Enterprise Content Management uses Internet technologies to make information accessible from all over the world. In an age of global business, this enables employees spread across the globe to maintain effective contacts with their headquarters and also other offices located anywhere in the world.
Internet technologies are used to create an intra-business network, and Intranet, that restricts access to authorized persons. This means that worldwide accessibility is combined with security.
Business-to-Employee – B2E – networks offer services and products to employees. It facilitates dissemination of corporate announcements and special offers to employees, as well as online requests for supplies, reporting of employee benefits and other employee-related tasks.
Business-to-Business – B2B – transactions tend to be critical for the smooth flow of business. For example, timely deliveries from raw materials suppliers are critical to avoid “stock out” stoppages of manufacturing operations.
An Enterprise Content Management system can allow a supplier to access scheduled requirements of your supply needs online. It will then be possible for the supplier to schedule their own manufacturing operations to enable timely deliveries of your requirements.
In such a situation, any variations in your manufacturing schedules will be immediately reflected in the supply schedule, and will alert the supplier to cut back or speed up deliveries.
You can also enhance your relationships with your own customers through ECM. For example, if you are a supplier of important inputs to your customer’s operations, you can integrate your ECM with that of your customer to alert you about the supply needs, and any changes therein.
In both supplier and customer relationships, communication can be improved in a major way through instant messaging, bulletin boards, online meetings, and other similar devices. The ability to establish immediate, direct contact and to communicate requirements with sufficient clarity will improve relationships.
Enterprise Content Management systems can also help Business to Government – B2G – transactions, particularly in the context of Government Request for Proposals – RFPs. The company can register with the concerned government departments so that it is alerted to new RFPs relevant to its business.
Not only can the company bid against the RFPs through it ECM system, but it can also make available requested information such as its financial status, technical competence and references in a more authentic manner.
The company that uses an ECM to deal with government will also find it easy to comply with regulatory requirements by having access to the latest regulations and relevant forms and rules. Online filing of reports that can be verified by the government departments online reduces the time involved.
How ECM Works
ECM works mainly through the in-house intranet and company web portals. While the Intranet provides information access and communication facilities to the company’s employees, the web portal allows outsiders, such as suppliers, customers and government, access to needed information and better-quality communication facilities.
The key advantages that are provided by Enterprise Content Management systems are:
- Provides online access to information from anywhere instead of having to move paper documents back and forth
- Streamlines time-consuming business processes through collaboration across both short and long distances
- Improves security and audit trails that makes it possible to conduct business more confidently
Enterprise Content Management systems make it possible to improve information access and communications both in-house with employees (who might be spread worldwide) and with outside agencies such as suppliers, customers, and government. It’s even possible to integrate outside systems with the company’s own, in a secure manner, to speed up business transactions.
These lead to faster completion of transactions and streamlined business processes, which in turn lead to far-better business results.