Collaboration is central to ECM and enables employees to dynamically work toward a common goal while capturing, storing, and archiving the content they produce. It is about openness and knowledge sharing. According to Hockman, collaboration further involves:
- • Awareness of documents that are shared between departments;
- • Communicating internal knowledge and experience;
- • Coming up with common search terminology that will be meaningful to different departments as indexing terms;
- • A shared vision for process improvement; and
- • Input from every department to encourage buy-in (Hockman, 2009).
Knowledge management is of increasing importance in modern organizations, and there are links between ECM and knowledge management. ECM implementation within organizations is underpinned by the idea and practice of information sharing. This enhances knowledge capture and knowledge transfer. While in the past knowledge has been retained in the heads of the employees, it is hoped that ECM will help organizations to retain it within the organization (Butler Group, 2004; MacMillan & Huff, 2009). Knowledge management is defined by Alavi and Leidner (2001, p. 113) as “referring to identifying and leveraging the collective knowledge in an organization to help an organization to compete.” They further argue that it promotes innovativeness and responsiveness.
System integration allows systems to “talk” to each other and eliminates information silos (Rockley et al., 2003). The management of information systems is crucial to business operations and access to accurate and timely information hinges on how well aligned systems are with business operations. The real value from information systems, according to Themistocleous, Irani, Kuljis, and Love (2004), is from the integration of disparate applications so that they can support processes across the whole value chain.
The life cycle information management
The life cycle of information has to be managed and this encompasses creation, management, review, distribution, storage, and eventual disposition of information and records (MacMillan & Huff, 2009).