Businesses produce vast amounts of content. One study found that the average knowledge worker creates 44 paper and electronic documents every single week. Times this by hundreds of employees, and organizing output becomes a serious challenge.
Enterprise content management systems can help. They let you store and organize documents in a way that is accessible to those who need it, throughout the content lifecycle.
In this article, I will discuss the different types of enterprise content management systems, and then introduce ten of the best.
What do I look for when I select the top enterprise content management systems? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): A good UI makes the software easy to use. This is essential because non-technical people throughout your organization rely on it.
- Usability: Content management software is designed to make it easy for employees to access the content they need.
- Integrations: Content management software typically integrates with content creation tools, cloud storage platforms, and productivity tools. Make sure the one you choose works with the other software you use.
- Value for Money: Enterprise content tools are high ticket items. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t offer value for money. I think all the tools on this list offer value for the right business. Most tools offer pricing on request, but you can get an idea of general costs here.
Enterprise Content Management Software: Key Features
- Document Management: Document management features help you organize files. Features to look out for include automatic tagging, powerful search, results filtering, and permissions management. Tools should store electronic files and enable the digitization of paper files.
- Digital Asset Management: The software’s management features should stretch to video and images. Look for the ability to upload large files, edit or comment on the go, automatically tag content, and share assets with third parties.
- Workflow Automation: Workflow automation handles tasks, so you don’t have to. In enterprise content management software, this could mean automatically categorizing files, applying content management or compliance rules, or enabling you to publish content on multiple platforms with a single click.
- Content Archiving: Content archiving means keeping a record of all your digital content. Content management software should come with the storage and management features to make archiving and retention possible.
- Metadata Management Tools: Consistent metadata best practices help organize content. Content management software typically has tools that help you standardize metadata management.
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Monday is a flexible platform that lets you build tools for multiple use cases, including content management. The tool has several customizable templates teams can use, each with different specialized features.
The content planning template lets you create entries for each piece of content and then add crucial information such as the word count, who will write it, and the content category. Meanwhile, the content calendar helps you manage the publication of this content.
The great thing about Monday is that these templates are highly customizable. You can add or remove capabilities to help with the planning process. You can also view the content in multiple ways including as a spreadsheet, in a calendar, or as a Gantt chart.
The tool integrates with plenty of productivity, cloud storage, and content creation tools—for example, DropBox, Google Drive, and Adobe Creative Cloud. Monday pricing starts at $6 per seat per month, and you can try each plan for free.
Wrike is a project management tool that helps you create workflows for various tasks, including content management. The tool has templates you can use to start with, and it’s easy to adapt these to your needs.
The editorial calendar template is the most useful for managing content. Use it to plan content and then define each step in the creation process so your entire team can see where each post is at. You can view this data in multiple ways, including a calendar view that is great for ensuring you deliver content on time.
Wrike integrates with plenty of other tools for advanced content management features. A good example of this is that you can attach Google Docs directly to a Wrike task, making it easy for all collaborators to work on the related content.
The tool also integrates with MediaValet, OneDrive, Adobe Creative Cloud, and many other business tools. Pricing starts at $9.80 per user per month, while the complete plan is $24.80 per user per month.
Box is an ECM solution that lets businesses store and share all their files: from multimedia to documents. It has features that enable real-time collaboration and powerful search that helps team members access what they need.
The tool stands out due to its security and compliance features. You have granular access to permission controls to set precisely who can view each file. You can also label files as classified to restrict downloads and add watermarks.
Box Shield is perhaps the most powerful security feature. It is a security platform that has malware detection, the ability to spot compromised accounts, and tools that automatically classify sensitive data.
Box integrates with over 1,500 apps, including Office365, Google Workspace, Slack, Salesforce, and Netsuite ERP. Pricing starts at $20 per user per month and goes up to $47 per user per month for the complete offering.
OpenText Enterprise Content Management software helps businesses store, organize, share, and access all their documents.
