What is ECM?

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) enables organizations to save time and money by efficiently managing documents and information. Through the use of robust back-end technology, it allows structured information to be easily defined and shared across multiple departments or teams.

According to MarketsAndMarkets, the market size of ECM is expected to grow from $24 Billion in 2015 to $59 Billion by 2020.

$24 Billion

market size in 2015

$59 Billion

market size in 2020

ECM helps organizations digitize documents and automate document-driven processes, allowing the right people to access the right information at the right time. In particular, these processes include:

  • Instant Document Capture

    Managing an organization’s content begins with document capture—the process of importing all your information into a digital repository.

  • Automation of business processes.

    With digital automation, organizations can easily diagram the steps of a business process and automatically route documents to the right people at the right time.

  • Secure Document Storage

    With robust ECM systems, organizations can easily store business-critical documents in a digital repository, and instantly view or make edits to them.

  • Granular Document Security

    Take control of information across the enterprise by restricting access to folders, documents, fields, annotations and other granular document properties.

  • Full-Text Search and Retrieval

    Instantly find documents by identifying specific words or phrases within their text, metadata, annotations and entry names.

  • Digitally capture, route and approve forms.

    Replace paper forms with electronic forms to digitally capture information and share it across the organization.

Download the Enterprise Content Management Buyer's Guide

Who Uses ECM?

In recent years ECM has become increasingly important and complex due to financial fraud and data breaches, which have resulted in more regulation. In fact, International Data Corporation (IDC) is projecting a 50x growth rate in digital content from 2010 to 2020. Therefore, organizations that can automate and organize document-driven processes will not only have a business advantage, but also reduce compliance risk.

ECM can provide a comprehensive solution for the entire document management lifecycle, so it’s especially valuable for IT professionals and business managers.

IT assumes a more valued role in the organization by replacing information silos with a central point of control. By offering standard ECM tools that individual departments can customize, IT gains a better and more cost-efficient grasp over software and hardware maintenance.

Business managers can evaluate efficiency in departments without putting work on hold. Information collected by ECM software shows who is editing or viewing each document, how long each person takes to review documents and who is responsible for tasks related to each document.

Heifer International Streamlined its Field Operations in Developing Countries

See how Heifer transformed its document management process using Laserfiche.

What are Common Features?

Features of ECM include business process automation, document management, records management, workflow, capture, forms and information security.

A fully functioning ECM system can streamline access to documents, allowing organizations to eliminate redundancy and minimize operational overhead.

An example of the Laserfiche digital document management file system interface

What is the Value and ROI of ECM?

Improvement in processing invoices

Lower cost of processing an expense report

With ECM, organizations can recapture lost hours, reduce overhead expenses, increase profitability and improve client service.

The average cost of processing an invoice in an environment with a low level of automation can be up to 20-times greater than in an environment with a high level of automation.

The average cost of processing an expense report in an environment with a high level of automation is 39% Lower than in an environment with a low level of automation. For an organization processing 1,000 expense reports monthly, that’s an annual savings of $97,680.

Organizations can gain rapid ROI from an ECM system by investing in robust ECM software, computing and network technologies, process integration, training and shared services. In any ECM implementation, the goal is to scale the solution to your organization’s needs. Download our ROI Guide for ECM to calculate your organizations potential cost savings.


Centralize Content and Optimize Costs


Eliminate Busywork to Save Time and Resources


Streamline Operations and Drive Innovation

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