Enterprise content management

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Enterprise content management ( ECM ) comprises the strategies, methods and tools for recording, managing, storing, preserving and providing content and documents to support organizational processes in the company. ECM brings together structured, weakly structured and unstructured information.

The term enterprise content management is a modern made-up word that is intended to describe products, solutions, a market and an industry. It is made up of three individual terms that have a special meaning in this combination:

  • Enterprise stands for a solution that can be used by all authorized users in an organization . The access authorization can be differentiated into reading and editing privileges.
  • Content stands for any content in electronic systems.
  • Management stands for the administration, processing and control of systems.

Several attempts have been made to translate the term enterprise content management into German, e.g. B. Corporate content management or corporate content management . These attempts suffer from the fact that they themselves contain unfamiliar concepts and unrestricted anglicisms as word components. In the meantime, the term Enterprise Content Management and the associated acronym ECM has established itself in the German-speaking world.


The recognized definition of the acronym ECM and the term enterprise content management comes from the industry association AIIM International: "Enterprise content management comprises the strategies, methods and tools for the acquisition, administration, storage, preservation and provision of content and documents to support organizational Processes. “( AIIM international 2008 ) ECM includes conventional techniques such as input management , document management , collaboration , web content management , workflow , business process management , output management , storage and electronic archiving . ECM is a branch of information management and is primarily concerned with weakly structured or unstructured information , which is also referred to as documents or content .

The Internet , in particular, changed the previous concept of documents and the associated solutions. One speaks modern of content and the associated systems such as content management , web content management or enterprise content management. Document and content have a different quality, the terms cannot be used synonymously. In the case of content, the closed character of the electronic document is dissolved. Structural information, descriptive metadata and layouts are managed separately from the actual content so that the content can be used in a wide variety of forms and for a wide variety of purposes. Enterprise content management itself is just one of the many terms used in content management. Enterprise content management claims to also include web content management (see the individual ECM components ). However, in view of the all-encompassing claim and the countless components of enterprise content management, one must state that ECM can at best serve as a vision, strategy or designation of an industry - ECM is not a closed system solution or a single product. One can therefore ECM tantamount to DRT document related technologies or DLM Document Lifecycle Management position (Document Lifecycle Management) only as a possible summary group name for the different techniques, product approaches and enterprises.

The term enterprise content management includes the word combination content management and at the same time overlaps with the claim of content management. Before one can turn to a definition of ECM, the term content management (CM) and the differentiation from web content management (WCM) must first be considered.


Enterprise content management: ECM architecture. Source: AIIM / PROJECT CONSULT 2003

Enterprise content management is based on the approach of providing all of a company's information on a uniform platform for use internally, in the partner network and externally (“Unified Federated Repository”, data / document / content warehouse). ECM includes conventional information technologies such as document management , knowledge management ( knowledge management ), workflow management , archiving etc. and integrates the host - and Client / Server -World with portal and other Internet technologies. The aim of ECM is to avoid data and document redundancy (each piece of information only exists once), to regulate access uniformly, to provide any information regardless of source and use, and to make it available to all applications as a service .

ECM is a basic technology of e-business to provide the necessary information and control the processes.

The term enterprise content management is therefore used to summarize solutions that also use Internet technologies, but are primarily aimed at in-house information provision. The range of solutions here are primarily enterprise portals for B2B as extranet and B2E as intranet . The majority of the previous document management , groupware and workflow providers who have not yet completely changed their architectures and only put a web server in front of their applications can also be found in this category.

Enterprise content management follows a component approach that provides the necessary infrastructure for any application in several layers . It positions itself as middleware whose services are available to all applications . Important areas of application based on infrastructure components of enterprise content management are e. B .:

ECM portal
Browser- based, personalized interface for accessing information from various internal and external sources as well as replacing previous host and / or client user interfaces.
ECM data / document warehouse
Agents , middleware and meta-databases for the consolidation and compression of unstructured information from various sources in the company.
ECM workflow
Process-controlled consolidation and use of information.
ECM knowledge management
Preparation of structured and unstructured information, automatic classification and computer-based training (CBT).


If you look at the definitions of the different areas of application of ECM and WCM , it becomes clear that the differences in the system categories that still exist today can no longer be maintained for long. This applies to the products and the technical platforms as well as to the usage models. What is still used today as a pure in-house solution should be made available to the partner or customer tomorrow. The contents and structures of today's web portal geared towards the outside world should be the platform for internal information provision tomorrow.

ECM should overcome the restrictions of previous vertical applications and "island" architectures . In principle, the user does not see that he is working with an ECM solution. ECM offers the necessary infrastructure for the new world of "web-based IT ", which is practically establishing itself as the third platform alongside conventional host and client / server systems. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) therefore plays a special role in the introduction and use of ECM .

