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You do not have to give up your paper documents. You are just digitizing (scanning) and indexing them to make them easier to find and control. You can still print your documents.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) tools are proving to be vital solutions for business who are looking to streamline operations and manage important content more effectively. With data volumes on the rise, businesses are leaning on ECM solutions to meet today’s standards of workplace collaboration, shareability, and manage regulatory compliance. The main function of enterprise content management is to give organizations the ability to gain consistent access to their most important data, no matter where it lies, whether virtually or physically, whether on-premise, in the cloud, or in some other disparate location.

ECM is simply consolidating all your files into a central repository so you can easily search and instantly retrieve "ANY DOCUMENT, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME®retain and destroy the file. ECM controls the life-cycle of documents and files in your organization — how they are created, reviewed, and published, and how they are retained and ultimately disposed of.

Files include word documents, spreadsheets, emails, web pages, PowerPoint presentations, audio/video and a host of other files. 

When implementing an ECM solution, the first step is to determine who has access to your files and what kind of access they have, i.e., CONTROL. The types of access are:

         View and Edit - can make changes to the document and save them, all changes are tracked

         View Only - read only, not authorized to make changes

         Print - authorization to print or not

         Email - may or may not have permission to email file

         No Access - cannot see documents, don't even know they exist

Next, existing files such as word documents and spreadsheets on your server will be imported into the central repository. These will be indexed so that they can be easily searched and retrieved. 

On "Go Live Day" all paper documents that come into the office will be scanned from that day forward. Then, as paper files are retrieved from filing cabinets or when they are touched, they will be scanned.  If someone handles a folder or file, the first thing they do is scan it and mark it as scanned. 

Backfile scanning can be implemented if necessary. This would be scanning files that are most relevant or current, working backward to archived files. Also, files could be boxed and shipped to a Service Bureau that would scan and index them for you.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a process whereby all words are "read" by the software so that you may search for a document using words instead of indexes. As documents are scanned, they will be OCR'd. Existing digital files are OCR  searchable already.

Once existing digital files are imported and new ones are being scanned, the repository will fill in and you will have a searchable database resulting in a more efficient office saving time and money, creating less stress for the staff all while improving customer service.

Control will be in place satisfying compliance regulations and internal policies with disaster recovery protection for all your files.

What is 

Enterprise Content Management ?