Enterprise content management (ECM) companies love their acronyms, especially in online conversations (“enterprise content management” uses 20% of the 140 characters allowed on Twitter). These acronyms succinctly express technology and industry-specific concepts, but they also intimidate the uninformed.

acronym meme

To help ECM newcomers make sense of all this jargon, here’s a quick guide to 17 popular, ECM-related acronyms you’re sure to encounter.


Before we dive into this industry of information management, what does the industry call itself?

CMS: Content Management System

This term seems like it could refer to anything from closet organization to email filtering. It actually refers to applications that allow users to store, edit, search for and control content, especially (but not exclusively) web content. CMSs range widely in functionality and application—ECM is one of the more feature-rich and powerful examples of a CMS.

ECM: Electronic Content Management & Enterprise Content Management

“Enterprise” ECM and “electronic” ECM are both established abbreviations in the industry. However, enterprise content management refers to solutions for enterprise organizations while electronic content management is a broader term that can include consumer products.

Enterprise content management is an umbrella term that encompasses nearly every other acronym on this list. Go here to learn the basics of ECM.

DMS: Document Management System

DMS refers to the management of physical and/or digital documents. Most companies in the ECM industry, including Laserfiche, came into being by developing document management software. Today, DMS is considered a subset of ECM, as organizations have to manage far more data formats than text documents alone.

Check out our complete guide to document management here.

EDMS: Electronic Document Management System

While DMS can refer to both physical and digital documents, EDMS implies—you guessed it—only digital documents. Well, that was an easy one. Moving on!

DI: Document Imaging

DI is the process of turning a paper document into a digital document. DI tools come in many forms, from printers to scanners to the camera on your smartphone. Any technology that can digitize a paper document can be considered a document imaging tool.

Here’s how documents can be captured and stored in Laserfiche.

WCM: Web Content Management

Because we seem to do everything on the Internet these days, it’s reasonable to think that web content management is synonymous with enterprise content management—don’t do that!

 It's a Trap!

WCM actually refers to web hosting sites like WordPress or Drupal. WCM deals specifically with web-based processes like account registration, page building and blogging.


In the ECM industry, processes make the work go ‘round.

BPA: Business Process Automation

As it relates to ECM, business process automation is a powerful feature that reduces the time and resources required to move documents from A to B. For example, instead of dragging electronic documents into different folders and emailing them to coworkers, employees can use BPA software to handle these tasks automatically.

Read more about the basics of BPA here.

BPI: Business Process Integration

You might come across this term while researching the ECM industry, but it has no unique meaning. BPI is synonymous with CCA, which is described below.

BPM: Business Process Management

BPM refers to the evaluation and improvement of business processes to maximize efficiency and productivity. It encompasses, but does not necessarily indicate, the automation of business processes.

Diagram of Business Process Management

RWF will be a popular acronym by 2027, according to my robot’s calculations.

Here are some common business processes that Laserfiche software helps to manage.

iBPM: intelligent Business Process Management

This term dominates publications by Gartner, an information technology research and analysis firm. iBPM is a unique acronym in the fact that it has a lower-case letter, but don’t let that fool you—it really just means business process automation.

CCA: Composite Content Application

Business processes frequently require information from multiple sources in order to operate. For example, a financial services organization might need to access data from a customer relationship management (CRM) system and a separate portfolio management system to open a new account.

CCAs act as a single interface through which disparate software systems can function together. They help automate processes and increase efficiency because employees don’t have to switch between several applications to complete a task.

Learn more about the benefits of CCAs.

PGCM: Process-Generated Content Management

Info-Tech, another leading technology research firm, uses PGCM synonymously with ECM. It should be noted, though, that process-generated content management differs from records management—records are inactive documents that do not require daily processing.

Now that you know what PGCM means, here’s an Info-Tech report that uses the term.

TCM: Transactional Content Management

This term is easy to confuse with BPM as it also refers to organizing, automating and tracking content. However, TCM refers specifically to transactional content such as invoices, receipts and contracts. This focus on transactional content means invoices get paid on time and business vendors stay happy.

See how else TCM differs from BPM here.


ECM handles both live and archived documents.

RM: Records Management

Many documents used and produced by businesses eventually become records. Some have to be destroyed after five years, some after ten—and others are kept indefinitely. RM establishes rules and practices for maintaining diverse types of records in accordance with internal policies and legal mandates. Basically, RM helps organizations stay out of trouble.

Get a quick overview of RM here.

ERM: Electronic Records Management

Because records management can be as low-tech as boxes of paper in a storage closet, ERM has emerged as a distinct industry term. ERM systems greatly improve the management of records through features such as retention and disposition scheduling and activity monitoring.

Dig deep into ERM with this extensive guide.

Business Continuity

ECM aims to protect information on good days and bad days.

DRP: Disaster Recovery Plan

IT departments use DRPs to plan for system and infrastructure failures. The goal of a DRP is to recover from a disaster—man-made or natural—as quickly as possible and with as little data loss as possible.

Laserfiche disaster recovery wallpaper

Want this as your wallpaper? Click the image.

An ECM system plays a vital role in disaster recovery by keeping company information in electronic repositories rather than flammable, floodable file cabinets.

Find out which disasters can cause chaos in your organization.

BCP: Business Continuity Plan

BCP is the more comprehensive version of DRP. Rather than focusing on systems failures, business continuity aims to minimize interruptions and downtime across the entire organization in the event of a disaster.

With ECM, organizations can back up and recover documents and records because information is digitally stored off-site. Data remains safe from harm and, with the ability to remotely access information, employees can keep working even if they can’t access the company building.

See why BCP and ECM go hand in hand.

Now you’re ready dive into the great big world of Enterprise Content Management! Why not get started with this ECM software analyst report from the Info-Tech Research Group.


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