An ECM repository is like a refrigerator: it can stay clean and organized with a little effort or it can become an impenetrable vessel of chaos. Enterprise content management (ECM) systems use repositories to store documents and records (if you’re unsure of the difference between the two, go here), but without a logical system for naming files, structuring folders or applying metadata, users have difficulty locating the information they need.

Below are three flowcharts that will guide you through the questions and tasks you should consider as you restore order to your ECM repository. Each flowchart focuses on a primary design consideration for nearly all ECM repositories:

  • A naming convention keeps the names of files and folders consistent, intuitive and descriptive. This helps users easily search for information and avoid guesswork.
  • A folder structure helps users browse, rather than perform a search, by making folder levels and subcategories as logical as possible. Browsing is useful when you want to see content at a glance—for example, every unprocessed job application in an HR folder.
  • Metadata templates categorize files based on the type of information they contain and also help users search more efficiently. They work best when they contain essential and unique information, like ID numbers and dates.

1. Naming Convention

naming convention flowchart for ECM repository

2. Folder Structure

folder structure flowchart for ECM repository

3. Metadata

metadata flowchart for ECM repository

Read 3 Ways Metadata Makes Finding Documents Easy here.

I Fixed My ECM Repository—Now What?

With a tip-top ECM repository, you can do more than just find information quickly. An ECM system can also help you move information between folders and employees so that even less manual work is required. This is referred to as “business process automation,” or BPA, and a robust ECM system will have a BPA component.

BPA facilitates routine business processes, such as purchase order approval or employee onboarding. It also happens to use flowcharts to map out these processes so that every condition, exception or rule is taken into account.

See how to diagram your business processes in the free guide.

Diagram a Business Process

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