Boost efficiencies and results with an ECM system
Enterprise content management systems enable you to share information and access critical work systems from anywhere, which is vital in the era of remote work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated to businesses the need for greater digitisation of systems, particularly as the exponential growth of remote working has exacerbated the need for employees to be able to access critical work systems from anywhere, and via any device.
This is where the benefits of an enterprise content management (ECM) system come to the fore. An ECM system stores company data such as e-mails, Office documents or accounting records in a central repository. Furthermore, the system integrates with your existing infrastructure and helps you comply with the POPI Act and GDPR requirements. An ECM system is, essentially, a number of solutions working together to enable the organisation to be more efficient and effective, thereby producing better results.
According to Alande Mbatha, director at ELO Digital Office Africa, collaboration is a key driver of ECM, as it enables users to share knowledge and information, which in turn increases agility, fosters better teamwork and ensures employees are more productive, because they have all the data they require at their fingertips.
“The ability to share information quickly is something businesses can use to their advantage. An ECM system will enable you to easily access data that can help you run your business more effectively and efficiently,” she says.
“But it is worth noting that an ECM system can do much more than just store documents and manage projects. For example, permissions allow you to control access easily, while state-of-the-art search technology finds information fast, and the built-in workflow function automates certain processes."
Of course, adds Mbatha, if you are going to have a system that delivers this kind of access to data, you have to ensure it is properly secured. For an ECM solution, there are three important types of security.
“Firstly, there is network security, which is necessary to stop unauthorised or malicious users getting inside your systems, and is there to stop hackers, malware and the like. Secondly, internet security is vital, because with people connecting from multiple devices via mobile or web clients, it is crucial to ensure such access is secure, using firewalls, anti-malware and anti-spyware protection.
“Finally, application security is needed, as the ECM app would need to be secured too. Here we would look at security around user log-ins, such as passwords and multi-factor authentication. It is critical to ensure that the system is totally secured, because your sensitive data needs to be kept private and safe, so that data integrity is never compromised.”
When it comes to compliance, she continues, the system is designed to assist businesses to comply with regulations. To this end, it is highly customisable to suit individual organisations’ specific requirements.
“The value of an ECM system goes beyond the private sector too. Imagine the impact an effective ECM can have in the public sector – it could provide the portal through which citizens can access a multitude of e-services, from grant applications to booking of licence tests and the payment of municipal accounts.”
Mbatha suggests a standard ECM solution operates like a big umbrella, but in order to provide the best cover, it needs to be customised to suit the specific requirements of the individual organisation.
“Remember that not only does each industry sector have its own needs, but even within one organisation there may be different life cycles for various departments. Thus it is important that the system understands the requirements and policies driving the organisation, in order to ensure proper and effective compliance.
“Perhaps the biggest benefit that ECM offers is its ability to foster teamwork and collaboration. ECM systems make sharing simple and deliver more efficient and better communications – something that has never been more critical than right now, in this era of remote work,” she concludes.