State of the ECM Industry 2011 Pt I: Enterprises Slowly Getting to Grips with Content Chaos

6 minute read
David Roe avatar

If you were to look back at our coverage of AIIM’s (news, site) annual State of the ECM Industry report last year, you would find that content chaos was the principal theme running through it. This year, chaos is still one of the principal themes, with the caveat that, over the past 12 months, many enterprises have taken positive steps to deal with the problem.

While there are still considerable problems with organizing and managing content, there is a marked increase in the number of companies that are using enterprise content management systems -- albeit a small one -- with more expressing the intention of going the ECM route this year.

According to Doug Miles, the author of this year’s State of the ECM Industry 2011 research, with improving efficiency the principal objective behind ECM deployments, 16% of those surveyed said that that they have completed an enterprise-wide ECM deployment, up from 12% last year, with a further 29% actively progressing toward it.

Needless to say, when the report is broken up into segments. there is a lot to take in and covers everything from ECM strategies to social business to SharePoint deployments, and is the result of 650 responses from the AIIM community between January 28 and February 14, 2011.

Because of the breadth and extent of the report we have decided to cover it in two parts. Today, we will look at a number of issues around ECM strategies and deployments, while on Wednesday we will look at ECM and social business.

ECM Strategies

AIIM has argued in the past that some companies had given up on the idea of a single ECM Suite that would do everything for them, and were instead looking at content repository linkage through an enterprise-wide portal.

ECM 2010 Strategies.jpg

AIIM State of the ECM Industry 2011: ECM Strategies

This year the research shows that in 12% of companies, the plan is to create a new, first-time on-premise ECM platform to take over from legacy content management systems and bought from a single vendor.

A further 20% plan to replace existing content management systems and migrate their content toa new ECM suite, while a further 16% are going tostick with what they have and consolidate content around an existing ECM suite.

While this all points towards half of respondents moving to the “Big ECM," the flip side is that 14% have no strategy in the large enterprise space, and 16% have none in the SMB space, while 25% will keep what they have and update it as updates occur. A further 4% will move to the cloud or SaaS offerings and 9% have other plans.

ECM Adoption

Behind all these strategies is the feeling in a majority of enterprises that "content chaos" is getting out of control, as well as a better understanding of the negative business effects this can have.

Perhaps because of that, as many as 16% of enterprises have said that this year they arrived at the position of having a truly enterprise-wide content management system that covers all bases, up from last year’s level of 12%.

ECM 2010 ECM Adoption.jpg

AIIM State of the ECM Industry 2011: ECM Adoption

AIIM found that the big driver here was the realization that business efficiency is badly affected when content gets out of control, while failure to comply with regulations in numerous verticals and the costs of that has also been an incentive.

Business Drivers

And it is these factors that have acted as the main business drivers to ECM adoption. While increased efficiency is still the main driver, among what AIIM describes as the four Cs of ECM – cost, compliance, customer service and collaboration -- we see that changes are starting to be evident.

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AIIM State of the ECM Industry 2011: Business Drivers

Compliance as a driver is not as strong as previously, while the need for collaboration continues to rise. However, the report also notes that the larger the organization, the more important compliance is, with the other drivers falling off as the enterprise gets bigger.

Learning Opportunities

Content Chaos

Behind all this is the feeling that content chaos is still a major problem. Over the past few year, AIIM says, its tracking of enterprises shows that 40% of them cannot vouch for the accuracy, accessibly and trustworthiness of electronic information.

Beyond that, 56% said that they were only “slightly confident," or “not confident” that email messages documenting commitments and obligations were kept in places where they could be located and retrieved. For those with a full ECM system, this drops to 32% compared to 66% for those without.

ECM 2010_Content Chaos.jpg

AIIM State of the ECM Industry 2011: Content Chaos

Office documents and faxes are considered to be chaotic by 25% of enterprises, with email at 31% and their attachments at 35%. Hints at the problems created by social media can also be seen here, with 45% of enterprises publishing blog posts saying that they are completely unmanaged.


Taking a closer look at email, we see that issues around identifying them are not the only problem, but that filtering them is a problem too.

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AIIM State of the ECM Industry 2011:Email

However, there appears to be some improvement, with 12% of those surveyed saying that their email messages were captured and sent to an email management system, with a further 6% sending them to a document management system.

That said, there is still a problem with Outlook and personal Outlook folders, where 39% of those asked file important email messages, out of the sight and use of other enterprise users, and confounding e-Discovery requests.

Storage and storage time still appears to be an issue, with 27% saying they have no policy on this, 26% keeping them indefinitely and 23% deleting them after a setnumber of months.


While the ideal situation would be to have all these regulated within one ECM system, the reality is somewhat different, with content stored across many different repositories in CRM, HR or ERP systems.

Although it is possible to migrate content to one secure repository, many companies have accepted that information visibility is best provided through an access portal.

While 28% would prefer to migrate their content to one ECM, this has fallen from previous years, where 35% have done the same. The report adds that there is now evidence to show that companies that previously had no plans to link repositories are now looking at the portal approach, with even small companies using SharePoint as a popular choice.

On Wednesday, we will look at social business, SharePoint and the state of ECM in 2011.

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