“Enterprise content management” or “ECM” refers to a type of content management that is suitable for large complex organization or “enterprise” application, typically including many types of content (e.g., documents, web content, digital assets), workflows, and integrations with other enterprise software applications. 

The term “enterprise content management” came into common use by 2000, and evolved from “enterprise document management” which was created as part of a successful marketing campaign by document management vendor Documentum. When Documentum added support for web content management they were able to successfully re-brand themselves an enterprise content management vendor to compete with the growing number web content management vendors. 

“Enterprise content management” has always been a problematic term:

  • There is no agreement on when a content management system becomes an enterprise content management system.
  • The term can and often is meant to imply that:
    • a single content management system and repository can manage all of an enterprise’s content, 
    • or a single content management product can support the needs of every department or functional area in an enterprise.

Neither of these situations are easily, if ever, found in the real world. The only reasonable use of the term is to suggest a content management application or system, is at the complex end of the spectrum.

Gilbane Report Vol 8, Num 8 – What is Content Management?