AIIM Research Reveals that Content Chaos Still Reigns at Most Enterprises

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Stunning 82 percent of firms lack an enterprise-wide content management solution, and half of all content still sits outside ECM systems.

Organizations on average manage two or more Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Document Management (DM) or Records Management (RM) systems according to a new survey conducted by AIIM. Even with multiple systems in place, approximately half of content is held in non-ECM/DM systems, and a stunning 82 percent of firms lack an enterprise-wide ECM solution.

AIIM’s research, “ECM at the Crossroads,” looks at the ECM installed base as companies wrestle with content management challenges in the face of of evolving business priorities, mobile access, cloud, social and email management, as well as, industry-specific requirements and spending plans. Of the 538 survey respondents only 18 percent have implemented a company-wide ECM solution. While an additional 36 percent say they are working toward a central ECM solution, many questions remain across the board.

Where there was once a clear roadmap for ECM – migrate all the content into a centralized system – there is now uncertainty about the best way to achieve such key goals as universal access to information, comprehensive compliance and information governance controls, cost efficiency and greater collaboration. As new technologies have emerged, information professionals are at a crossroads both at a macro decision level and at a more granular level around issues such as how to grant access to mobile devices or move content into the cloud.

“The industry has experienced such rapid change over the past few years that enterprises are finding it difficult to adapt and still deal with the explosion of dynamic content,” said AIIM President John Mancini. “With the rise of the service economy, information is a strategic asset that needs to be managed centrally, but the reality is far more complex with content spread across multiple ECM systems and file shares as well as in ERP, HR and Finance systems. In today’s business world, companies that can improve their approach to content management will rise to the top.”

Information sharing and collaboration is a key priority with 64 percent of respondents acknowledging the importance of the corporate knowledge base. Even with strong interest and steady advances in search technologies, the ability to track down information from across an organization is very much a work in progress. According to respondents, more than half of all their content resides outside the ECM system, making search and access a pervasive problem, while also raising concerns about information sprawl.

There’s no question that poor access to information is a major problem, exacerbated by the fact that most content strategies are still in the PC-era. Even though mobile devices have gained nearly universal acceptance, only 11 percent of the respondents give their users a mobile-optimized browser interface to their ECM and only 10 percent offer some sort of mobile apps.

When it comes to the cloud, AIIM’s survey results indicate that companies are taking an incremental approach. Using the cloud for ECM is often considered an all or nothing decision – and few organizations are fully embracing the cloud or Software as a Service for all their content – but many are willing to move certain ECM applications individually to the cloud. Leading the way, somewhat surprisingly, was records management with 14 percent already doing it and 33 percent considering it. To be sure, reservations about the cloud remain, with 46 percent saying they are unlikely to deploy any cloud-based content.

Other key findings in the AIIM report include:

  •     ECM is primarily used for document management or file-share replacement by 78 percent, records management for 66 percent and collaboration for 46 percent.
  •     Although only 3 percent of organizations have turned off file-share, 12 percent have largely replaced it with ECM and 34 percent plan to turn it off.
  •     For 45 percent mobile access to content is very important or vital.
  •     More than one in four organizations face a dilemma with their cloud strategy.
  •     Users are more likely to build an internal social platform as part of on-premise ECM.
  •     Spend on software licenses is set to increase in the next 12 months.

For a more detailed analysis, the full report, “ECM at the Crossroads – key strategy choices for universal content access,” can be downloaded from the AIIM website at The research was underwritten by ASG, Alfresco, K2, Kofax, Hyland Software and SpringCM.

About AIIM
AIIM has been an advocate and supporter of information professionals for 70 years. The association’s mission is to ensure that information professionals understand the current and future challenges of managing information assets in an era of social, mobile, cloud and big data. Founded in 1943, AIIM builds on a strong heritage of research and member service. Today, AIIM is a global, non-profit organization that provides independent research, education and certification programs to information professionals. AIIM represents the entire information management community, with programs and content for practitioners, technology suppliers, integrators and consultants.

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Rob Goodman
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