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What Does “Extended ECM” Really Mean?

I may be in marketing, but I like to think that I am not prone to marketing-speak; however, I was recently giving a presentation when someone stopped me to say that “content in context” and “extended ECM” (Enterprise Content Management) sounded a lot like marketing buzzwords. While I see how someone new to the concepts might think that, they are actually pretty accurate descriptions and, I think, important ones. (Connie Moore at DCG does a good job explaining it in her recent blog post.)

Let’s start with “content in context.” This simply means that your unstructured information — documents, images, email, spreadsheets, etc. — is significantly more valuable when it’s viewed within the framework of whatever business process or object it relates to. For example, a contract on my hard drive includes the names of the parties involved, which tells me something, but it can’t tell me if it is the most recent version. Were there later addendums? What if the copy I have only has my signature? Did the other party sign it and I just never received the countersigned PDF? Without that context, the document is of limited value.

But if I can view that contract in, say, the context of a CRM application like Salesforce, the picture becomes clearer and that document becomes much more valuable. I can see notes on calls with the customer, who the key contacts are, and metadata like the status of the contract. There’s still a problem, though: If a version of the contract is also stored there, I still can’t tell if it’s the final version.

And this leads us to the idea of “extended ECM.” By integrating ECM into the lead applications that across the enterprise, you can bring ALL the relevant information and documents associated with this customer and present it in one convenient view (to use another marketing phrase: a single source of the truth). I finally have the complete picture and can view it all in an interface I’m comfortable working with (like Salesforce). In the screenshot below you can see the ECM content from OpenText™ Content Suite within the context of the Salesforce data.

Extended ECM for Salesforce

This also works for other customer documents, invoices, correspondence, documents about products or parts, and any other unstructured data that is relevant to the structured data in Salesforce. And Salesforce is just one example of extended ECM (this DCG paper has more information).

With OpenText™ Extended ECM Platform, organizations can extend Content Suite to virtually any lead application. I’m sure you can envision scenarios in your world related to BPM, ERP, CEM, HCM, SCM, and other information-generating business processes.

Want to learn more? Read the DCG paper.

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Christine Musil

Christine is in Product Marketing for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions.

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