How ECM Cures What Truly Ails Business IT

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Five Considerations for Evaluating Content Management Platforms

Considerations that can help you frame your discussions, review your options and make your decision.

The primary reason that IT is a mess in most organizations today can be traced back to the fundamental lack of a records management system. Without some method for keeping track of all the information in the enterprise, companies create duplicate sets of data that not only waste IT resources, but they also wind up with multiple teams of people working on the exact same projects simply because nobody has any idea what anybody else is working on.

According to Tom Jenkins, executive chairman and chief strategy officer for OpenText, a provider of enterprise content management (ECM) systems, investment in ECM can pay for itself in a matter of months simply by reducing the amount of redundancy that tends to proliferate through any large organization. In fact, Jenkins says that multiple studies have shown that, on average, the same information is re-keyed into different IT systems an average of at least seven times.

ECM systems essentially create a metadata server through which a company establishes an index that classifies all the company's information. That metadata server then uses the taxonomy created by the index to provide a semantic layer through which all the company's information can be searched. That layer of metadata, says Jenkins, provides senior managers with the visibility to not only identify duplicate information, but also discern who is working on what types of projects throughout the organization.

In addition, the ECM system, when properly deployed, can control who is allowed to access that information, which Jenkins says limits the need to invest in data loss prevention (DLP) systems because access controls via a permission structure that surrounds corporate information are built into the system. The reason companies have all these DLP issues associated with insider threats is that too many of them have been too lazy to actually develop a records management system that effectively restricts access to sensitive information.

Whether it's because of more stringent regulations or the need to manage IT more efficiently, Jenkins says that IT organizations are now taking a much more proactive approach to managing information across the enterprise, which today is all too often distributed in isolated departmental silos such as Microsoft SharePoint or Lotus Notes. Tomorrow, adds Jenkins, that information will wind up being distributed across multiple cloud computing environments that IT organizations will have even less control over.

In effect, Jenkins is making a case for a comprehensive approach to information management across the extended enterprise that will not only reduce the cost of IT, but also result in better business decisions by providing more access to information. There's an old saying about what would happen if we only knew what we already knew. As ECM continues to mature, Jenkins notes, there really is going to be no excuse for not knowing.

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