Ding! That’s sound of a new email in my inbox with a scanned image attached. That image was originally created in the ERP system, printed, then scanned and emailed to me. Catch my drift? We live in a world where content is everywhere and it comes in all shapes and sizes, everything from emails to video to instant messages.  So how do we manage all the content?

We are all faced with content chaos in one scenario or another. We have hundreds of photos out in shared folders with no structure or method to our madness or we have 10,000 emails piling up in our inboxes with no easy way to manage them. In construction, we have heard it over and over again, “we have no easy way to capture our content and bring it into one central location.” If I receive an email and that email is important enough to be considered “a business record”, how can we ensure that it’s being saved and stored in a location where it can be easily searched later? Have you ever tried to search for an email that you know you received, but can’t remember who it was from – yet you know a change order for job 1000 was mentioned? Or maybe it’s a photo being taken from a mobile device in the field regarding a safety incident on the jobsite. How do we ensure that a photo is properly stored as a business record and easily searchable from the job and/or the incident?

Enterprise Content Management or ECM is becoming a growing requirement for construction organizations.  We have shifted from the traditional document management systems to enterprise wide content management, where the information assets are no longer originating only in paper form. Enterprise wide content management requires that the ECM system be able to integrate with ALL of our important business applications in order to truly become that single silo for content storage and access. I challenge you to count your content silos. Most construction organizations are supporting and maintaining at least 3 content silos today and that’s being conservative. Outlook, Shared Drives, hard copy files, ERP, Project Management, SharePoint and the list goes on.

As construction organizations position themselves for growth in this new economy, they continue looking for more ways to be productive. This means taking on more jobs with less or the same amount of resources.  ECM is one of the leading and most reliable technologies that organizations are considering.  Process efficiency and the ability to access content easily with anywhere access is crucial as more and more contractors continue to diversify in their work and expand their geographic footprint. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Lost time is never found.”  Having content at your fingerprints in a matter of seconds with technology like full text search, outlook integration and shared drive integration prove to be essential tools for your efficiency toolbox, ensuring that the organization’s ever increasing content is turned from chaos to structure.

As I personally reflect on the content chaos with my own information silos (Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Dropbox) I think to myself, I could really use an ECM solution to centralize my content. I mean, would it not be great to have one place to go to save all of this content and have it integrate with all of my other accounts? Contractors luckily no longer have to sit on the ECM bench; they can get in the game today.

Amy Green is a Vertical Marketing Manager with Viewpoint Construction Software and is an Enterprise Content Management Practitioner through the Association of Imaging and Information Management, AIIM. Amy has over 8 years of experience working in the ECM space for Construction, helping contractors see the benefits within their organizations for ECM and Business Process Automation.

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