How cloud is disrupting the enterprise content management industry


The significant disruption in technology today, driven by cloud, mobile, analytics and collaboration technologies, is changing the way organisations view enterprise content management (ECM), according to a report from the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM).

John Mancini, AIIM president and author of the report, described ECM as “past its prime” as a term which encompasses the revolution driven by cloud and mobile technologies. He explains: “The ECM industry is in need of a new label, and organisations are desperate for best practices to deal with the technology disruption that is occurring.”

It’s apparent that ECM isn’t doing its job – or, cloud technologies are superseding it. According to the AIIM survey, of over 400 organisations, 62% with a ‘significant’ ECM capability find their workers rely on file sharing for day to day information access. More than half (52%) of organisations polled have three or more ECM systems, with 22% having five or more. Yet 60% of respondents say user adoption has been a big problem in ECM projects. Are too many cooks spoiling the broth?

This isn’t a new theory, of course: Gartner has been proclaiming cloud, social, mobile and information as the ‘Nexus of Forces’ for IT for the last three years. And it’s concepts like formalised enterprise content management that are feeling the heat.

The report examined a variety of statements, and assessed whether they were high or low priority for organisations. Of particular interest were the three central roles of content management solutions in the future; determining the human user’s current situation, understanding precisely what that person wants, and using powerful analytical ability to make highly focused and insightful suggestions. However, when presented with the statement ‘95% of all workplace information and content will now be stored in the cloud’, organisations were more indifferent.

Mancini added organisations were ‘hungry for best practices’ in this emerging era, and three major disruptive forces were accelerating the pace of change – consumerisation, cloud and mobile, and the Internet of Things. Even though traditional ECM still had a place, he argued, more than half of those polled said within five years ECM would be an undifferentiated part of the IT infrastructure.

“All of this data points to an industry in transition,” he said. “There are still many organisations that can benefit from more traditional ECM solutions that automate document-intensive processes. But there is also an explosion of content outside the realm of these kinds of structured processes, along with a revolution occurring in how, where, and when knowledge workers do their jobs.”