In today’s market data is the most prized asset, but much depends on how it is used and how it is managed. An effective enterprise content management system (ECM) is the difference between a business using static ‘dumb’ data or one being able to leverage a true enterprise gem.

This is the view of executive management at CRS Technologies, a leading HR and HCM solutions and services provider.

Ian McAlister, General Manager of CRS Technologies, defines ECM as referring to the process, software and strategy related to the management of the life cycle of documents – including electronic and scanned documents/ images.

ECM is a key area of the digitisation process, a trend that now typifies modern business governance – particularly across emerging markets.

“Saving forests aside, when one converts paper to digital formats, it becomes an asset. Enterprise Content Management System is there to apply controls and manage access to an organisation’s electronic IP. It takes data from being ‘dumb’ or one dimensional to being a tool for productivity and the all-important bottom line,” says McAlister.

While the benefits of an effective ECM are clear – more secure documents, easier to find within the organisation, business continuity, and more cost effective for the business (and these advantages are relevant for all sized businesses including the multi-national enterprise), they are dependent on a well-configured management process.

“The trick is to manage the integration holistically,” McAlister continues. “Why is this relevant? It’s safe to say that digital is not going away. In fact, technology has transitioned from supporting business to being business. Content management underpins any digital transformation and has the power to link staff, suppliers and customers regardless of geographical location. From taking care of compliance issues, disaster recovery, cost, security and encryption, to simple time management – it’s a compelling argument.”

As with any system that is designed to enhance or transform mission-critical functions in the business, like HR and HCM, it makes sense to take the time to evaluate the requirements of the business and its technical direction, competency and dynamics before adoption and implementation.

CRS Technologies advises decision-makers to first determine if the organisation is suited to an onsite, public cloud or private cloud document management solution.

Security is a key consideration but functionality and staff mobility are important factors too, the company says.

“There are pros and cons to each approach but that’s where a vendor like CRS will guide you. Remember that it goes beyond technology and will require buy-in from users. Without the right mindset, the adoption rates will fall and the system will falter again, we’re on hand for pre- and post-integration training and support,” says McAlister.

Aspects like SLAs, contracts for privacy control, and consideration of how data is stored on public networks, are vitally important to strategy development and approach.