AIIM: State of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) 2010

4 minute read
Jacob Morgan avatar

AIIM recently conducted a survey of members of the AIIM community to understand future and current trends and best practices around ECM and compiled a pretty handy report.

The survey was taken by 751 individuals with 31% representing organizations with over 5,000 employees, 43% representing organizations between 500-5,000 employees, and 26% representing organizations between 10-500 employees. The report yielded several key pieces of information:

Who Has an Enterprise CMS?

When asked how respondents would best describe their history with ECM projects almost 25% reported having an existing system in place for the past 1-5 years that they plan to continue using. Over 15% said that they are planning on implementing a system for the first time and roughly the same percentage of respondents said that they are using one or more legacy systems which are going to be replaced by a new system.

I was a bit surprised to find that around 15% still said they do not have a system in place. However it's important to remember that the survey included organizations of all shapes and sized. I suspect that the organizations not currently utilizing a CMS system are perhaps the smaller size businesses. The report does not make that distinction.

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Business Drivers for Document Management

When asked to rate the significant business drivers around documents and records management, over 25% of respondents indicated "improve efficiency" at the top of their priority list while around another 18% included "optimize business process" as a top priority.  

My question is aren't those two things pretty much the same? You optimize a business process to improve efficiency do you not? Perhaps there should have been a bit more clarity to distinguish the two, but either way respondents view improving efficiency as a top priority which makes sense.  

Among some of the other priorities (lower rated) were: enabling collaboration, gaining a competitive advantage and faster turnaround/improved response time (which again in my opinion is the same thing as efficiency).

Another interesting point for me was that over 10% of organizations view "reducing risk" as a top priority. I find this interesting because oftentimes companies look at internal collaboration (and ECM) projects as increasing risk. This usually turns out to be false as all of the organizations I have spoken to and read about have clearly seen the ability to mitigate risk as a result of improve collaboration. ECM systems and collaboration tools allow for superior tracking and distribution of relevant information to the right people which is a great way to mitigate risk.

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Reasons for Implementing an Enterprise CMS

Not surprisingly, when respondents were asked what the two main reasons were that triggered the organization to go after an ECM system, the number one response by a landslide was simply the overflow of content that is being created by the organization and the inability of the organization to deal with and organize all of that content.  

What's interesting to me is that there is no mention of collaboration as a reason to go after an ECM system, yet in the previous question above around 6% of organizations highlighted collaboration as a top priority. Is content getting out of hand really a business use case though? I don't think it is.

Learning Opportunities

Organizing content and managing it needs to be done for a reason and not for the sake of managing content. What's interesting is that the number two reason organizations highlighted was "maximize knowledge sharing for dispersed workforce". That to me sounds like much more of a business use case then organizing data.  

It seems as though the report mixed business use cases with general problems which I think are separate things. Of course, I could be looking into things a bit too much here but when reports such as these are created I think it's important to pick them apart.


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Drivers for Internal Collaboration

Finally I want to address the topic of enterprise 2.0 or internal collaboration. The question AIIM asked was around the top drivers for internal collaboration. The top three responses in order were:

  1. Better use of shared knowledge
  2. Increase collaboration with and between teams
  3. Better project management and coordination.  

Again, I think all three of these responses boil down to improving efficiency within the organization. Nonetheless the common thread that we see around both ECM and Enterprise 2.0 (according to this report) is that organizations need a better way to manage, organize and share content that is created.  

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Overall I think the report is great and provides a lot of valuable information. Of course, I only covered a tiny portion of the full report which you can download for free. Take a look at the full report and let me know what you think. What are some of the other key points or facts that you find interesting? Were you able to extract some additional pieces of information that are less than obvious?