Modern enterprises produce, receive, and manage a very large number of documents, such as textual documents, spreadsheets, images, and other types of multimedia content. These documents come from different sources (e.g., databases, enterprise applications, e-mails) and in diverse formats (e.g., Excel documents, PDF documents, various image formats). In most cases, they include unstructured information, which comprises, however, several pieces of useful knowledge. As such they must be treated as enterprise assets and used in proper ways that improve the efficiency of business processes and boost managerial decision making. Likewise, documents and other content items must be accessible by the right people at the right time.
Enterprise content management (ECM) systems address these challenges. They provide the means for managing the lifecycle of content items end-to-end i.e. they deal with their creation, approval, and distribution. ECM Systems centralize access to content by means of a secure repository. They also facilitate the streamlining of document access with other business processes, as a means of increasing productivity and reducing content processing costs. Furthermore, they facilitate knowledge workers to discover the documents they need and to extract enterprise knowledge from them.
Once upon a time enterprise content management processes relied on legacy databases. In recent years, the advent of cloud computing and BigData technologies has revolutionized ECM. Specifically, cloud computing facilitates on-demand access to the back-end services needed for managing and processing content. At the same time, BigData technologies facilitate the management of structured, unstructured, and semi-structured documents at scale. Cloud computing and BigData technologies have therefore given a significant boost to the capacity, performance, and scalability of ECM solutions, which are nowadays capable of managing the ever-growing volumes of enterprise content items. Furthermore, these technologies have also empowered the development and deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions, which are set to disrupt ECM in the years to come.
AI technologies provide a host of exciting possibilities for improving the automation, speed, intelligence, and usability of ECM solutions. Prominent examples of such technologies include:
With the above listed AI technologies at hand, ECM systems are gradually enhanced with the following AI functionalities:
The integration of advanced AI functionalities into ECM systems is coming soon in a theatre near you. It is destined to elevate enterprise productivity and to provide new opportunities for innovating in the way documents are created, accessed, and analyzed. Modern enterprises must therefore keep an eye on AI functionalities and their gradual integration in ECM products. This will enable them to get the most out of the emerging AI-based ECM platforms.
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