Monday, 16 June 2008

Deciding what content goes on intranet and what content goes on a Document Management System

Occasionally I get the urge to answer a question on LinkedIn...

Question: How do you decide what content goes on intranet and what content goes on a Document Management System. Is it an issue in your organization?

My Answer: Ideally we wouldn’t need to worry if content is part of the intranet, document management system or any other kind of information management system – storage, transformation and consumption of information would be separated so that ultimately information could be used where ever it is needed. However, the reality for most organisations today is that “enterprise content management” is still something they are moving towards, which is where deciding where to store what becomes a challenge. The information management maturity in your organisation will to a degree determine the balance between elegance (i.e. ECM) and practicality. If you are leaning towards practicality, then I would suggest you identify the most critical information for storage on in your DMS so you can take advantage of features like integration with desktop tools, advanced security, versioning, audit trails and workflow etc. However, as has been pointed out, you may find that you have a WCMS that actually has adequate DM functionality to suit your purposes. BTW If you are actually going to use your WCMS for Record Management purposes, then make sure it is actually compliant with record keeping regulations in your jurisdiction. Another tip, if you do find yourself using multiple systems to store information (e.g. DMS, intranet, Web-based project tools) your users will really appreciate clear guidance on what tool they should use to store what. In this situation, enterprise search is also a really helpful feature for end users to help them discover content from different sources.


  1. James -

    You may be interested in this article on wikis versus the DMS.

    This is the article that appeared in KM Legal and Inside Knowledge Magazine.

    I think it is important to look at behavior when thinking about where to host the content.

  2. Good point, Doug. Actually, recognising those differences one of the conversations I've had with people is how do we easily or automatically get the right content with business value from our wiki into our EDRMS.

  3. Cai Kjaer10:14 am


    I think both of us have worked with organisations where there was confusion as to where to store and where to find information.

    It appears that some organisations believe that the tool they use for storing (eg a DMS) must also be the place you use for retrieving. But this doesn't have to be the case.

    I have certainly seen examples where no 'sane' person would be able to retrieve documents out of the DMS (due to the complex structures and metadata required for proper management). In these cases it makes much more sense to publish the information from the DMS to an intranet.

    Let's separate management from access. Your view?



  4. I would argue that you need to make the "two as one" from a staff perspective, as much as possible.

    This is something that I've written on:

  5. In my research I have come across several companies that have both DMS and wikis. Several of them had clear guidelines which made their users more capable of discerning what went where, however it does seem (in small to medium enterprise anyway) that the more explicit these guidelines were, the less spontaneous collaboration was happening in the wiki.

    Most wikis seem to make rotten DMS tools, so if a guideline resticts the type of collaborative knowledge creation that wikis excell at then one might be doing more harm than good.

    I liked what Doug said about document behaviours in his document. While many wikis don't operate in the same environment as a legal firm, many finance departments would appreciate guidelines that took these five behaviours into account. Thanks for the link Doug.


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