Documents, records, and unstructured data of all types continue to proliferate, making it increasingly more difficult to locate and retrieve content. The evolving discipline of enterprise content management (ECM) is an integrative view that brings together concepts like data governance and data stewardship, practices such as document and record management, and work in such fields as thesaurus and ontology development to help tame the content chaos.
There are a number of practices and technologies that are used to manage content for the primary purposes of searching for, locating, and retrieving information. These systems can be viewed as a continuum from those that are simpler with less functionality, such as document imaging systems, to those that the more complex, such as electronic content management. At its simplest, document imaging is a system consisting of software and hardware that converts source documents to digital format. Systems that have mid-range functionality are electronic document management systems that automate the preparation, organization, tracking, and distribution of electronic documents. Systems and processes with high-end functionality are often referred to as content management systems. These more complex systems are able to move beyond categorization of documents and records to classifying content through the use of taxonomies, thesauri, and ontologies. Content management is the entirety of practices and technologies used to manage the lifecycle of content from creation, capture, or receipt through archiving and destruction. The content management roadmap must be aligned with the strategic objectives of the organization, support business process and stakeholder needs, and be framed within a data governance perspective.