The following question was recently posted on LinkedIn:

What is “Collaboration” and how is it defined relative to “Content Management” or Enterprise Content Management”? Secondarily what are the core components of “Collaboration”?

My answer:

…Enterprise content management is concerned with the efficient management of content with content being defined as any information in any form that is valuable to the enterprise. When an instant messaging session discusses business matters or an email defines policy it becomes enterprise content. Before the current technology of collaboration there were methods of documenting collaboration, such as meeting minutes, which are certainly enterprise records. I also agree that collaboration in it’s truest sense is a social phenomenon. The American Heritage Dictionary defines collaboration as “To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.”. The tools we use today to document collaboration are many. It is when the collaboration process produces enterprise content that it becomes a concern of ECM. Just as document capture via a scanner becomes a vital part of an ECM system, so email, IM, web forms, and white board sessions become part of an ECM system.