Decisive ROI numbers from Analyst Firm wins ECM battle

By Victor Cruz posted 01-17-2012 09:46



Last week, at the annual Digitech Systems ECM Partner Event in Denver, Nucleus Research announced findings that should put a smile on the faces of service providers, IT pros, office admins and others trying to push enterprise content management (ECM) systems up the value chain in their organizations.

Many of us get stumped when trying to lay out a convincing argument for making a new investment given limited budgets. We ‘pick our battles’ wisely and fight for things that we believe will truly benefit our companies. Yet a lot of tech deployments simply don’t lend themselves easily to measurement but can receive unanimous internal support regardless.  Take for example voice mail, email or cellphones: how do you measure that ROI? These things may be impossible to measure but most businesses would never choose to survive without them.

ECM is one of those rare technologies that usually has little problem justifying itself. Reduced paper filing and storage costs, reduced real estate space, increased speed at finding what you’re looking for within seconds as opposed to hours, reduced regulatory compliance costs… translate to big cost savings. But by how much?, ask the skeptics.

Lucky for us, analyst firms such as Boston-based Nucleus has done the heavy lifting of figuring out these kinds of metrics.  Their latest findings claim that enterprise content management applications return as much as six times the investment.

Nucleus says ECM apps can realize “an average ROI of $6.12 returned for every dollar spent.”  The firm based its calculation on the analysis of some 37 recent case study audits it conducted, citing “increased competition and more cost-effective cloud options driving down software prices and deployment costs.”

Good news for supporters of cloud computing, a model that was much hyped for the past two years and showing no signs of abating for 2012.

Says  Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Research at Nucleus, “With the rise of increasingly economical cloud-based solutions for electronic content management, both small and large companies can gain benefits from content management initiatives that would have previously been too expensive to justify implementing and hosting on premise.”

The firm found that “second and third-generation content management investments deliver increasing ROI through more streamlined processes and greater productivity. With the expected changing dynamics of ECM pricing, usability, delivery, and business and regulatory requirements, large areas including the digitization of US healthcare records, government documents, and the continued growth of ECM in small and medium-sized businesses will continue to incent companies to invest in content management applications.

“Although organizations often focus on cost savings as a motivation for investing in ECM, productivity and other indirect benefits are also common.  In the analysis of Nucleus case studies, 62% of all returns came from direct benefits such as reduced paper or avoidance of staff or service bureau costs.  Another 38% of returns came from indirect benefits, such as productivity.”

The research, available today at, wasannounced in Denver at the Digitech Systems annual reseller event, which equips service providers with information about ECM trends and business strategies.  Digitech is a major player in the ECM solutions space with SaaS-based and on-premise applications for healthcare, education and financial services. You can learn more about them by visiting

#ECM #EnterpriseContentManagement