Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the technologies used to Capture, Manage, Store, Preserve, and Deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.
ECM especially concerns content imported into or generated from within an organization in the course of its operation, and includes the control of access to this content from outside of the organization's processes.
ECM systems are designed to manage both structured and unstructured content, so that an organization, such as a business or governmental agency, can more effectively meet business goals, serve its customers (as a competitive advantage, or to improve responsiveness), and protect itself (against non-compliance, law-suits, un co-ordinated departments or turnover within the organization).
Recent trends in business and government indicate that ECM is becoming a core investment for organizations of all sizes, more immediately tied to organizational goals than in the past: increasingly more central to what an enterprise does, and how it accomplishes its mission.
This new term is intended to completely encompass the legacy problem domains that have traditionally been addressed by records management and document management. It also includes all of the additional problems involved in converting to and from digital content, to and from the traditional media of those problem domains (such as physical and computerized filing and retrieval systems, often involving paper and microforms). Finally ECM is a new problem domain in its own right, as it has employed the technologies and strategies of (digital) content management to address business process issues, such as records and auditing, knowledge sharing, personalization and standardization of content, and so on.
New product suites have arisen from the combination of capture, search and networking capabilities with technologies of the content management field, which have traditionally addressed digital archiving, document management and workflow. Generally speaking, this is when content management becomes enterprise content management.
Thus, the term enterprise content management refers to solutions that concentrate on providing in-house information, usually using internet technologies. The solutions tend to provide intranet services to employees (B2E), but also include enterprise portals for "business to business" (B2B), "business to government" (B2G), or "government to business" (G2B), etc. This category includes most of the former document management groupware and workflow solutions that have not yet fully converted their architecture, but provide a web interface to their applications. Digital Asset Management (DAM) is as well a form of ECM that is concerned with content stored using digital electronic technology.