What Is Transactional Content Management?
If your organization is like most, it probably processes a fair amount of transactional content each day. This content is comprised of things like invoices, purchase orders, contracts, claims, case files—basically, the documents, forms and files that help your organization conduct business with its customers, vendors and partners.
Transactional content management (TCM), then, is a methodology for organizing, automating and tracking this content more effectively.
Sounds suspiciously like business process management (BPM), doesn’t it? If you’re confused, don’t worry—we’ll explain the nuances of both terms below.
BPM vs. TCM
The term BPM is generally used in reference to the automation of document-centric business processes, such as:
- Case management
- Claims processing
- Contract management
- Correspondence support
- Invoice processing
- Purchase order management
- Sales order and material processing
However, the term TCM is a little more precise, since BPM has historically encompassed three different areas:
- Document-centric processes. Business processes that involve the review and approval of documents.
- Human-centric processes. Business processes carried out by people. These can be document driven, although they are not necessarily so.
- Integration- or system-centric processes. Business processes carried out when data is transmitted between systems (from an ERP system to an accounting system, for example)—or within one system.
In addition, where BPM focuses on the process (how things move from point A to point B), TCM focuses more on the people involved and the end result of the process—the approved invoice, the renewed contract, the benefit claim that’s been denied.
TCM, in other words, is more about the transaction than the process. It’s not about how things move, but what (content) is moving.
Whatever you call your organization’s methodology for handling transactional content, finding an ECM system that can automate document-driven processes is an . It accelerates processing, improves employee efficiency and increases management’s visibility into what’s going on.
Transactional Content Management in Action
Case Management: Wichita Falls, TX, uses ECM to automate the case management process for its court system. For example, if a case file needs to be reviewed by a judge, a court clerk will update a metadata field in the case file, triggering the system to move it to a review folder and notifying the judge by email that the file requires attention.
“Laserfiche is great because it saves time, cuts costs and leaves very little room for mistakes by end users. They tell me it’s like magic, because the workflows basically do all their work for them,” says Patrick Gray, Systems Applications Analyst II at Wichita Falls.
Accounts Payable: The California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office processes roughly 1,000 invoices a month. With ECM, an invoice is scanned into the system and routed to an approver, who is alerted by email that a document is waiting. Once action is taken, the system “stamps” the document, detailing who has taken action and when. It’s then routed back to an AP technician. The system’s batch processing tool extracts index field data from the invoice, entering it into PeopleSoft and eliminating the need for technicians to re-key the data.
This has speeded up the approval process and eliminated the potential of misplaced documents, says Lauri Reilly, Accounts Payable Manager at the CSU Chancellor’s Office.
Contract Management: The Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, which operates two casinos, a movie theater, a number of gas stations, a Subway franchise and a wastewater management facility, uses ECM to manage the 500 annual contracts that keep these businesses in business. According to Lance Dutcher, the Corporate Commission’s Systems Engineer, “Most of our documents are now routed within three days or less, instead of weeks and in some cases months.
“We used to have an administrator at each location distribute paper copies for signatures that were faxed—and sometimes re-faxed if they weren’t legible. Now the documents are emailed to a single contract administrator, who [imports] them into Laserfiche, and the contract is automatically routed for approval. Upper management can review contracts from anywhere using [the web]. We’ve been able to have 12 people at different properties sign a document in less than 90 minutes.”