Things I Learned about ECM on My Summer Vacation

By Greg Clark posted 09-09-2010 17:29


As I recover from a too-short summer and get back into the full swing of things at work, I thought I would summarize a few things I learned about records and information management on my summer vacation.

The conclusion I draw is that while SharePoint is clearly having an impact on the ECM market (in addition to the fact that it is the fastest growing server product in Microsoft history, esteemed organizations like AIIM have started to dedicate entire communities to SharePoint), at this point it appears that SharePoint's success has not come at the expense of incumbent vendors.  It will be interesting to see how this evolves but for now, it seems like there is room enough for everyone.

And just to continue the earlier trend of putting SharePoint into the mix of all ECM discussions, there was a great debate on the AIIM ERM Community blog this summer about the merits of SharePoint records management.  James Lappin feels there are significant shortcomings in SharePoint records management, Mike Alsup disagrees.

  1. Traditional ECM remains strong even as SharePoint rises. It seems that everyone (myself included) has been talking about the impact of SharePoint on the ECM space, and SharePoint's influence is undeniable. Many analysts, consultants, customers and even casual observers have been predicting that SharePoint will eventually become the de-facto standard ECM application at the cost of market share and license revenue for traditional ECM players.  Then along comes Open Textand the aannouncement of their results for fiscal 2010.  Total revenue is up 16% and profit increased 24%.  That doesn't sound like a company on its way to irrelevance. 
  2. Records Management still matters.   Even though most of the hype in our industry seems to be reserved for trends like Enterprise 2.0, open source, and the impact of cloud computing on ECM, enabling proper records management is still a big part of the value proposition for ECM.  Nothing brings this fact into sharper focus than the mountains of electronic and paper records that will be produced as part of the investigationand lawsuits related to the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  3. The future of ECM is cloudy (and Cloudy?). It is natural and healthy for any industry to take stock of where it is in its' evolution, and the ECM industry seems better than most at navel gazing.  Joe Shepley published a good piece on his vision for Second Wave ECMand AIIM's fearless leader John Mancini shares his thoughts in a recent YouTube video.  There are enormous opportunities in ECM (cloud computing, continued data proliferation, Enterprise 2.0) and significant challenges, including significant debate on the definition of Enterprise Content Management itself.  John Mancini says that "ECM as a term is stressed", which tells me that even AIIM is thinking about the future of this acronym.

    Others are also debating the definition of ECM. Laurence Hart, though his Word of Pie blog, has been trying to come up with a new definition for ECM for several years now.  His most recent attempt to define ECM was last week and it has spawned some interesting discussion in his blog comments.  I'm always up for a good debate and this discussion has me thinking.  Should ECM include both structured and unstructured information?  Should it include web content? How about reusable chunks of content that can be used to pull together documents (e.g. standard paragraphs for a contract)?  Tweets? Facebook pages? Just good old fashioned documents?  

    I don't have a good answer (okay, I don't have a short answer) to these questions but I suspect you probably have an opinion, which I  encourage you to share below.

#ElectronicRecordsManagement #Records-Management #OpenText #ecmstrategy #SharePoint