ECM barely being used?

10 11 2009

Today’s post has been inspired by some web reading I have been doing earlier this morning. Open Text, (one of the largest ECM players) have made claims that ECM is still only in 20% of the available market, and that tools just aren’t being used by corporations. From my experience, this is probably true, and of the 20% that do have ECM, I would say 10% of these, just don’t use their ECM capabilities correctly if at all.

Is this a worrying fact for ECM?

Well probably not. ECM in some form or name (Document Management, Image Management, EDMS etc) has been around now since the 80’s, however, it is still an immature sector, and still seen as a very niche market place. Often customers of mine state ECM hampered by far too much jargon and far too much emphasis on out of the box connectors across the complete enterprise. This “enterprise” view, can often scare organisations away from looking at the benefits ECM can bring to each department for example.

Back to basics

Organisations and more importantly their users, sometimes don’t get how to use ECM correctly, and it’s not surprising. Many of the users, and business decision makers, will think nothing is wrong with saving files down onto their local machine (or network share), and organising these folders in a logical way. In addition, users when on their home PC won’t really be using anything that resembles ECM, though there are plenty of reasons why perhaps they should…

This is where education of what ECM can provide is really needed. The whole profile of ECM within the corporate world, and small business world, needs to be raised. Because of this lack of understanding or profile if you like, it is often hard to communicate to businesses just what a positive effect ECM would have for the overall running of their organisation. Of course over time, more and more businesses will grasp the many benefits and real world savings ECM brings to businesses, but hopefully this will not be so far down the line that the market place has only a few massive players left.

The large players provide really powerful solutions, and very powerful demonstrations, backed up with great consultancy work and number crunching to illustrate ROI and future efficiency gains and savings. However, sometimes you can take a good thing too far. Often the case for ECM should be a basic one, leveraged at a departmental level, as opposed to the complete Enterprise. By addressing an organisations needs, department by department, you vendors ensure real business requirements are met immediately and that they are not lost in the mass of other requirements when looking at an enterprise as a whole. It’s also worth  noting that organisations purchasing ECM will not be so worried about implementation complications etc. when only looking at an individual department, things are simpler.

Going forward

As vendors, let’s keep things simple, let’s try to raise the profile of ECM and its benefits, let’s try to remove some of the jargon behind ECM and let’s sometimes step back from the concept of a solution for the whole Enterprise. If we do these things, business decision makers will find it easier to grasp the many benefits of ECM and when this happens, ECM will be being used in many many more organisations. Correctly I hope…



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