Document management vs. content management: What is the difference?

Document_management_vs_content_management

Technology has reached a point where machines can do a lot of the thinking and doing for us – without us even realizing it. Globally, we use computer programs and software for capturing, processing, storing, and managing vast amounts of data on a daily basis. During these processes, we often hear the terms Document Management System (DMS) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM). These are sometimes used interchangeably, adding to the confusion, since they are very different. The best way to distinguish between the two is to remember that not all content is created equal.

Let’s define DMS and ECM

Content management: Enterprise Content Management (ECM) provides a centralized hub where documents and other information are stored and from where they can be managed and distributed as and when needed.
 
Document management: Document Management Software is a computer system designed to search and store electronic documents – and is housed inside the bigger realm of content management.

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Content is everything

Content refers to every piece of information or data that helps in the performance of daily activities in the organization. This data can be either generated by humans or computers and can be either structured (where document management resides) or unstructured – which includes everything and anything else. Try to see content as a massive library – everything from hi-tech digital files down to low-tech copies of a local newspaper, and every document in between.

Unstructured vs. structured data

The bulk of what is in this ‘library’ is unstructured data. Comprised of images, icons and infographics, branding, audio and video material, weather charts, social media content, emails – the list is near endless and hard to search and access without the correct system, making content management better suited to it.

Structured data, on the other hand, are mostly made up of numbers, letters, dates or currency, making it easily searchable and more suited to a document management approach.

The difference between ECM and DMS

Content Management

Document Management

- Can handle both unstructured
and structured data
- Better suited to deal with
unstructured data

- Best suited to deal with
structured data

Content

Documents

Mostly made up of
unstructured data:
- Branding
- Images
- Icons and infographics
- Emails
- Text files e.g.
presentations


Structured data:
- Documents

Difficult to search

Structured data



Usually text only:

- Alphabetical e.g. names,
surnames, descriptions
- Numerical: e.g. product,
bank account, or telephone
numbers
- Dates
- Currency

Easily searchable

Subsection of content


 
 

Getting access is key

Unstructured data is probably the most difficult to access and once inside the relevant library of the organization, can become near-impossible to find. When visiting a real-life library, the best person to ask for anything is the librarian. In the virtual library, the trick is to use the correct template and digital asset management system to gain access to the relevant data.

Download our free guide to see how template management fits into your ECM strategy:

The Definitive Guide to Template Management  Increase productivity when creating documents Download now 

This is where Templafy steps in – or rather gets to add-in

Templafy is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that can be used as a Microsoft Office add-in. It is a template and digital asset management system that provides easy access to business document templates, text snippets, images, logos, etc. inside the Microsoft Office suite and/or Google Docs. It is cloud-based and can be accessed by anyone in the company, even if they are at another office location or in another country. Users can create on-brand, compliant and consistent documents, presentations and emails without having to worry whether it is the correct or latest version.

Being versatile helps

The Templafy solution is versatile and integrates with document management systems like iManage, where users can organize, share and store their newly created on-brand documents, presentations, emails, etc. They can then quickly obtain information from one or several of these documents, and use that information in another, e.g., search for order numbers which can then be used to populate a new template.

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