In our last post entitled: “The Three Key Things to Managing Content” Victor covered the “manage” phase of the Electronic Content Management process. As a quick recap, in our earlier posts we wrote about a simple way to define ECM and the capture phase of ECM process. In this post I’m going to cover the third phase of the ECM process: “store”.
Up till now we’ve been describing what one might call the front end of the ECM process. It’s pretty much the information that you receive and send in the form of documents and electronically on a day to day basis.
From an ECM perspective this content is captured and managed using processes and technologies in the form of scanning machines and software that categorizes the content so that it can be easily accessed by those who need it.
Storing this content is critical so it can be easily saved and accessed in order to improve productivity in key areas of your business including accounts payable, your mailroom and perhaps for compliance purposes.
As is the case with the manage phase, the store phase also has three key buckets and they are: Repositories, Library Services and Technologies.
A repository is simply a container where information and content is stored. It can be a file folder on your computer, a database with accounting information in it, an ecommerce system etc.
So where’s the iPod fit in? When the latest album by Lady Gaga comes out, Apple makes it available through iTunes for purchase. The song files for that album are stored in a database that you access and purchase using Apple’s online ordering system. The songs are then downloaded and filed under “Albums” on you iPod. Apple’s music database, their ordering system and your “Albums” folder are all repositories.
You’ll hear terms like data warehouse, data stores, document and information warehouses and names for various systems that act as containers where content and information is managed and stored. These are just terms for various types of things that contain and help organize and access your information and content.
The next bucket in store process is “library services”. Library services acts as the bridge or interface from the front end of the ECM process where content is being captured and managed to the back end of the process where it is being stored, archived and retrieved.
Apple’s iTunes is a form of library service because it provides you with an interface where you can access content for sale, content you’ve purchased, and content you’ve captured yourself. It acts as the digital switchboard that connects you, the user, to the content that is stored in various repositories.
The iTunes system knows what you’ve purchased including songs, albums, T.V. episodes, audiobooks and feature films. It also knows what you’ve captured such as photos & videos (taken from your iPhone for example). And finally, it provides you with direct access to Apple’s library of content.
It also enables you to sync and store your content on your computer, iPod, iPhone and iPad. And of course, iTunes ensures you comply with any digital rights and licensing restrictions that are in place for a particular piece of content.
There’s more to Library Services than this simple comparison to iTunes, but hopefully it gives you a frame of reference that is useful.
The best way to describe technologies is to think in terms of the computer or device you are using right now to read this post.The hard disk in your computer is a type of storage technology. The content you save is stored locally on your hard drive. You may back it up to another storage device which could be another computer or a server etc.
What you see in the picture montage above are various technologies including (in clockwise rotation) an optical hard disk drive, an EMC network attached storage system, a data center and the new Apple iPad (iPad picture source). All can be used to store content.
The “storage” phase of the ECM process includes repositories which are containers of content, library services which acts as an interface to/for content and technologies which include the hardware and software required to save and keep your content.
I hope this post and our ECM 101 series provides you a good overview of what ECM is all about. If you have thoughts you’d like to share regarding this post and the store process please leave a comment below or contact me directly via Linkedin or our contact usform.
Alfredo De Vanna is CTO of Yakidoo. He has over 10 years of international experience deploying over 80 critical information technology and enterprise content management systems. He is fluent in English and Spanish.