From META Group & Stellent While European companies recognize the value of enterprise content management, barriers remain to enterprise-wide adoption, according to independent survey More than 50 percent of European companies would be unable to provide an archive of written correspondence such as letters and emails(1), while a similar number operate with significant amounts of out-of-date or obsolete data on their systems(2), according to an independent survey commissioned by Stellent, Ltd., the London-based subsidiary of Stellent, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEL), a global provider of content management solutions. The survey, undertaken by industry analyst firm META Group and conducted amongst 206 companies across the United Kingdom (UK), France, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands, highlights the fact that, while European companies are aware of the benefits and opportunity costs associated with effective content management, barriers to enterprise-wide deployment still remain. According to the study, managing external-facing content on Web sites and extranets represents the biggest single driver behind the purchase and implementation of content management solutions, with 50 percent of respondents citing 'improvement of customer satisfaction' as a primary goal. Other factors behind the purchase and implementation decision include: -- Compliance issues, which have driven 38 percent of respondents to re-assess their management of unstructured data, with another 38 percent considering changes as a result. -- Access to reliable, approved information, with more than 35 percent of respondents citing the re-use of existing materials and/or automated access to approved/validated content as 'very important' drivers. Enterprise Content Management - Still a Series of Semi-Connected Projects According to Jeffrey Mann, vice president of technology research services for META Group, there still exists a significant gap between organisations' stated intentions to manage unstructured data and reality. "This survey indicates users in Europe clearly are becoming aware, although slowly, of the money and opportunities wasted by not managing their content effectively. These more sophisticated concerns are a positive development from the Web-oriented fixation of the past several years; however, it has not necessarily progressed to include many of the more hidden and opportunity costs of inadequate content management," he said. "There is even less evidence of a move towards a complete approach to solving content issues. While survey participants have achieved better awareness, they have not taken the steps needed to develop a comprehensive content infrastructure," Mann added, describing the current status of enterprise content management as all too often 'a series of semi-connected projects,' with many organizations maintaining several overlapping systems. "This redundancy is seen primarily as a cost issue, which it certainly is. However, the effect on overall business efficiency from running several systems is certainly greater. As central business processes require more integrated content, spreading content across several silos will become an ever-larger issue. This configuration makes it typically (or usually) impossible to achieve basic business goals. The implicit barriers between content systems make it more difficult to provide the comprehensive support that basic business processes increasingly require," he added. Content Usage vs. Content Management Spend - Who Knows? Bryan Richter, vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Stellent, adds that while European corporations are clearly aware of the benefits of content management and potential costs associated with poorly managed unstructured data, implementations still tend towards the 'piece-meal' approach. "The findings are quite revealing in that 40 percent of respondents have each implemented more than five different content management systems, and more than half of them could not confirm the costs of managing such data. This piece-meal trend becomes more disconcerting when we note that the majority of companies focus their content publishing on external-facing Web sites and extranets where consistency, coherence and compliance are even more critical," he said. Ease-of-Use - The Biggest Barrier to Enterprise-Wide Deployment Richter also noted that, according to the survey, an average of just two percent of employees were actively involved in populating or updating the content. "Sixty-two percent of respondents cited 'ease-of-use,' with another half highlighting 'ease-of-implementation' and 'ease-of-operation,' as critical to ensuring maximum participation and, in turn, effectiveness of a content management solution," Richter explained. "This principle underpins Stellent's approach to enterprise content management. In providing the industry's only integrated content management solution covering Web content management, document management, collaboration management, records management and digital asset management, we can address 80 percent of an enterprise's content management needs from a single, intuitive user interface. And Stellent is a leading provider of document conversion technology capable of instantly converting more than 200 different document formats for Web-based delivery. No re-programming is required; users work within their usual desktop applications; and corporate guidelines can be automatically incorporated with publishing, archiving and document tracking undertaken at the click of a mouse. "Businesses in Europe are beginning to realize that, far from being simply a technology issue, content management underpins the entire enterprise, from shop floor to boardroom, from customer to shareholder. Stellent remains the only vendor to offer a truly comprehensive enterprise content management solution that provides its users with a single, intuitive interface and instant access into the file format or application of their choice," Richter concluded. Enterprise Content Management - A Key Technology for 2004 According to Mann, the survey, which complements a study undertaken by the META Group amongst 400 corporate IT managers in the United States on their expectations for 2003 and 2004(3), confirms enterprise content management as a key priority for enterprises. "We expect that enterprise content management will continue to be a high priority for organizations across Europe in the coming years. The increasing need to provide timely information to various constituencies (employees, business partners, customers, regulators) while reducing costs will increase the pressure to implement effective and efficient content management processes and systems," Mann concluded. A complete copy of the research findings are available for download at