Checkout my previously published article covering: Archiving Documents.
Below is a picture from Gartner demonstrating all the modules that should be available in the ECM
As a summary, most document management systems functionalities should be available in any ECM solution and represents its core module. ECM has more improved and evolved concepts than DMS helping organizations cover a wider range of business related operations to be digitally transformed.