Social Collaboration The future of information management


More and more companies recognize the signs of the times: They rely on digital DMS or ECM solutions and thus achieve efficient management of documents and information. However, advancing digitization is also increasing the importance of modern forms of communication such as chats, instant messaging or microblogs in the context of internal and external cooperation in companies. Innovative enterprise information management systems (EIM) take up exactly this development.

Our private communication behavior has long been digitized to a large extent: We store data in the cloud, exchange links in social networks and keep in touch with friends via messaging services. The adaptation of modern communication mechanisms also offers a lot of potential for process optimization in day-to-day business. In times of increasingly globalized economic contexts, the direct, cross-departmental and cross-location networking of project teams or experts from different specialist departments on the basis of modern communication technologies can be a decisive criterion for success.

But effective social collaboration in most companies is still nothing more than a dream. The reason: The availability of process-relevant information is insufficient.

Interlocking collaboration with ECM

Many providers of enterprise content management (ECM) or document management systems (DMS) have reacted to these developments in recent years by integrating collaborative features into their solutions. Alternative forms of communication such as microblogs, social intranets, chat and comment functions or holistic unified communications platforms have found their way into the internal communication of companies.

A central problem here: Suitable solutions that combine the functionalities necessary for effective social collaboration with those of the established ECM system are not yet available in a satisfactory form.

Media boundaries, for example between e-mails, DMS workflows and collaboration tools, still exist. As a result, the required data are often not under their own control, or only to a limited extent, and there is no specific link to the business processes. As a rule, despite the existing platforms and tools, email remains the preferred communication channel. However, this reaches its limits when a larger group of employees is supposed to influence a process – a problem that software manufacturers are still grappling with intensively.

EIM: tomorrow’s information management

The consequence is the trend towards more flexible information management, which is more and more often summarized under the acronym EIM (Enterprise Information Management). This concept of the universal data hub takes up functions from the preliminary stages of the DMS and ECM and expands them in a targeted manner. This opens up new opportunities for those involved: They can communicate topic and process-related along the entire value chain – internally and externally.

The holistic processes of a company move more into focus with this form of information management. It is important to control all digital information sources of a company by key word or topic and to be able to provide content for further use. This must be possible regardless of file formats and storage locations.

The balance between security and transparency

For the implementation of such information and communication processes to be successful, however, a decisive hurdle must be overcome: The effective and secure management of authorizations must be in an appropriate relationship to the transparency and openness that are essential for social collaboration.

Corresponding information platforms available on the market offer users dynamic team spaces, for example, which enable employees in a project group to freely use certain folders while other colleagues cannot see them. Users can independently create dynamic group folders and maintain them. The main advantage is that documents within the team space can also be temporarily subject to other access authorizations.

This not only applies within the company, but also, if necessary, for suppliers or cooperation partners. The example shows: fences must be drawn in in the right places without hindering traffic. Only then can effective social collaboration in the company succeed.

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