Top Use Cases for Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

6 min read
  • Information Technology

While the feature set of an enterprise content management (ECM) system can be robust, it’s not always easy to identify where and how to use the tools effectively. Below are a few use cases that highlight the benefits of implementing an enterprise content management system in your organization.

Use cases for finance departments

A highly regulated part of any business, a finance department can find many benefits in using an ECM system:

  • Customer invoicing: Find new efficiency with the ability to quickly route documents to relevant parties, including key approvers and stakeholders, creating transparency throughout the invoice management process.

  • Cash flows: Gain a clear view of incoming and outgoing funds with processes you can follow using robust analytics dashboards.

  • Audits: Make auditors’ jobs easier with audit trails that give a detailed history of actions performed on each document in your repository.
  • Purchase order (PO) generation: Extract important information from scanned or imported purchase orders, making them easier to identify and match to invoices.

  • Invoice processing: Gather data directly from scanned or imported invoices, making invoice information easier to verify and match with relevant purchase orders.

  • Expense reimbursement: Streamline the expense reimbursement process with the ability to efficiently route documents between requesters and approvers.

  • Budget transfers: Enhance your organization’s ability to move allocated funds between departments with pre-built automation templates obtained from a solution marketplace.

  • General ledger: Support transparency in your organization’s reporting practices with properly stored and kept evidence of transactions.

Use cases for HR departments

As the department usually responsible for employee onboarding and support, human resources can have many processes to manage on any given day. Here are a few ways an ECM system can help:

  • Employee onboarding: Get employees started faster by automatically routing onboarding paperwork between them and the HR department.
  • Employee forms and requests: Enable a quick turnaround for employee requests with the ability to automatically direct forms and paperwork between stakeholders.
  • Employee information protection: Get automatic reminders to dispose of or archive information, so your organization can keep employee information for only as long as required by regulatory bodies.
  • Policy transparency: Keep a centralized repository for employee handbooks and other documents outlining policies, so employees always have easy access to them.
  • Status changes: Develop a referenceable system of record that tracks status changes as employees onboard, offboard and change roles.

  • Vacation requests: Give your organization the opportunity to field vacation requests more effectively with pre-built automation templates obtained from a solution marketplace.

  • Professional development requests: Support employee growth with fast response times to requests for professional development using forms submitted electronically.

  • Performance reviews: Keep information on employee performance protected in a repository with robust security controls.

  • Timesheets: Get automatic reminders of when timesheets are due and automatically route information to approvers.

  • Benefits enrollment: Automatically set reminders to notify employees of key benefits enrollment deadlines.

Use cases for legal and compliance departments

For legal and finance departments, accuracy and efficiency is an essential part of conducting business, and helping to ensure audits of their organizations go smoothly. Below are some ways these departments can benefit from using an ECM system.

  • Sharing information with clients and customers: Utilize digital forms that can capture information directly from customer and client submission, limiting the need for email attachments that can come with the risk of being intercepted or compromised.
  • Legal review and contract approvals: Speed up approval processes with process automation functionality that directs information to appropriate stakeholders with ease.
  • eDiscovery: Keep content for as long as legally necessary, to support your organization’s efforts to fulfill its duties during the discovery process.

  • Contract negotiation: Version control capabilities make it easy to track significant revisions as contracts are changed and edited by relevant parties.

  • E-signatures: Enable convenient signing of a variety of documents with digital signatures that can be captured electronically via native functionality or using integrations with specialized e-signature software.

  • Retention schedules: Set reminders for records managers to dispose of or archive records in alignment with their retention schedules.

  • Legal holds: Change and keep track of legal hold statuses for records that are involved in ongoing litigation.

Use cases for supply chain management

Supply chain management can be a challenge for many businesses and can cause ripple effects throughout an organization if not regarded as critically important to operations. Here are some use cases for ECM systems that can help those who manage supply chains identify opportunities for new efficiencies:

  • Procurement: Get up-to-date information from parts inspections in the field with the ability to capture information from digital forms submitted online.

  • Operations: Identify bottlenecks with analytics dashboards that enable your organization to get an informative overview of ongoing processes.

