How Barcodes Can Transform Your Enterprise Content Management System
Information is critically important for organizations of all sizes, but it’s especially vital for large enterprises. Without access to accurate data, it can be difficult for separate departments to coordinate efforts or for leadership to make informed decisions. Important files can quickly be lost in a complex web of IT systems, some of which may not even be able to directly communicate with each other. Developers have worked hard to address these challenges by building content management platforms that integrate various technology resources into a single system and provide a primary source of digital information.
What Is an Enterprise Content Management System?
Today’s enterprises have massive amounts of information at their disposal. Much of that data, however, is scattered across the organization in different repositories, folders, archives, and file shares. A great deal of valuable insights could be found there, including information about customers, market trends, and product feedback, but so long as it remains spread across different locations, it can be difficult to access and view in totality.
Enterprise content management (ECM) systems help organizations to create a more workable structure for business knowledge. By implementing document automation and data capture tools, they can quickly assess and process information flowing into the enterprise to identify its value and route it to the proper destination.
A typical ECM system uses a few key steps when processing incoming information. These steps form the basis of the enterprise’s document or content lifecycle:
- Capture: First, the information needs to enter the system in some way. This usually takes the form of document files or images being uploaded into the ECM.
- Manage: Documents and other files need to be identified and labeled for accurate storage and easy access. Simply uploading content into the system without doing anything to organize it quickly results in content chaos.
- Storage: Whether the ECM utilizes physical, on-premises storage or cloud-based storage (or some combination of the two), the system needs to use a clearly defined structure when saving content so it can be easily located in the future. A database should contain all the necessary metadata to indicate where each file is stored.
- Retrieval: Without some way of easily retrieving the right information when it’s needed, an ECM system isn’t going to be able to reach its full potential. Stored documents and files need to be accessible quickly and easily so they can help to inform key business decisions.
Avoiding Content Chaos with Barcodes
Without some way of effectively tracking documents through an ECM, organizations can quickly fall prey to “content chaos,” in which there is an abundance of information available but no easy way to access the right content at the appropriate time. This can be particularly frustrating for an enterprise that already has effective data capture and file conversion capabilities in place because without an effective retrieval mechanism, a great deal of valuable information will often go unused or even unnoticed.
Fortunately, ECM developers can provide a simple solution to this problem by utilizing barcode recognition technology. Although barcodes have been a mainstay of inventory management for decades across many industries, they’re finding a new use case in document management systems.
Rather than manually indexing documents with alphanumeric account number strings, barcodes can be created and applied to documents at the point of capture and then automatically routed to the proper storage destination. Once the barcode is scanned, key information about the file is uploaded into the ECM database so it can be easily located and retrieved in the future.
Another key benefit of barcodes is their ability to link documents that need to be associated with one another as part of the same batch. When documents are captured and converted into a digital format, one or more barcodes can be assigned to them to indicate connections to other file types. That information will be uploaded into the ECM database when the barcodes are scanned, instantly creating a traceable record of where files are located.
This is especially important for situations where different information types could be stored in different locations. For instance, architectural drawings for a project may be stored in one location, but financial documents related to the same project may be stored elsewhere. When one of the files is accessed, the ECM’s database will indicate that there are related files in other locations and provide a link to them. This is particularly important for large enterprises with content spread across multiple departments that could easily be overlooked.
Build a Better Enterprise Content Management System with Barcode Xpress
Accusoft’s Barcode Xpress SDK provides powerful barcode support that’s designed to address the specific needs of document barcodes. While some software is oriented toward retail or supply chain applications, Barcode Xpress is optimized for document management, which makes it ideal for ECM systems. The SDK’s barcode reader can accurately locate and decode multiple barcodes on each page at incredibly high speeds.
With support for over 30 unique barcode types, Barcode Xpress provides tremendous flexibility when it comes to content management. Developers can also generate and detect both 1D and 2D barcodes to create a diverse content ecosystem within their ECM platform. Barcode Xpress can easily identify and recognize barcodes no matter where they’re located (and oriented) on the page. It can even accurately register incomplete barcodes from just a few intact lines.
To learn more about how Barcode Xpress can enhance your enterprise content management system, download our detailed fact sheet for a closer look at the barcode SDK’s capabilities.