Many organizations deal with information management issues every day. They have information management projects, tools, strategies and other means to manage their information. Some projects are successful, but many are not. Decision makers often have no idea where all these projects and tools are leading them to.

A couple of years ago I was asked by Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Apoorv Durga and David Smigiel to help them with an Enterprise Content Management Maturity Model, which they called ECM3. That model saw its second version released in June 2010. You can read more about it in Irina Guseva's article.

Maturity Matters

Last April, we counted 8,500 downloads on On May 9, the DAM3 (digital asset management) model was launched. This proves the maturity model is alive and kicking! We can only wait for more derivatives from this model, like a web content management (WCM3) maturity model. But more on that at the end of this article.

I think ECM3 is a great model because it really helps you get insight into where you stand with your Enterprise CMS maturity and what you have to do to go to the next level. Currently I'm using the ECM3 model in three projects.

One project is for the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, with over 30,000 staff members, with lots and lost of data and content and with many ECM related projects. They translated the ECM3 model into Dutch and together we improved the model by making it more consistent and generic. We even developed a scoring list and a set of questions which help to define your ECM maturity level.

Managing Expectations in Enterprise CMS Selections

Defining your ECM maturity is key in a CMS procurement procedure. It helps manage expectations and it facilitates decision makers in prioritizing projects. Once you agree on your maturity level you can see clearly where tools can help and where they can not, since maturity also deals with the way you align business goals with policies, processes and strategies.

The second project I'm using ECM3 in is an insurance company with 200 million documents and counting, in which we assessed the ECM maturity before migrating to the next ECM system. The maturity model helped us realize that the main challenges lay in the Enterprise CMS procedures, findability and usability.

With the IT department in the lead, the business requirements were historically ignored. The maturity model made it clear that we needed to involve the business to get to the next level, no matter what tool we selected.

The third project is an IT organization where I introduced ECM3 to clarify that its ECM maturity is too low to even think about a full-blown ECM suite. The model helped convince management that starting with a Web CMS tool with basic document management and collaboration functionality was "good enough."

Information Management Maturity

As said earlier, ECM3 is an ideal template for any information management maturity model, be it ECM, DAM, WCM, CRM or any other information management discipline. At TIMAF, we are trying to create a generic information management framework, basing the information management maturity model (named IM3) on ECM3. We invite you all to collaborate on this IM maturity model at the TIMAF Wiki.

The same goes for ECM3 and DAM3. I encourage you to download these open source models and send in your experiences. Translations, suggestions, best practices and such are always most welcome. Please send TIMAF your feedback.