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Managing Electronic Records: Methods, Best Practices, and Technologies by Robert F. Williams, Robert F. Smallwood

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CHAPTER 4

Managing E–Documents and Records

This chapter provides an overview of the types of software applications that manage electronic documents and records to afford a basic understanding of the fundamentals of automating document–based business processes and records management.

Electronic documents and records can be managed by a few different types of software applications, which overlap in functionality, and are often implemented in more than one instance in an organization.

Enterprise Content Management

Enterprise content management (ECM) software (sometimes referred to as content management systems, or CMS) has the capability to manage the totality of an organization's content, from web content to internal e–documents, reports, and business records. So, when a document is rendered in various forms (e.g., web, electronic, print), only one file of the content is needed, and it is rendered consistently. This one file is kept up–to–date for access across departments or the entire enterprise.

ECM can manage all types of content in the enterprise as objects, although in practice its focus is on managing unstructured content, while databases manage structured content. Structured content consists of numbers in rows and columns that can be manipulated arithmetically in calculations. This data is primarily financial and is often used in financial reports and business intelligence (BI) applications. Unstructured content is everything else—and by most estimates accounts for over ...

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