As one of the founders of Documentum, I have seen many different types of content management applications over the last 15 years, particularly in enterprise environments. Most are targeted at solving some major issues with large volumes of content to be handled manually. Some typical applications include:
* Compliance applications are used to conform to various rules, policies and regulations. Compliance applications ensure that processes are documented, materials are clearly marked and versioned, and usage is audited.
* Knowledge portals streamline the process of getting what experts in an enterprise have written into the hands of people who need that information regardless of where they are located. Knowledge portals provide search and browsing interfaces on relevant content for activities like competitive intelligence, sales and design.
* Collaborative content management tends to be project-oriented bring together a team of people focused on a common objective. Content uses a metaphor of a room, space or site is used to indicate that this is where the team meets and enhances content with communication, discussion and issue resolution.
* Document management is managing the content used in day-to-day business operations, particularly office documents. Typical documents managed are word processing documents, spread sheets, presentation and scanned documents.
* Web content management is the term most connected with content management, but is a small portion of an enterprise’s content requirements. Web content management has largely been commoditized by open source alternatives. However, special requirements of enterprise are re-use across many sites, support for corporate internets, B2B extranets, multi-lingual sites, media web sites, and digital rights management. and assets more effectively.
The growth and increasing complexity of these applications has fuelled
the enterprise content management industry to be one of the few classes of
enterprise software to have actually grown during the recession and over the
last five years. It has also led the major players of the industry, EMC
Documentum, IBM, Microsoft Sharepoint, Filenet, OpenText, Vignette and Interwoven
to acquire components they needed to address the previous applications.
Anything that was complementary to enterprise content management became part of
ECM through these acquisitions.
This consolidation has made the set of services that make up Enterprise Content Management large and comprehensive. AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) is trying to catalog and identify the most critical services that make up ECM as part of their IECM (Interoperable ECM) committee. (http://www.aiim.org/standards.asp?ID=29284) This work is just starting, but I have put together my list of services that I believe provides the coherence and interoperability of components and content in the context of content management at an enterprise level. These services include:
* Library Services, which is a catchall term for the basic content operations that differentiate content management from ordinary database management. Library services include basic access, store, check-in, check-out, locking, version control, managing meta-data, and organizing content into folder structures. Auditing of who accesses and updates information can be considered a part of library services.
* Organization Services provide classification schemes and taxonomies that allow information to be more easily browsed in multiple categories and to confine searches. The most basic form of organization is the use of folders to classify information.
* Search and retrieval encompasses full-text, metadata and category searches. Full-text has largely been defined by internet search vendors like Google, which have set users expectation on ease of use and speed.
* Collaboration services are relatively new and driven by the convergence of groupware into the same space as content management. Collaboration is generally team-focused and revolves around the commenting and annotation of content, project tracking, resource allocation, and issue tracking.
* Workflow services implement business processes and ensure smooth execution by providing workload balancing and tracking which tasks have been performed and which are overdue. Workflow services are currently undergoing significant change as the result of the industry standardizing on the BPEL4WS standard.
* Lifecycle services manage the long-term policies concerning and are crucial for enacting archiving and deletion policies of records management. They are also necessary for the control of visibility of content in process the industry generally calls effectivity.
* Security services control permissions on content that include simple read, write and delete to copying, printing, special properties access and delegation of ownership. Modern security services provide role-based access control lists with the ability to not only designate who can see content, but also exclude others from acting on content.
* Transform / Publish services converts content and content components into other formats and aggregates components into finished documents and web pages. Transformation is useful for creating web ready content from other formats.
* Events / Syndication services are for providing changes and updates of content in a repository and to allow users to subscribe to those changes. RSS is becoming a popular mechanism to provide those changes.
* High-Availability services bring to content management the ability to provide greater assurance of access and update of content and are provided through: backup and restore; provisioning of a hot standby; or replication to another site or system for closer geographic access or disaster recovery.
* Administration services provide a dashboard view and control panel for the active content management system; monitors the activities of content services; and ensures that they conform to the service levels required by the enterprise.