Understanding Your Content

There is likely no single solution that will meet every organization’s content management needs. Each product has strengths in different areas, so it’s important to find the right tool to meet the right business objective. You need to understand your content and your objective(s) before you can pick the right product.

There are two main ways to look at your content:

Documents vs Records

Up until recently, this has been the traditional view of content. The term document encompasses paper, electronic forms and files, emails, faxes, contracts, leases, vendor communications, etc. A record is a document consciously retained as evidence of an action. Records are any of those documents that have been made final and are no longer meant to be altered. Some, but not all, documents within an organization become records. Record must be formally tracked using a file plan with retention schedules.

Business Content vs Transactional Content

This is the newest way of looking at enterprise content. This eliminates the confusion over what is a document and what is a record.

Business content typically originates inside the enterprise and is usually shared with external or internal stakeholders. It’s the documents, spreadsheets, emails, and multimedia content generated in the day-to-day workplace experience. It is often unstructured, although not always.

Transactional Content is process-related documents. Transactional content management supports long-running processes, such as accounts payable processing, with a high volume of generally static documents that demand scalability, life cycle control and human approval. Invoices, statements, purchase orders, claims, and applications are examples of transactional content. Content is most often in the form of scanned images, eforms, or pdfs. Most transactional content originates outside the organization, and is ingested through other systems such as SIS, ERP, or CRM.

Both types of content may exist concurrently. When identifying your requirements you may need to prioritize one over the other. If you are in doubt about which of your organization’s content is a record, contact UTARMS.

Content Characteristics

The following are some of the common characteristics of each content type. These are general characteristics only — it is possible for there to be overlap across the types.

Documents/ Business Content Records/ Transactional Content
Born digital (in Word, Excel etc.) Scanned documents
Originates inside the enterprise Originates outside the organization
Limited workflows (review and approve) Long-running, complex workflows
Simple permissions May require more granular or roles-based permissions
Shorter term focus Longer term focus
Informal retention **governance and cleanup still should be required Formal retention schedules
Content is in flux (changing, multiple versions) Content is static (not changed)