According to Aiim, The Global Community of Information Professionals, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization's unstructured information, wherever that information exists.

It's not enough to "manage" content. Of course, the ability to access the correct version of a document or record is important, but companies must go further. Content must be managed so that it is used to achieve business goals. Central to this strategy are the tools and technologies of ECM, which manage the complete lifecycle of content, birth to death. To drive understanding of these tools, this article highlights a typical process for a piece of content as well as four primary areas in which content, and ECM, is fundamental to the success of your company: Compliance, Collaboration, Continuity, and Cost.