  • Incoming materials and outgoing products: Leverage powerful process dashboards to identify trends in how your organization is procuring materials and producing products.

  • Quality control: Use pre-built automation templates from a solution marketplace to build workflows that streamline how quality control information is collected and delivered.

Use cases for customer service departments

Customer service departments rely heavily on the accuracy of their information in order to provide the highest level of service possible. Here are some ways an ECM system can help these departments:

  • Customer requests for service: Meet the needs of customers on their schedule with the ability to provide automated service as requests come in.

  • Customer satisfaction: Ensure customers are satisfied by collecting accurate information, extracted directly from submitted forms.
  • Case management: Easily route information between team members to stay up to date on cases and provide automatic status updates for customers.

  • Application processing: Extract key pieces of information from applications for programs and services to better organize relevant documents and respond to requests.
  • Public records and information: Increase transparency with public portals that deliver information to customers upon request.

  • Customer service follow-up: Enable any staff member to provide follow-ups to requests with automation tools that make case information easy to move between team members.

  • Support ticket submissions: Gather submitted information automatically and accurately, helping to ensure faster turnaround times for support tickets.

Use cases for IT departments

Information technology departments are usually fielding many projects and requests at once. Without the right tools, resources can run thin quickly. Here are a few ways an ECM system can help your IT department utilize its resources effectively:

  • Case management: Capture data directly from documents relevant to cases, making information more convenient to store, retrieve and share.

  • Data analysis and insights: Gain actionable insights on processes department-wide with robust analytics dashboards.

  • Information governance: Utilize audit trails to track when, and by whom, actions were performed on your organization’s content.

  • Helpdesk support: Help ensure quick turnaround times for helpdesk tickets with the ability to gather submitted information directly from incoming requests.

  • Support resource hosting: Provide a centralized repository that employees can easily access for FAQs, documentation and guides.

  • Network access requests: Leverage automation to accelerate approvals of requests from staff to access applications and functionality critical to their roles.

  • Hardware device checkout: Collect information that can identify devices rented by employees, and store that information in a secure repository, so your organization can effectively keep track of equipment.

Use cases for sales teams

The more information salespeople have, the more empowered they are to inform customers and close deals. Here are some ways an ECM system can assist salespeople and their teams in generating revenue for your organization:

  • Sales contracts: Extract key information directly from contracts, making them easier to sort through, locate, retrieve and organize.

  • Sales tools: Provide a centralized repository that makes it easy for salespeople to access proposals, presentations and other sales tools.

  • Travel and expense requests: Jumpstart workflows your organization can use to furnish requests quickly using pre-built automation templates from a solution marketplace.

  • Opportunity tracking: Quickly store and retrieve quotes, invoices and other sales materials to get a better view of prospective deals available to your sales team.

Use cases for business continuity

Whether an individual unit or a group of individual experts across multiple departments, teams need effective tools to mitigate the risk that comes with disruptions to business. Here are a few ways an ECM system can assist your organization in its efforts to create a more resilient enterprise:

  • Remote content access: When your office is inaccessible, host a cloud repository that enables employees to access any and all content they need from anywhere.

  • Data security and privacy: Records management tools can help ensure your organization keeps records for only as long as needed, reducing the amount of data vulnerable to security and privacy breaches if they occur.

  • Communicating with customers: Facilitate customer requests for information and services from anywhere with online portals.

  • Business continuity planning: Leverage digital, automated workflows to keep processes moving, even if in-person staff are unavailable.

  • Disaster recovery: Host your content on a cloud infrastructure that’s supported by multiple availability zones to minimize data loss after disruptions.

  • Crisis management: Automate key crisis management processes to boost your organization’s ability to respond effectively in critical situations.

  • Business impact analysis: Evaluate performance of key processes during simulated disruptions with analytics tools to get an overview of your organization’s preparedness.

Customer Spotlight: Learning Arts

Learn how Learning Arts, a company dedicated to the care of children with autism, leveraged ECM to share data about patients with their parents and behavior specialists in real-time to enhance care and programming.


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