Embrace Metadata

10 Must-Read Tips for Selecting an ECM System. EMBRACE METADATA. Part 3 of 12.

02 EMBRACE METADATA

Embrace Metadata: Connect, Find, Protect and Store Information

In simplest terms, metadata is data about data — information attached to a file or document, the purpose of which is to define, describe and classify that file or document. With a metadata-driven approach to ECM, the following functions become easier to perform and manage:7

 

  • Information retrieval and consolidation
  • Information ownership and access rights
  • Information preservation and retention

 

In the world of network drives and traditional file storage taxonomy, users store documents and information in specific folders and subfolders. Inherently, this can be the silent cause of several fundamental challenges:

 

  1. Are files being saved in the correct location?
  1. If a file can be logically saved into a few different locations, how does the user choose which folder is best?

 

  1. Are files stored in a place where other contributors can easily locate them?
  1. Is there redundancy where the same file saved in multiple locations, possibly even by different users?

Information Retrieval

When we use metadata to classify information, users do not need to know where they are saving a piece of information or a document. The important thing is to know something about the information itself. Whenever data or documents are saved into the ECM system, they are tagged with metadata. This makes it easy to find the information you’re looking for because it’s the context — not the location — that matters.

 

From the user’s perspective, metadata enables information and documents to be found more efficiently because they can search for information in a way that suits them best.

 

Consider this simple example. A company has issued an invoice to XYZ Inc. detailing a purchase of 1,000 widgets. The Sales Manager needs to reference that invoice and searches by customer name — XYZ Inc. Meanwhile, the Shipping Manager has a box of 1,000 widgets for delivery, but he can’t recall the customer name and needs to reference the same invoice, so

he searches ”1,000 widgets.” Without metadata, it’s anyone’s guess if either (or both) will find the information they are looking for given that they are searching for the same document, each using different queries. When documents are tagged with the correct metadata, that single document can be found in multiple ways, rather than having to search several folders for a document.

Information Consolidation

Overlapping systems create problems. They are essentially islands of information stored in and supported by specialized — often redundant — applications and operations. With a

metadata-enabled ECM, an organization can consolidate information from disparate overlapping systems into one centralized, normalized repository. Consolidation is more than just connecting and enriching information across multiple systems. Consolidation and repackaging of information

means users find the single version of a file they need, rather than the same file with twenty different filenames.

Ownership, Access Rights, Preservation & Retention

A metadata-based ECM system enables permissions based on user roles so that, if necessary, the access rights to specific documents can be restricted. In such cases, permissions management is not based on a folder structure but on metadata. Dynamic access permissions are automatically created based on the user’s position in an organization. For example, the role of ”manager” enables the person to access information related to the manager’s subordinates. If the role changes, the access permission also changes automatically. You don’t have to worry about adding access rights to specific folders for a specific person separately as the access logic handles the permission changes. Additionally, it’s also possible to add access permissions along with editing and viewing rights for individual documents, if necessary.

 

Metadata-driven permissions and the associated audit trail and event log also help organizations prove that they follow the access control policies the organization has defined. Automatic notifications and updates reduce the risk of maintaining and accessing outdated documents, like old contracts. Notifications on outdated documents also make it easier to get rid of outdated information.

Published by M-Files

Published by M-Files

Focused on information management. Passionate about productivity.
M-Files intelligent information management solutions are disrupting the ECM market, named a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms. M-Files features a fundamentally new and unique approach that eliminates information silos by providing quick and easy access to the right data and content from any business system and device.

A Commitment to Customer Success
M-Files is a company grown out of one simple vision: that efficiently managing information is a widespread business problem—and that solving this common problem is vital to any business.

Contact Us for more details Tel: 011 568-4900

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