ECM Standards to be Formed
UK-based The Content Group leads the quality standards study for Enterprise Content Management. The Content Group (CG) aims to collaborate with BSI British Standards to develop a best practice standard for ECM, which will establish a frame of reference for the entire ECM market. The final result is expected to be the first ever Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for Enterprise Content Management.A specification for ECM...something that should have been done long ago? Is the content management industry ready for it?With the growing importance of ECM in the business world the desire to establish quality standards in this area is quite understandable. Once completed, the standard will provide definitions and a common understanding of ECM. It will also feature benchmarking and consistent measures for ECM with increased accountability and transparency across the whole information spectrum.

How ECM Will Be Judged

According to the CG’s PR agency, the group plans on partnering with market-leading vendors to provide insight into the “nine critical elements” of ECM assessment:# Create# Capture# Management# Process# Collaboration# Distribution # Publishing# Reporting# StorageThe idea is to look at ECM from a business perspective, adds the agency, as opposed to simply looking at a set of technologies. This will be the first best practice standard to encompass all the components of ECM.The main goal is to help organizations and individuals understand the ECM beast with all the “What it is”, “What can it do” and “How to measure the quality level” questions.

Who Is Behind This New Standard?

Ben Richmond, founder and CEO of The Content Group, is the lead author of this new standard. The standard is produced specifically for BSI British Standards, the leading UK standards body. BSI British Standards claims to be the most popular standard in the world used by over 670,000 organizations in 154 countries. BSI standards cover everything from accounting to zoom lenses -- adding ECM to its arsenal now.The CG team involved in producing the standard will be using a two-stage stakeholder consultation. The steering panel of stakeholders will then review and provide feedback on the best practice standard before it is put out for public consensus.The steering panel of stakeholders includes folks from AIIM, BSI, CMS Watch, EMC Documentum, Vignette and other companies.

What Does The Future Bring?

The PAS is expected to be reviewed by the end of the year. Then a decision will be made as to whether it should become a formal British Standard.Although the PAS is meant to be the first step in moving towards an internationally agreed standard for ECM, there is no information as of now as to how this ECM standard will affect the Northern American ECM market. We also wonder how this new standard be affected by having major ECM players on the panel.With this announcement being so new, the details still seem vague. But we'll keep an eye out on the standards progress. For now, we wonder what you think about the potential specification?