We’ve frequently written how the industry analysts have renamed enterprise content management to content services on this blog. Frankly, we think that the old name worked as well as the old, but we like the emphasis on the transformational workflow that content services imply.
Over time, the concept of content services has been portioned into three types: archival, collaborative, and transactional. Transactional content, as the name suggests, directly relates to the case management content that businesses are working with daily. Collaborative content, on the other hand, has to do with all of those project-related documents that people are tracking to do their jobs actively. Please note that content can be both transactional and collaborative.
Archival content is probably the most shared content type. It refers to content that doesn’t necessarily have a short-term need, but the organization either wants to keep it or is mandated by law or to meet industry standards. For agencies, permanent records are considered archival content. As a matter of course, archival content that has been retired from ECM or rounded up from file shares is often stored in a Trusted System.
To successfully manage an archival system, a records management scheme should be in place so that content can be programmatically identified and categorized. Auto metadata classification tools such as Laserfiche Workflow are essential to that end as they can identify records, prevent duplicate content and version issues.
Collaborative content is created every day in the course of business. Usually, this content exists in systems that staff use to work with one another, such as email or slack, or CRM. Previously, both of these would have been handled by an enterprise content management system. In some cases, organizations divided up their processes based on the systems in which the content lies. However, in the content services approach, content type drives the collaborative method.
Additionally, one significant problem with collaborative content is that it is likely to be lost by its very nature. Think about the difficulty of collaboration via email and how frequently you are forced to quibble over versioning or backtrack through attachments. Staff is collaborating on so many different documents across so many systems that organizations don't really have a sense of what they have - let alone where it happens to be. Systems such as Laserfiche prevent inefficient storage and ineffective categorization resulting in a difficult-to-find mass of content.
Content service systems shine best when staff can work within a single system and access all the content they need. Most organizations process quite a bit of transactional content daily. Transactional content is made up of invoices, claims, purchase orders, case files, and contracts. In short, it’s all the documents, files, and forms that help organizations do business with their customer base, their vendors, and their partners.
Transactional process management (TCM) is more precise than traditional BPM. TCM is composed of document-centric processes, including reviewing and approving documents, human-centric processes like approvals carried out by people, and integration-centric processes carried out when data is transmitted from one system to another or within a single system. BPM focuses on a process, like routing a document from department A to department B, while the focus of TCM is on the people involved and the final result of the process, like the vacation request that’s been denied, an approved invoice, or a renewed contract. Both are useful yet different approaches for the way staff works.
Finally, it's essential to understand your options when picking the right content services and approach to meet your organization's needs. When implemented correctly, most employees shouldn't be interacting with multiple content services directly. They shouldn't have to use eight different systems to get work done on a single file. Instead, they should be working within the Laserfiche system.