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June 27, 2017

Content, Processes, and their Integration

Enterprises look to extract maximum value from their processes and content. About 90 percent of all information exists in an unstructured format, and it continues to grow and elude organizations. If you fail  to integrate content into your core business procedures such as plant maintenance, accounts payable, or purchasing, you only end up with labor-intensive processes, higher costs, and unhappy customers.

You need a system or application to manage unstructured and structured content more effectively. This should also facilitate collaboration and content storage. The system should also be capable of avoiding redundancies, minimizing information growth, and supporting regulatory compliance. Your enterprise efficiency hinges on how effectively you:

Manage content: How effectively can you link unstructured information such as documents, emails, social media feedback, invoices, purchase orders, and receipts to structured transactional processes that flow out of your ERP systems? You can do this by associating and linking the metadata of SAP business objects such as material, vendor, and contract to vendor qualification, requisitioning, order management and other processes. This can be carried out in a virtual business workspace in the content server. The hierarchical folder structure and role based access control make it easy to organize and secure information.

Manage records: How can you manage the content life cycle right from creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of electronic and physical records? You can configure the record management feature in ECM systems to plug into existing business processes, capture records directly from user interfaces, and assign appropriate retention schedules. Automatic record classification drives employee adoption. You can apply holds to suspend life cycles and prevent intentional or accidental deletion. From a compliance perspective, an audit trail can be maintained for all activities. While you plan for technology change, dont forget to include processes to capture and maintain evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.

Access the content: How can you make the content easily accessible from ERP systems such as SAP, Microsoft Office applications, email systems like Outlook or Lotus Notes with the right privileges? 360 degree integration is possible with products such as Extended ECM where content centric processes can be connected with metadata. Once the content server and SAP systems are connected, your employees can access content from SAP interfaces (SAP GUI, Netweaver portal). Out of the box connectors connect the content server with mail systems and other MS Office applications.

Promote collaboration: How can you enable your team to work efficiently by centralizing information and facilitating collaborative content sharing? You can do this by creating workflows in virtual workspaces and connecting them with a pre-defined folder structure. Pre-populated metadata, access control, versioning, check-in and check-out features, all help in document authoring and approval, and correspondence management.

When does your enterprise need an Extended Content Management solution?

  • Do you have problems managing the growing volume of unstructured content?
  • Does your leadership log into multiple applications to find business documents to make decisions?
  • Do your employees spend a great deal of time searching for content?
  • Is litigation/compliance an issue for your enterprise?
  • Is your decision making delayed or enterprise progress hampered because you dont have a collaboration solution?
  • Is there a need for records management on ERP or CRM content?

If your answer to most of the above questions is yes, its time to think seriously about having an Extended ECM system. Once you have made this decision, you must focus on implementation.

Opt fora phased approach to integrate your enterprise content with your transactional data. Start with a few key records in one or two departments and implement Records Management policies with Enterprise Resource Planning integration for the key business objectsof each department.

How can you make change successful across people and processes?

  • Ensure you have a sponsor for the program who will back you up on policies and procedure
  • Get a buy-in from enterprise users of ERP,CRM and content management systems
  • Connect the content enriched SAP business processes, relations, business objects, roles and policies with the content servers folder structure, documents and metadata to achieve stronger collaboration and life cycle management
  • Communicate with all stakeholders on time and periodically through proper channels
  • Deploy record officers for the respective departments
  • Align the project roll out as per the pre-decided maturity model mapping
  • Include domain, technical, and functional experts in your resource management plan

Meet us at OpenText Enterprise World 2017 from July 10 through July 13 in Toronto to find out more about how we can enable you to energize your enterprise for the digital future.


Chitra has close to two decades of experience in information technology with specific focus on enterprise content management. As OpenText CoE lead at TCS, Chitra is responsible for strengthening the OpenText content management practice across various industry verticals. She manages competency development, presales and business development, strengthening delivery bandwidth, and partnership for OpenText suite of products in TCS.


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