It comes with intuitive tools to enable content creation and collaboration. For example, the Microsoft integration lets users work and collaborate within Microsoft Office apps while ensuring the files stay connected to the OpenText platform. It also has document capture features that let you store both electronic and paper documents.
Compliance is an issue for enterprises that store content, and OpenText has several features to help. For example, governance policies and content management best practices are automatically applied to information as it is created. It also has records management features to help you comply with external regulations and your company’s internal policy.
OpenText integrates with many other business applications like Microsoft, Salesforce CRM, and SAP. The company doesn’t publicize pricing. But you can contact the sales team on the website to find out more.
Alfresco is a powerful open-source ECM system. It enables anyone in your business to upload and share files, including images, videos, PDFs, and documents with others. You can even scan and upload paper files to create a record of non-digital documents.
The tool has powerful search features. Access the search bar from within the workspace and then filter the results based on several criteria to find the exact content you need. Meanwhile, you can easily set permissions for documents and folders to ensure only the right people can see files, libraries, and folders.
The tool’s most useful integrations are with Google Docs and Microsoft365. These allow you to use each service’s powerful document editing functionality while keeping the content stored in Alfresco. It makes file sharing and collaborating on content in real-time easy.
Pricing depends on your needs and you can contact the company for more information. Alfresco offers a free 14 day trial of the cloud-based platform or a 30 day trial of the downloadable software.
Contentful is a content platform that helps you manage unstructured content and publish it across multiple channels.
The way it works is that you connect your website, mobile app, or any other platform that displays content to the Contentful API. You then upload, create, and edit the content you want to publish within Contentful. When it’s ready to go live, you push the content from Contentful to the relevant platforms.
The benefit is that you only have to create the content once, rather than creating or repurposing one piece of content for different channels. And any changes you make to the content once it is live are reflected across all published channels.
Contentful has several tools that make this easy to do. The editor is easy to use and multiple people can collaborate on a single piece of content. Then there’s the preview that lets you see what content will look like on each platform before publishing. There are also tools for managing and organizing video, images, and other multimedia brand assets.
Contentful integrates with plenty of tools. For example, you can use Netlify to build and preview sites, Dropbox to share files, and Slack to be alerted to content changes. There’s a free version of Contentful you can use to test out the software. Prices for paid plans start at $489 per month.
Bluescape is a SaaS online collaboration space that helps teams bring their ideas to life. It’s ideal for remote or distributed teams as it helps provide a similar experience to an in-person meeting.
The way it works is that you start with a digital space anyone in your team can access. Employees can then add content from various sources, including cloud storage solutions like Google Drive and DropBox, and creation platforms like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.
Anyone with access to the space can comment on, edit, or discuss the files. Features such as diagraming tools, sketching, and shapes make collaborating and sharing ideas easy. And you can do all this while in a video call to emulate the feeling of a real meeting.
Bluescape pricing starts at $10 per user per month for unlimited workspaces. The business plan costs $20 per user per month and is suitable for teams that require enterprise integrations.
Kontent is a headless CMS that lets teams create, store, and collaborate on content for multiple end destinations.
In practice, this means that each piece of content—whether text, image, or video—is created separately. Then teams can push this content to the places they want in a way that makes sense on that platform, be it a website, mobile app, digital display, or any other place where content is published.
Kontent has plenty of features that make this possible. For example, you can upload and manage all your content in a single repository. From here, your team can collaborate on designs and take advantage of the built-in editorial calendar.
It’s also easy to categorize and manage content in ways that make sense. And there’s a WYSIWYG web page creation tool that lets you design pages as you want them.
Kontent pricing starts at $1,249 per month for a single project with up to ten users. The premium plan is $2,499 and adds more features and users. There’s also a trial that lets you try out the platform for free.
Sanity is a customizable content management system. It helps you manage your multimedia and text in an editing environment that your developers set up and configure to your exact needs. You can then publish the content to connected platforms.
