I was talking to an IT director at a large customer of ours recently about his information management strategy and was impressed by his realistic and holistic view of information management…or Enterprise Content Management (ECM), to use AIIM’s industry term. Like many organizations, he has an ECM application in the center of his content management strategy. And, like many organizations, he has mapped out the connections from that ECM system to his line of business applications, Intranets, Extranets, desktop applications and email systems, as well as paper.
Where this conversation became interesting was his view of the input/output relationships between every one of these parts, including paper. This input/output relationship is often forgotten when considering paper, with the focus being solely on the act of converting paper-based information to electronic form (input). But conversion and input is only half of the story. Understanding how users work with electronic files (both scanned and digitally originated), is critical to the success of an information management strategy. What he has delivered is an information management strategy that encompasses the complete document or content lifecycle.
Think about your users’ work processes. Getting a paper document into an electronic system is good for storage, but most of the time that document needs to be accessed again, edited, possibly combined with other documents, and either shared or checked back into the system. These tasks typically consist of performing multiple steps and opening multiple applications. However, using standard document formats like PDF, and working with PDF software that is integrated directly with your other applications, can significantly reduce the number of steps…improving productivity, saving labor costs, reducing resource contraints, and creating a better work environment.