ECM – Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
John Mancini

By: John Mancini on June 5th, 2017

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ECM – Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)  |  Content Services

Gartner: “ECM is now dead (kaput, finite, an ex-market name), at least in how Gartner defines the market. It’s been replaced by the term Content Services.”

What is happening in the enterprise IT space – and how is it impacting content management? Consider the following emerging broad trends -- trends that will mold and shape the world of content management in both the short and long-term create a need for a broader and more encompassing industry description than “ECM.”

Emerging trends

Impact on content management

Explosive growth in the volume and variety of data AND content. Billions of new connections between objects -- the Internet of Things

Users need to do so much more than just capture documents and information; they need to ingest information of ALL sorts as early as possible into business processes and standardize and automate these processes.  They then need to extract insight from this exploding volume of information and prepare for the era of machine processing and artificial intelligence. Finally, they need to develop policies and automatic processes to dispose of information without business value.

Rise of new data-centric technologies -- Hadoop, NoSQL, Blockchain

The availability of new tools to manage data at massive scale increases the need for effective management of metadata.

Incorporation of core content management capabilities in file platform themselves (Office365, Amazon, Google, IBM/Box, DropBox) and collapsing prices for storage

Add-on core content management increasingly under price pressure, driving many solution providers to shift their focus to applications and solutions.

Expanding and increasingly challenging national and regional compliance and regulatory demands -- and the growth of cloud and privacy “nationalism”

Organizations need to take as much of the human element as possible out of governance by first converting everything to digital form (i.e., tackling the paper problem head-on) and then apply semantic and auto-classification technologies.

A clear shift among the leading solutions providers to cloud-first R&D investment strategies; large-scale end users with major on-premise legacy systems are left playing catchup

Users want content management solutions with a clear cloud strategy— even if they say they’re not ready for the cloud right now.

As time goes on, content management capabilities are going to be viewed much less as a monolithic “solution” and much more as a set of capabilities that will be consumed in a much more modular fashion -- tied to the needs of particular business processes. Content capabilities will be tied to processes -- both custom and SaaS. In the end analysis, this is the world that Gartner now calls “Content Services.”

“Retiring” ECM" doesn’t mean the need for ECM capabilities goes away, nor does it mean that everyone should run out and rip out all of those mission-critical ECM systems.  But it DOES mean that what organizations are doing with content has outgrown the traditional definitions.

I think a new “roadmap” of the content space is needed, one that reflects all of the “content-y” things people are doing, how they are approaching them, and all the different flavors of content solutions that exist to solve very different problems.


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About John Mancini

John Mancini is the President of Content Results, LLC and the Past President of AIIM. He is a well-known author, speaker, and advisor on information management, digital transformation and intelligent automation. John is a frequent keynote speaker and author of more than 30 eBooks on a variety of topics. He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as jmancini77. Recent keynote topics include: The Stairway to Digital Transformation Navigating Disruptive Waters — 4 Things You Need to Know to Build Your Digital Transformation Strategy Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve Viewing Information Management Through a New Lens Digital Disruption: 6 Strategies to Avoid Being “Blockbustered” Specialties: Keynote speaker and writer on AI, RPA, intelligent Information Management, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation. Consensus-building with Boards to create strategic focus, action, and accountability. Extensive public speaking and public relations work Conversant and experienced in major technology issues and trends. Expert on inbound and content marketing, particularly in an association environment and on the Hubspot platform. John is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William and Mary, and holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.