Enterprise information management

Enterprise Information Management is a particular field of interest in the Information Technology and Management Consultancy area. It specializes in finding solutions for optimal use of information within organizations, for instance to support decision-making processes or day-to-day operations that require the availability of knowledge. It tries to overcome traditional IT-related barriers to managing information on an enterprise level.


Enterprise information management is the name for the field that combines business intelligence (BI) and enterprise content management (ECM). Enterprise information management (EIM) takes these two approaches to managing information one step further, in that it approaches the information management discussion from an enterprise perspective. Where BI and ECM respectively manage structured and unstructured information, EIM does not make this rather "technical" distinction. It approaches the management of information from the perspective of enterprise information strategy, based on the needs of information workers. ECM and BI in a sense choose a denominationalised approach, since they only cover part of the information within an organization. This results in a lack of available information during decision making processes, market analysis or procedure definition..


The current market demonstrates two clear and distinct approaches to EIM. The first (and most applied) one is where a separate disclosure layer is put over the sub-solutions ECM and BI. The rise of Microsoft Sharepoint 2007 with the information worker paradigm has caused an acceleration of the acceptance of these kinds of solutions. Information workers in their daily activities need access to both data (structured) and content (unstructured), as far as their role and responsibilities give them the appropriate rights. Portal solutions offer possibilities to organize the access to different subsystems, including authorization management. Also, portal solutions offer ways to work together on information products in an online environment (collaboration). Processes can be organized and managed (Business Process Management or workflow).

The other approach is found in large platform vendors that offer integrated solutions for both BI and ECM. The market shows signs of these platform vendors moving in this direction, but reality is that although vendors like IBM, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, SAP AG and EMC are making progress, they still have a long way to go. From their respective backgrounds, they each cover parts of the EIM portfolio, but in specific areas such as security, analytics or process management lack essential components. Gartner is one of the analyst firms paying specific attention to EIM and the progress vendors are making in this field.

There are also software companies that provide applications for ECMs. Solutions such as Document Image Viewers, from LEAD Technologies, MS Technology, and Accusoft; workflows from such companies as Office Gemini, SpringCM, and docAssist. There are also several companies that provide plugins for ECMs. All which companies choose to use to enhance the functions and features of their ECM solution.


* [http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/Excerpt/0,7211,38472,00.html | Forrester on EIM]
* [http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc_cd=140884 | Gartner on EIM]

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