Enterprise content management (ECM) is a set of defined processes that allow a corporation, agency or organization to obtain, organize, store and deliver information crucial to its operation in the most effective manner possible.

A primary goal of ECM is to eliminate ad hoc processes that can expose an organization to regulatory compliance risks and other potential problems. Full-function ECM systems include features such as document and records management, content taxonomies, auditing capabilities, check-in/check-out and other workflow controls and security mechanisms.

The purpose of each component can be briefly defined as follows:

Capture: Create, obtain and organize information.

Manage: Process, modify and employ information.

Store: Temporarily back up frequently changing information in the short term.

Preserve: Back up infrequently changing information in the medium and long term.

Deliver: Provide clients and end users with requested information.