The tool has plenty of options for developers to help them create the exact processes needed to drive content production forward. While the content creation platform is simple enough for non-technical content creators to use without issue.
Sanity has a free solution for up to three users. After this, extra users are $10 per month. Other plans start at $99 per project per month.
Bynder is rooted in a digital asset management (DAM) platform for creative workflows that has evolved to encompass brand guidelines, digital templates, and asset analytics to keep projects moving smoothly. Bynder can help you manage assets like images and videos, scale and automate tedious creative processes, digitize and secure brand guidelines, create print-ready items, and integrate seamlessly with your current tech stack.
Enterprise content management requires many moving parts, not the least of which is a durable, scalable, and searchable DAM system for all your corporate images, logos, fonts, style guides, marketing graphics, brochures, and banners. You'll be able to collaborate, proof, approve, distribute, and test all your creative assets in one place.
Bynder integrates with Salesforce Marketplace, SAP Commercial Cloud, Contentful, Drupal, Wrike, inriver, Adobe CC Connect, Wordpress. Salesify, Getty Images, Stackla, Optimizely, Akeno, Figmage, Highspot, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Canva, Adobe products, Shutterstock, and other creative and workflow-oriented tools.
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Here are a few more tools that didn’t make the top list.
- DocStar – In-cloud or on-premises document management solution.
- Contentstack – Headless CMS to create and manage content.
- Bynder – Digital asset management platform with collaboration tools.
- IBM Filenet – Cloud content management system for organization, collaboration, and process automation
- WoodWing Studio – Digital asset management plus multi-channel publishing.
- Paperflite – Document management software with advanced sharing tools.
- Imagen – Securely organize digital media.
- DOCUBASE – Collect, store, and share media in any format.
- Systemware Content Cloud – Content management with on-site deployment.
- Agility CMS – User-friendly headless CMS.
- Nuxeo Content Services Platform – Low-code enterprise content management platform.
- Umbraco CMS – Flexible website CMS.
- Dokmee ECM – ECM with automated workflows and powerful management features.
- Tizra – Build an online content library to maximize your existing content.
- ELO ECM Suite – Digitize business content and connect to a suite of enterprise integrations.
- Hyland’s OnBase – Enterprise content management with case management and business process features.
- Laserfiche – Capture, organize, and automatically index documents to make content available throughout your organization.
- Microsoft Sharepoint – Team intranets designed to share and manage content and knowledge.
Wait—what is enterprise content management?
Enterprise content management software are the tools that help you manage your organization’s content. Content can be anything from text documents and spreadsheets to multimedia assets like video and images.
The goal of these tools is to provide instant content access to people in your organization who need it. They often also enable people to work and collaborate on documents in real time. This ultimately helps teams that rely on content work more efficiently.
And it’s not just used by businesses that you would typically associate with content creation. All large enterprises use content somehow, from governments to those in healthcare, law, education, and financial services.
Top 3 Benefits of Enterprise Content Management Software:
1: Improved productivity
Enterprise content management software improves content access, which in turn improves productivity. It ensures that everyone in an organization who benefits from access to content can get it whenever and wherever they need it.
2: Streamlined document organization
ECM platforms typically come with advanced document organization features. This may include automatic document tagging, version controls, and the ability to share files across teams and departments. This combines with powerful search features to make finding the right document a breeze.
3: More intuitive collaboration
Many document management tools enable collaboration and real-time document editing. This achieves two things: first is that it makes working on documents and files easy. Second is that version control means you always end up with a single file representing the most up-to-date content.
ECM Tools Help Organize Content Effectively
The tools on the list are some of the best enterprise content management software available. Using one will help you organize content so teams throughout your business stay productive.
If you need more help managing your content (or managing projects using a enterprise PM framework), we have plenty of resources available.
This workshop goes through all you need to know about using content models to unify teams and stakeholders.
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