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It's not a matter of IF SMEs need to digitise, it's HOW. Small to medium-size businesses are tapping into the latest digital trends to evolve and give them the competitive edge. With 25-45% of job tasks being automated by 2030 in Australia, consideration for digital transformation strategies like implementing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) for small businesses should be given to ensure stability and growth into the future.

Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are making inroads to helping SMEs maintain profits. AI, along with 5G and faster wifi, are all helping SMEs to improve service offerings, generate new revenue streams, optimise processes and improve decision making. ECM is not being left behind, systems are now leveraging the benefits of evolving technology to become a key strategic tool for small to medium size businesses. 

Once an ECM system is implemented, SMEs can experience immediate improvements in efficiency and data security as well as a measurable reduction in costs. In fact, many SMEs will wonder how they ever did business without their ECM system. 

Typically an enterprise content management for small businesses will handle your company's content, whether that's regular text documents or image, video and audio files. ECM will allow your employees to record, manage, file, archive, handle or retrieve documents and content easily and accurately. 

An ECM system will improve efficiency and productivity, strengthen security, cut costs and, overall, make dealing with documents in your business quicker, easier and more effective. Let's find out more:

Increased productivity

ECM puts the right information, at the right time, at the fingertips of those who need it. It also uses workflows to automate repetitive, routine and low-value tasks, freeing up time and resources to perform higher-value work. With most occupations having the potential to automate at least a third of their activities, enterprise content management is helping small businesses streamline their processes to ensure employees are as productive as possible.

Aside from efficiencies in workflow automation, an ECM solution also gives flexibility when it comes to where and when employees work. On-the-go productivity is assured with employees being able to access the same documents and content from a mobile device as their office desktop computer. 

Improved security

No matter your SME's security policies and processes, ECM can help you manage and implement them. With the bonus of automatic logging, recording and the ability to pull up data for auditing, an ECM solution is data security's new best friend. 

ECM centralises and secures sensitive documents with easily set permissions. This prevents employees needing to send documents, minimising the risk of a serious data breach. It also reduces the chances of an unintentional error or malicious action. 

Thanks to your ECM solution's backup, archive, secure storage and disaster recovery process, you are also protecting business continuity. 

Cost efficiencies

On a physical level, an ECM solution will allow your SME to cut storage and archive costs by moving materials to electronic formats. On a data storage level, an ECM will also reduce your digital storage costs by allowing you to store what is required and ditching the rest.

Aside from storage, the improved decision-making processes enabled by ECM will make your SME more efficient, cutting down on costs and allowing you to jump on new opportunities without delay. 

An ECM solution will let you pay for just the users who need access, no need to pay for those employees who don't need access (we're looking at you, Intern Isaac who is only around for the school holidays). 

Easy access, simple searching and better document organisation

We've all fallen down the rabbit hole, where a seemingly small and innocuous task suddenly takes up a huge chunk of your day. Whether it's digging through your 'sent' messages on email, finding the minutes from last year's board meeting or looking for the one datapoint you need to complete your task, ECM can help. 

ECM boosts productivity by easily searching for and retrieving documentation, beating out disorganised digital document storage and dredging old-school paper storage systems. 

With ECM, all of your content is automatically organised and naming conventions easily standardised - no more all office emails about the new file name conventions. 

ECM digitally stores your documentation allowing those with the right permissions to access content from anywhere and from any approved device. Not only is this great for staff productivity and collaboration, but it's also essential for good customer service. 

With the average employee spending almost two hours a day gathering and searching for information, fast efficient content retrieval provided by ECM is the gold standard in employee efficiency. 

Content will always be at the heart of an SME, and ECM will allow your business to leverage the data within, all while remaining regulatorily compliant. As the way we work changes and employees become more mobile, your ECM solution should evolve with you, allowing fast and easy access to the right documentation whenever and wherever your team needs it. 

A new ECM will change how people work and affect the way documents are managed right across your organisation. It's not an easy or quick decision to make, but our Enterprise Content Management Checklist will help you consider your options and identify the right ECM to meet your business needs.