As I understand it, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a system of methods and strategies relating to managing and delivering documents and content in support of a business. This obviously goes beyond what the standard CMS does in a web or intranet setting, but what functionality does a CMS need to include to support Enterprise Content Management?

I know that many large organizations simply use Drupal (or even WordPress) as their CMS for their website(s). So is ECM a standalone system completely unrelated to web content management, or does a web developer need to pay care to a special set of concerns when it comes to developing or deploying a CMS for an enterprise organization?

Off the top of my head, the only requirement I can think of for a CMS to support ECM is to support complex permissions and allow a large number of users to update/manage content (e.g. employees at different levels and in different branches of the company). Is there anything else that we as web developers need to keep in mind?

  • This might want to be a community Wiki. – Metalshark Nov 14 '10 at 10:55

For ECM you'll also need to be able to create your own workflow, so for example, an article may need to go through one team into the next with check in/out points. This is the biggest difference, as in a normal web-only CMS the capture, management, storage and delivery stages have very little separation (you can do all four in one step as one person without bureaucracy).

You'll also need a support contract (not aware of anything "enterprise" that can avoid one) as you cannot use something like this, at the size of company which counts as enterprise (usually 1000 employees and above) without making sure there are safety nets and accountability.

You may also need to attach supporting documents which are never displayed, like model sign-offs against photographs used or internal documents that serve as information sources.

Finally the emphasis is different. A read through MIKE 2.0 will hopefully show that ECM is focussed around Knowledge Management and Archiving (you have the addition of DAM for instance), rather than Blogs, Feeds, News, Product Launches and other "Marketing" that Drupal/Wordpress focus on.

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