According to Ulrich Kampffmeyer , 2001, the requirement of an enterprise content management system in contrast to pure web content management manifests itself in three essential concepts:

  • Enterprise content management components as independent services : ECM should manage information regardless of the source and regardless of the required use. The function is provided here as a service that can be used by a wide variety of applications within the framework of a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The advantage of a service concept is that only one general service is available for each function and redundant, complex to maintain and expensive parallelism of the same function is avoided.
  • Enterprise content management as a uniform repository for all types of information: ECM, as a ContentWarehouse (covering both DataWarehouse and DocumentWarehouse), is intended to bring together company information in a uniformly structured repository. Complex redundancy and related problems of the consistency of information are overcome. All applications deliver their content in a standardized repository, which in turn provides all applications with the information they need.
  • EAI Enterprise Application Integration connects all components: ECM is classified as a collection of infrastructure components in a multi- layer model and includes all DRT Document Related Technologies for handling, opening up and managing weakly structured data. ECM Enterprise Content Management thus represents one of the necessary basic components of the overarching application field of e-business .

Enterprise content management works properly when the user is practically unaware of it. ECM technologies are infrastructure that support specialist applications as subordinate services . ECM also claims to manage all information of a WCM and to cover the archiving requirements as a universal repository.


Enterprise Content Management: ECM components. Source: AIIM / PROJECT CONSULT 2003

A wide variety of technologies and components are combined for ECM solutions, some of which can also be used as independent solutions without the requirement of a company-wide system.

These ECM components and techniques can be grouped into five main categories:

This model is based on the five key terms of the definition of AIIM International. The previous classic fields of application

form the actual management components (administration and processing components), which connect Capture, Store , Deliver and Preserve and can be combined or used as an alternative.

While document management , web content management, collaboration, workflow and business process management more for the dynamic part of the life cycle of information are responsible, the task of records management is the management no longer changing information. The use of the information hovers above everything, be it through independent clients of the ECM system components or in the form of an "enabling" of existing applications (function is integrated into an existing application in such a way that no separate client surface is necessary) that access the functions of the ECM services and the stored information. The integration of existing technologies in particular makes it clear that ECM does not appear as a new product category, but positions itself as an integrating force.

See also

Detail page on the components of enterprise content management systems

Commercial and free ECM products

Other thematically related pages on Wikipedia

Individual evidence

  1. AIIM international, first definition 2001, current version from 2008.
  2. ^ AIIM Association for Information and Image Management international, 2005, AIIM website . For the development of the definition, see also its history on the discussion page.
  3. See also the individual ECM components in detail.
  4. Ulrich Kampffmeyer: Document Technologies - Where is the journey going? . Hamburg, 2003a.
  5. Ulrich Kampffmeyer: Enterprise Content Management - Between Vision and Reality . Hamburg 2003b. "Enterprise Content Management - the company-wide information platform of the future"; free download PDF
  6. ^ Following section according to Kampffmeyer, 2003a
  7. Kampffmeyer, 2003a.
  8. Ulrich Kampffmeyer, "Enterprise Content Management - Rulers of Information". Computerwoche, CW-exktraKT, Munich, September 24, 2001
  9. When the term ECM Middleware was coined, the term SOA service-oriented architecture did not yet exist. This derivation was later added to the original quote.
  10. Kampffmeyer, 2001.
  11. Kampffmeyer, 2003b.
  12. ^ Ulrich Kampffmeyer: ECM Enterprise Content Management . Hamburg 2006; free download PDF


  • Enterprise Content Management - company-wide information platform of the future . IT Research Strategic Bulletin, Sauerlach, 2003, ISBN 3-936052-24-7 .
  • Ulrich Kampffmeyer: Document Technologies: Where Are We Heading? . Hamburg, 2003 (a), ISBN 3-9806756-4-5 .
  • ders .: ECM Enterprise Content Management . Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-936534-09-8 . PDF .
  • ders .: Enterprise Content Management - ruler of information . Computerwoche Extra, September 24, 2001.
  • ders .: Enterprise Content Management - Between Vision and Reality . PDF Hamburg, 2003 (b).
  • Renate Karl: dsk study: ECM / BPM Edition . Part 1 + 2, dsk Consulting GmbH, Pfaffenhofen, 2006.
  • Nicole Scheidegger, Pascal Sieber, Heiner Grüter, Simon Scheurer, Roger Gomol, Thomas Frey: Enterprise Content Management: From Vision to Reality . Dr. Pascal Sieber & Partners AG, 2004.
  • Hans-Peter Fröschle, Siegfried Reich (Ed.): Enterprise Content Management , dpunkt.verlag 2007, ISBN 978-3-89864-456-3
  • Martin Böhn, Michael Schiklang: Enterprise Content Management , Oxygon Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-937818-35-1
  • Stefan Otto Sorg: Guide for managers: The paperless office. ISBN 978-3-00-026672-0
  • Wolfgang Riggert: ECM Enterprise Content Management - Concepts and techniques around documents , Vieweg + Teubner 2009, ISBN 978-3-8348-0841-7

Web links


  • AIIM site of the international umbrella organization for ECM Enterprise Content Management (English), origin of the definition of ECM
  • BITKOM site of the competence area ECM in the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media eV, mouthpiece of the ECM branch
  • VOI Association of Organizations and Information Systems eV, German professional association for ECM