AIIM has released its annual State of the ECM Industry research report. And although the term Enterprise Content Management was coined about eight years ago, the research findings are still not very optimistic in some areas.

Not surprisingly, the bottom line is that electronic content in many of its shapes and forms in the organizational landscape is still (mainly) a mess.

Enterprise Content Management Circa 2009

AIIM has found that managing electronic documents is still a challenge for a whopping 47% of organizations. On top of that, business communication channels like IMs, text messages, blogs and wikis are uncontrolled and off the corporate radar for 75% of businesses.

Other key findings include:

  • 55% of organizations having little or no confidence that important e-mails are recorded and retrievable.
  • 28% of organizations would take more than a month to produce documents for a legal eDiscovery.
  • In 29% of organizations, SharePoint is competing with existing Enterprise CMS, Document Management (DM) or Records Management (RM) suites, while 6% integrated it with existing systems.
  • The single ECM system concept is still alive in 35% of organizations, whereas 33% plan to use a single sign-on portal to access multiple repositories. (This is when a to-be standard CMIS could play a positive role.)
  • License sales in the main areas of DM and RM are set to hold steady in 2009.
  • Only 52% of respondents have measured the ROI and done cost analysis before and after their DM/RM projects.

The full report can be downloaded free of charge at Note that many large ECM players like EMC, Oracle and Open Text have underwritten the report.

What Drives the ECM Industry?

Compared to previous research, cost saving is the clear winner over compliance as the main business driver for investments in document and records management.

eDiscovery is yet another driver. The likelihood of being required to produce legal evidence continues to rise, as 18% of the respondents have been exposed to a legal challenge in the last 12 months and a further 15% in the last three years.

What’s On the Horizon for the ECM Industry?

According to AIIM, no positive growth is expected in sales of scanner hardware, non-vendor consulting services and outsourcing, while Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions for document and records management are on the rise -- 7% of those surveyed already use it, with 10% saying they plan to do so.

Eighty-three percent do not have any current interest in SaaS, including 28% who say they would be very unlikely to ever use it due to security and vendor stability concerns.

Cloud solutions like MS Azure or Google Docs are gaining a little popularity: 4% already use it and 4% have plans to do so. Those that say they don’t plan to use the cloud, cite long-term availability and even more security concerns.
The survey also found that spending on Business Process Management (BPM) and workflow was likely to grow strongly in 2009, along with Enterprise Search, E-mail Management, Document and Records Management.

Looks like ECM is still an industry in the process of growth with all the growing pains that come along with it. Despite this fact, many organizations do realize the importance of managing information properly and are seeing ECM as a potential source of savings in this troubled economy.