When it comes to document management and content management, there is often a fair bit of confusion as to what each one is all about. On the surface, these both look very much alike. Both focus on information, both are done through specialised software and both require processes and basic training. How do you know which is which, and even beyond that, how do you know which option is best for your company? The quick answer to this question lies in the type of information that is managed. In the case of document management, the main forms of data comprise specific file types such as MS Word, spreadsheets, slide presentations, PDFs and even note documents. This data is controlled and kept secure online throughout each document’s life span. Content management on the other hand, while also dealing with data, focuses on the organisation of raw data in the form of a variety of sources. These sources could include anything and everything from Flash files to code, audio files and video files. It is a subtle difference, but one that makes all the difference to the processes that govern both content and document management. The differences go a lot deeper than that too…
Document Management versus Content Management
Taking a closer look, we can begin to see some other differences between these two data control practices. Some qualities of document control include the following:
- Aims to help companies manage documents in compatible document type files;
- Every bit of data comes in the form of a document that is fairly big and self-contained;
- There are not usually many (or any) links between documents;
- Actionable features include somewhat limited steps, such as check-in, edit, remove, add or approve.
Content management has its own set of qualities and processes. These include the following:
- Aims to manage smaller, connected bits of data such as website pages;
- Every data unit (or page, using the example of a website) is defined by its location on the website;
- It is possible to cross-link between different pages;
- The main actionable features include page creation and editing, with integration between content creation and content storage.
In the move towards a simpler, safer and more organised way to store and manage data, both of these solutions have benefits. Depending on your specific needs however, you may find that document control provides just as much use as content management.