Content Analytics Fast Becoming an Essential Business Tool, Says New AIIM Research

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Three-quarters of enterprises say that there is real value to be gained from content analytics, both in business insight and risk mitigation.

Organizations are drowning in content...

Content analytics is fast becoming a pivotal business tool, with six in 10 enterprises saying it will be essential within five years’ time, according to new research with business leaders by independent information management analysts, AIIM.

Three-quarters of enterprises in the AIIM study, ‘Content Analytics: automating processes and extracting knowledge’ believe there is real business insight to be gained from content analytics, further highlighting its position as a technology that adds true value to an organization.

Content analytics – which analyzes and derives insight from inbound and legacy content - is also seen as increasingly essential to addressing risks associated with incorrectly identified content. Respondents felt auto-classification of content helps protect against security breaches, sensitive or offensive content, and exposure to compliance regulations. More than half of enterprises (54 percent) feel that their organization is at considerable risk from such threats.

“The sheer volume of legacy content, combined with increasing volumes of new inbound content, mean that content analytics has the potential to be the single most valuable tool at an enterprise’s disposal,” said Doug Miles, AIIM’s chief analyst. “It can provide meaning and insight to content and help protect organizations from risks associated with unclassified content. But content analytics programs need strategic direction and people with the right skills to realize the potential. Organizations must look to address these shortfalls as a priority.”

Despite contact analytics’ potential, 80 percent of survey respondents have yet to allocate a senior role to initiate and coordinate analytics applications. This lack of designated leadership and shortfall of analytics skills is restricting the potential and holding back the deployment of content analytics tools, according to almost two-thirds (63 percent) of the research respondents.

‘Dark data’ - content that contains sensitive or personally identifiable information about customers or staff, or has business sensitivity - has long been an issue for many enterprises. The AIIM research shows that dealing with dark data was a big driver for deploying content analytics, with other drivers including process productivity improvements, additional business insight, and adding value to legacy content.

Around three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents feel that enhancing the value of legacy content is better than wholesale deletion, while more than half (53 percent) say that auto-classification using content analytics is the only way to get content chaos under control.

But as inbound capture extends across more and more types of content, especially where the digital mailroom concept is employed (centrally or distributed), respondents see recognition of content types and automated routing to specific processes as useful.

“Organizations are drowning in content and staying on top of high volume, multi-channel, inbound content is fast becoming one of the major challenges for any enterprise, especially if they rely on manual processes,” continued Miles. “Automated handling is as accurate as humans, and more consistent. It is encouraging to see most respondents expect to spend more on content analytics in the next 12 months, including auto-classification.”

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents say that content analytics is either essential (17 percent) or something they definitely need (48 percent).
  • Thirty-four percent of organizations are using content analytics for process automation, information governance, contextual search or business insight.
  • Benefits from inbound analytics include faster flowing processes (50 percent), happier staff (32 percent) and improved governance (20 percent).
  • Content analytics early adopters are already seeing the benefits, with 68 percent reporting ROI within 18 months or less.
  • Most survey respondents expect to spend more on content analytics in the next 12 months.
  • Incoming customer communications and help desk streams top the list for live or near-time alerting.

“We have seen increasing interest and adoption in recognition and routing of inbound content, automated classification of records and email, metadata addition and correction, and all of the improvements in access, security, de-duplication and retention that flow from this,” concluded Miles. “But content analytics can offer so much more than this, with many applications and uses yet to come, and by 2020 will be one of the primary tools used by any enterprise.”

The research for ‘Content Analytics: automating processes and extracting’ was underwritten in part by Kofax, Rocket Software, SPS and OpenText.

The full report, which includes a number of recommendations for progress, is free to download at

The survey was taken using a web-based tool by 238 individual members of the AIIM community between April 17, 2015, and May 8, 2015.

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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