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Is ECM a mature market?  We often hear that it is, when speaking to analysts, press and others in the industry.  Sure, Enterprise Content Management as a description for document management, capture, workflow and related technologies has been around awhile (AIIM started using it in 2000).  But does saying that ECM is mature mean organizations have all their content issues sorted?

Some new survey data from AIIM shows that is hardly the case.

The new study, ECM at a Crossroads, which Alfresco co-sponsored, surveyed 538 AIIM members about their current and planned use of ECM technologies. Key findings include:

  • Only 3% of surveyed organizations have actually turned off their file-shares, although 12% have “largely replaced it” with ECM. 34% are keen to turn it off, but for 61%, file-shares still play a significant role in their content structure.
  • Only 26% have the classic ECM implementation that includes capture and image workflow. 34% have separate systems, although 16% plan to bring them together.
  • More enterprise content sits outside of ECM than inside: for 61% of organizations, half or more of their content is held in non-ECM/DM systems such as ERP, HR, Finance, etc. This makes it difficult to search and it is not under records management retention rules.
  • Only 11% have a mobile optimized browser interface to their ECM and only 10% have specific apps. Yet 30% need their employees to interact with workflows on mobile devices.
  • More than 1 in 4 organizations face a dilemma with their cloud strategy. 25% are seeing unofficial use of cloud file-sharing sites – most of which are “consumer-grade”.
  • Spend on ECM software licenses is set to increase in the next 12 months.

Doesn’t really sound like a mature market, does it?   Though it does sound like one that is ‘at a crossroads,’ as the title of the new AIIM study suggests.

At Alfresco, we see customers dealing with several trends at the moment and in some cases, with really challenging enterprise content environments.

  • Many deployed ECM systems are old and – as the AIIM data shows – aren’t meeting the needs of users who still rely on file shares, struggle to find content across too many repositories, and can’t participate in content-related processes when they’re mobile.
  • Users are adopting “consumer-grade” services because of the limitations in their ECM systems and models.  This only creates more silos – and in some cases, data privacy or security concerns.
  • Organizations don’t need more content silos, particularly ones that are disconnected from all existing on-prem systems and data.  There is real appetite in the market for rationalization, openness and integration – in the cloud, on-prem and with hybrid models.
  • Business processes are more collaborative and more mobile – yet many organizations haven’t even addressed basic workflow and capture requirements.
  • Yes, there is a lot of SharePoint out there, but it doesn’t seem to solve content chaos problems or lead to much rationalization – the AIIM data shows 50% of organizations surveyed use SharePoint as a content repository and those organizations are nearly twice as likely to have 4 or more ECM systems (34%) than those who don’t use SharePoint in this way (18%).
  • And SharePoint likely leads to more content living outside of the sanctioned “ECM” system, since it isn’t meeting user demands for mobile access. In a recent Forrester survey about SharePoint, 91% of respondents reported not providing mobile access to SharePoint.  Hmmm…wonder what mobile workers in those organizations do when they need to access files from their phones and tablets?  Enter “consumer grade.”

The AIIM survey data backs up what Alfresco is experiencing – there is significant demand in the market for modern, open, mobile and cloud-ready ECM capabilities to ongoing and emerging content chaos and content process challenges.

Yes, spend on ECM software is going to increase in the next 12 months – the market isn’t mature.  Enterprise content problems are not solved.  It’s just that a lot of products and approaches currently on the market are old and not meeting the needs of modern organizations.  There is a difference.

Read the full AIIM study here. And then check out what customers and analysts are saying about Alfresco.

About the author

Kathleen Reidy

Kathleen Reidy

Kathleen Reidy is the Director of Market Strategy at Alfresco.

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