Here in Chicago, our Lite Rock radio station has completed its annual transformation into The Holiday Lite, playing Christmas music round the clock, so it’s definitely not too soon to begin the annual litany of analyst prediction posts…

In that spirit, I want to spend some time in this post and the next taking a look at my picks for noteworthy ECM 2012 trends:

  1. The rise of Information Lifecycle Management (ILM)
  2. The evolving relationship between compliance and social media
  3. ECM goes viral
  4. Realistic retention
  5. Mainstream Enterprise 2.0
  6. Mid-tier ECM steps up to the plate
  7. SharePoint decision time

#1. The Rise of Information Lifecycle Management (ILM)

Information Lifecycle Management (ILM ) is a hot topic on all fronts these days, from vendors and standards bodies to customers and practitioners in the trenches. And while it has similarities to enterprise content management (ECM) and records management (RM). It differs in some fundamental ways.

More so than either ECM or RM, it refers to the management of information throughout its lifecycle from a broader perspective than just retention or legal obligation. The goal is to meet the needs of the total organization (compliance, IT and lines of business) for information management with optimized people, process and technology.

The term has been in use in pockets for a few years now, but until recently, operationalizing ILM has been mostly aspirational, primarily because ECM technology wasn’t mature enough to support it. Recently, however, ECM vendors have begun to build suites of tools to address ILM more holistically. Jury’s still out whether they’re ready for prime time, but at least they’re out there.

And beyond technology, disciplines like RM, litigation management and compliance are beginning to adopt an ILM perspective on their activities. You hear a lot of talk in these disciplines about business value and practicality (more on this in #4), both products in part of the increased cache of ILM as a legitimate organizational activity.

#2. The Evolving Relationship Between Compliance and Social Media

Another area poised for significant transformation in 2012 is corporate social media compliance. Compliance and social media have a rocky past at most organizations, where initially laws, regulations and industry standards were viewed as reasons not to get involved in social media, especially since this whole social media thing could just be another fad, after all.

Once it became clear that social media wasn’t just another fad, and once businesses began to better understand how social media could positively impact core, value-chain activities, this initial attitude had to change, which it did: compliance was no longer a reason not to do social media, it simply made doing social media more challenging.

Most organizations are still at this point. They know they have to get involved in social media, they imagine that their competition is working furiously on social media (they’re right), but they’re facing some difficult compliance challenges…not the least of which is the absence of legislation/regulation addressing social media for most industries.