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BLOG: A social platform and ECM strategy

James Latham | Aug. 19, 2011
Social collaboration tools and enterprise content management key for an innovative workforce.

Organisations produce a lot of content. This is old news. Nothing new about it. The average office employee gets tons of e-mails every day. Dozens or maybe 100s. Add all of these to the e-mail responses, reports and other types of content that the same employee produces each day. For a multinational corporation with thousands of employees, it is enough to fill server farms all over the world, particularly as you add in rich media like images and audio-video files. However, the proliferation of content produces an even greater concern: finding information when you need it and sharing it with the right people.

For CIOs dealing with current and future IT needs in their companies and CEOs seeking to keep their companies competitive, bringing order into the growing volumes of content is a key concern, but one that can easily be handled through the use of enterprise content management (ECM) tools.

Any company seeking to stay competitive today - getting a firm grasp of company content so that it can be found and shared easily is no longer an option; the bottom line depends on it. Indeed, IT professionals surveyed recently point to poor use of organisational knowledge as the number one danger of "continued content chaos" in their organisations. Among the 450 recipients of a recent survey put out by AIIM, an independent content management organisation, more than two-thirds believed their offices would gain efficiencies of at least 30 percent if employees could find internal information and documents as quickly and as easily as they find information on the Web.

And for customer-facing staff that need quick access to customer-related and case-related information, those efficiencies are regarded as even more important. In a company with high levels of customer service needs, service and response times depend greatly on timely access to information.

The AIIM survey sought to quantify the benefits of adopting an ECM system, particularly when compared to the alternative of letting content multiply on its own. For example, unmanaged content fills storage media and IT infrastructures to capacity. Productivity suffers when employees tire of looking for information that should be easily accessible.

And in the area of compliance, companies can't answer requests for content in litigation or they can be the victims of data leaks that can be costly or embarrassing such as a WikiLeaks event. As CFOs prepare for the next fiscal year's budgets, they need to consider the ramifications of failing to address these issues.

Gaining in popularity

Although ECM systems are gaining in popularity as a way to circumvent these types of events, perhaps an even more compelling case for enterprise-wide content management can be made around social collaboration among employees. Innovation thrives on employees and teams working effortlessly together and being able to form into effective project teams quickly on an ad hoc basis as market conditions change.


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