State of the ECM Industry 2011 Part 2: Social Business, SharePoint, Spending

5 minute read
David Roe avatar

Earlier on in the week,  we took our first look at the recent AIIM State of the ECM Industry report for 2011 and saw that, while content chaos was still the major theme this year, as it was last year, some progress has been made, even if a lot remains to be done.

In this second part we look at three further elements of ECM at the moment:  Social business, business drivers and SharePoint.

While the report upholds the belief that social business is user-drivenand adopted by organizations that are more responsive and agile,adoption by smaller companies with fewer than 5,000 employees is considerably lower, at 29%.

Social Business

Business has become social. While you were probably aware of that already, even just from anecdotal evidence, the State of the ECM report attempts to quantify just how social it is, and what is driving businesse down this road in the first place.

The research shows that, for organizations of over 5000, more than half are now using social, collaboration or enterprise 2.0 technologies, despite the widely held belief that smaller organizations have the edge here.

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AIIM State of ECM Industry 2011: enterprise 2.0


The most significant business driver in its adoption is collaboration within and between teams, which explains the adoption rate in large enterprises, with information sharing and staff engagement the second priorities.

However, the market is still underdeveloped in this respect, a fact that is reflected in the different platforms that are being used for social business.

By far the biggest and most widely used platform in this respect is SharePoint, with 57% collaborating that way and a further 13% using enterprise 2.0 in their existing ECMs.

Only 34% have actually bought products for this purpose specifically, and then, generally as add-ons to their existing systems. Open source software and in-house developments can be found in 20% of organizations, along with free web services (15%).


Significantly for content management, content governance is still quite lax in many enterprises, although there are signs that this is changing.

Over 30% of organizations that use social business tools do not have an acceptable-use policy and 71% have no archiving policies for content that is placed in public-facing sites such as company Facebook sites or LinkedIn groups.

Given the increasing occurrence of incidents, particularly those involving staff matters, the report says, this is a cause for concern.


While the report has been careful not to specify any particular vendor or product in the report, with SharePoint it has made an exception as, it says, it redefined the concept of user-contributed intranets, bringing the team-site concept to the fore, and then added document management and workflow.


Adoption has been rapid with only 20% of those surveyed saying they had no interest in it at all and 58% saying they were using it already, with deployment rates of up to 70% in larger companies and 45% using it as their primary ECM.

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AIIM State of ECM Industry 2011: SharePoint use

Its reach into the enterprise has grown considerably since the release of SharePoint 2010 last May, but this has not been without difficulties in implementation. The report also notes that 13% of deployments count themselves as first-time users.

Learning Opportunities

Like social business tools, SharePoint governance is a problem, as is best practice across its user base. The report also notes that, because of its dependency on IT departments, there is a considerable amount of confusion in regards to SharePoint and its relationship with other ECM deployments, with 24% of respondents still trying to formulate a strategy.

SharePoint Content Management

That said, 5% of companies say they have optimized their deployments and integrated with other repositories, while a further 18% say their deployments are well governed.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that 27% admit that content is stored across their entire SharePoint environment, but that there is no policy on where and how it is stored.

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AIIM State of ECM Industry 2011: Spending priorities

This was not exclusive to small or large companies, with both SMBs and enterprises behaving in an equally shambolic manner in this respect. Other interesting findings include:

  • SharePoint deployments are the first document or content management suite for 11% of companies.
  • 49% plan to integrate SharePoint with existing -- or new -- ECM or records management suites.
  • 4% are phasing out existing systems in favor of SharePoint.

ECM Spending

In terms of ECM priorities for companies and where they are going to spend their money, there have been a number of changes. Most notably, “Agreeing on a taxonomy” is up from seventh last year to second this year.

Clearly, all the activity we have seen in the records management space this year has meant that many companies now feel a lot more confident in this space, particularly around email, which has dropped from second on the list to fifth, although this could equally be a result of the growing problems around the management of content in social media.

Spending Priorities

Storage spending is expected to experience a net rise, while maintenance fees and spending on licenses is also expected to remain buoyant.

Both consulting services and scanning/MFP spending have recovered from the recession, while outsourcing will remain at current levels.

In the SaaS space, BPM and workflow spending are set to grow, as are records management, document management, email management and collaboration.

Finally, the report concludes, cost reduction and increased efficiencies will be the main drivers for the rest of the year, with compliance a major consideration for large enterprises.

The single biggest single factor driving ECM strategies and deployments this year, however, remains the problem of bringing order to chaos, with most admitting that their content is in a “chaotic state," similar to last year’s conclusions and an indication of where most of the action is likely to be concentrated forthe rest of this year, at least.

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