A content management system stores documents and data that have been captured and indexed according to your organization’s business rules, records management guidelines, and retrieval needs. This information is accumulated and managed in a secure central repository where the documents can be easily retrieved via your organization’s line of business application (e.g., accounting, ERP, legacy, line of business or CRM type systems), a web interface or through portlets/web parts in an Internet/Intranet portal.
Content Management can be categorized into three containers:
Transactional – Typically content management for items being received or sent out that are associated with a business process and require multiple reviews and approvals. A business process “work package” will include the data, documents, tasks and history pertaining to the transaction being processed. This software enables organizations to capture information, extract pertinent data, populate a line of business/ERP system, retrieve information and automate the processes around that information.
Collaborative – Involves many people collaborating on a single document (i.e. a company policy change). Throughout the collaboration process, people may make changes to the document which must be reviewed and approved by one or more members of the team. Collaboration work spaces will include the document(s), message threads, tasks and other helpful tools to assist in the collaboration process.
Contextual – This type of content management will make use of any content stored in the system and can place that information into the context of a web page. This assists any business by ensuring only the most current version of the content is being used in various information delivery mechanisms. For example, a company policy may have to be posted to an Intranet or Extranet. Once the policy is reviewed and approved, the system will automatically update the web sites with that information which is also still available for retrieval via the content management system.
The main features of a content management system include:
Storage – Documents are stored using key information captured during the data entry process. Retention requirements will determine how long the documents are stored and where they are stored.
Retrieval – Finding information is the main reason content management systems have been developed. Information captured during the data entry process is used as document indexes which can be searched on from a variety of user interfaces. Retrieval is a key element of the ROI for a content management system. Retrieval of documents can be accomplished via web client, ERP integration, SharePoint, WSRP compliant portals, Outlook and Windows Explorer.
Workflow – Getting a document from point A to point B makes up 90% of every process. A rules-based workflow system will automatically route a document to the appropriate approver thus eliminating this tedious and risky part of the process. Additionally, workflow will allow documents to be routed based on the information captured during the data entry process (rules based routing) or to be routed based on a user decision (decision based routing). Finally, every step in every process is tracked and scribed to the audit trail for each transaction thus ensuring compliance requirements and accountability.
Security – Controlling access to information is a critical element in every business. Using a content management system, network administrators no longer have to worry about sharing network drives. Information is stored so that no users can browse the network and open documents they are not allowed to view. Security is controlled through the content management system and is tied to users and groups via AD and LDAP integration.
Versioning – Electronic documents have different requirements than scanned images. These documents can be retrieved and modified if the user has the appropriate rights. Once modified, the user can check the document back into the system as a new version (major or minor).