8 Factors Impacting ECM

Enterprise content management (ECM) has evolved into a blanket term to cover information management technologies for unstructured content. A recent AIIM Market Intelligence "State of the ECM Industry 2009" report states: "The common goal ... is to provide users with a single-access capability [for content] allowing them to find, retrieve and process information from wherever it is stored, without needing to login to multiple applications. Increasingly, underlying content services infrastructures have emerged as a base for content management and business process applications." The market, which can heavily contribute to CRM content management, continues to hold on steadily, according to Doug Miles, AIIM's director of market intelligence. 

The "2009 State of the ECM Industry" report reveals the following trends, challenges, and sticking points:

  • In terms of the main business driver for investments in document and records management, cost savings has emerged as the number one reason for implementation. In recent yearscompliance has been the top goal. "In the last two years, [the drive for compliance] has decreased as people are getting more comfortable ... Now they are looking back at where they can gain cost benefits by improving workflow processes," Miles says.
  • Email management remains a huge challenge. According to AIIM research,55 percent of organizations report having little or no confidence that important emails arerecorded, complete and retrievable. Miles says that although a small percentage of emails may be considered important or include contractual information, few organizations are prepared to properly manage that content. In fact, he says, most organizations allow their email clients to auto-archive emails and if they were to go back and search for a particular piece of emailed content, they would have a very difficult time doing so.
  • Although compliance remains a huge reason for companies to invest in content and document management technologies, still28 percent of organizations say that it would take more than a month to produce documents for a legal discovery process.
  • Microsoft SharePoint, although, predominately used in organizations to handle content-related tasks, challenges overall content management strategies. AIIM reveals that in 29 percent of organizations, SharePoint is working in competition with, or in parallel with existing ECM, document management or records management suites. Only 12 percent of organizations report using SharePoint as the only ECM suite. However, Miles expects a lot to change with the release of SharePoint 2010. He notes that no one is quite sure what functionality will be added though.
  • IT and records managers aren't communicating -- and records managers are often left out of decision processes. AIIM finds that in 36 percent of large organizations, IT is managing SharePoint with no input from the Records Management Department. Surprisingly, 14 percent of companies admit that no dedicated person or team is managing the content management deployment.
  • Deployments of ECM are changing. Today, thesingle ECM system concept is alive in 35 percent of organizations. Yet, linking multiple repositories is becoming more of a goal -- 33 percent of respondentsplan to use a single sign-on portal to link repositories (which could include CRM and ERP content). "We arebeginning to see portals that are document-centric and project-centric such that you can discuss and share with people and access existing apps and set up blogs and search knowledge bases all through a portal which will reach out within other repositories," Miles explains. He adds that with a single sign-on, users could access CRM or ERP content without logging into those respective systems.CRM content is often unstructured and can come in the forms ofdocuments, letters, and emails. "Those all need to be shared more readily," Miles contends. "Theonly way to do that is to pry open traditional repositories and make them accessible."
  • AIIM predicts that document and records management investments will hold steady in 2009, however the industry will see dips in sales of hardware such as scanners and in non-vendor consulting and outsourcing services.
  • Content management continues to clash with Enterprise 2.0. The report states that in regards to management of content types, SMS/text messages, blogs and wikis are largely off the corporate radarin 75 percent of organizations.Miles discusses the impetus of corporate blogs. Companies must have a way to manage, capture, and translate the conversations that occur on channels such as blogs, he says. However, many organizations feel that enterprise 2.0 projects put them at risk, so they essentially are avoiding the issue completely.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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