John F. Mancini

By: John F. Mancini on October 1st, 2010

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An #ECM Urban Legend -- Or Ironically, "Does anyone have the actual Document?"

coopers  |  8 things  |  erm  |  lybrand  |  content management  |  ecm  |  document management  |  social media  |  records management  |  Industry statistics and research

OK, I've got a confession to make.

Am I guilty of spreading an urban legend? Yikes.

Many of us cite a 1998 study by Coopers & Lybrand (1998) in our presentations...

Some of the typical data points...

  • 90% of corporate memory exists on paper
  • Out of pages that get handled in the office, 90% are merely shuffled
  • The average document gets copied 19 times
  • Companies spend an estimated $20 inlabor to file a document, $120 in labor to find a misfiled document, and $220 in labor to reproduce a lost document
  • 7.5% of all documents get lost, 3% of the remainder get misfiled, a total 10.5% of problematic documents
  • Professionals spend 5-15% of their time reading information, but spend 50% looking for it
  • A typical worker spends thirty minutes to two hours a day searching for documents

Etc. Etc.

We've all used this information or a variant of it a MILLION times in presentations.

A question -- Does anyone have the original report? Does anyone know the actual name of the report?

One of the presenters at our ECM Seminars mentioned the data, and an attendee asked for the original source.

Having used the data a million times myself, I searched first my hard drive.  No dice.

Then the web. No dice. Many references to the "1998 Coopers & Lybrand report," no actual copy or link.


So, just to satisfy my compulsiveness, does anyone have the actual report? I am offering a bounty and more importantly, fame and fortune in the content management community to anyone who can deliver the actual report to me.

I will give a free AIIM membership for a year ($125) for anyone who can satisfy my curiosity and can deliver the actual report to my email.

While I'm at it cleaning up loose ends, how about the ORIGINAL source for an even more difficult one -- "80% of the information in organizations is unstructured."  Same deal.





About John F. Mancini

John Mancini, president and CEO of AIIM, is an author, speaker, and respected leader of the AIIM global community of information professionals. He is a catalyst in social, mobile, cloud, and big data technology adoption and an advocate for the new generation of experts who are driving the future of information management. John predicts that the next three years will generate more change in the way we deploy enterprise technologies and whom we trust with this task than in the previous two decades. His passion about the evolution of information workers into information analysts spurred John to establish the Certified Information Professional (CIP) program to enable anyone, anywhere to benchmark and develop new and strategic skills. His commitment to education includes the continual development of leading-edge training and publishing of ongoing industry research to help guide new thinking. As a frequent keynote speaker, John offers his expertise on the transformational challenges and opportunities facing information professionals and attracts over 100,000 visitors annually to his blog Digital Landfill. He has published six e-book titles including “#OccupyIT — A Technology Manifesto for Cloud, Mobile and Social Era” and the popular “8 Things You Need to Know About” e-book series. He has a Klout score in the high 60s, is ranked #5 in online SharePoint influence by and #42 in the KnowledgeLake SharePoint Influencer50. John can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as jmancini77.