AIIM has recently produced a survey of a subset of its members regarding their use of enterprise content management products. The report, ECM at the Crossroads, is about 35 pages long and is a good reality check on what people are actually doing with ECM — which, the report notes, includes procedures as well as products.

The report is written by Doug Miles, head of the AIIM Market Intelligence Division. It goes into quite some detail but here are some basic findings from the report.

18% of respondents have completed company-wide ECM (an increase from 16% in the organization’s 2011 survey); 54% are in progress or are integrating document management and records management projects across departments (an increase from 48% in 2011), while 5% are looking to replace their existing systems. The most important business drivers are “compliance and risk,” and “costs and productivity,” which are tied.

54% are moving toward a single-vendor suite, with 19% building around a new suite, while 35% are sticking with multiple or best-of-breed solutions. At this point, 75% have more than one ECM/DM/RM system, and 26% have more than four systems already. (4% each have 7-10 systems, and more than 10 systems. Whew.) 11% say they don’t have a strategy at all. 66% use ECM for records management, and 46% use it as a collaboration system for project teams.

Thinking that ECM means you can eliminate file share? Think again. Only 3% have organizations have turned it off, while 12% have largely replaced it with ECM, and 34% plan to.

26% have both capture and image workflow; 34% have separate systems, and 16% plan to bring them together.  In general, AIIM notes, “Only one in five ECM systems are used for all four of the ‘classic’ applications of active document store, records management, collaboration and process workflow.”

In 61% of organizations, half or more of their content is held outside of ECM/DM systems, such as enterprise resource planning, human resources, finance, etc. “This makes it difficult to search, and it is not under records management retention rules,” AIIM notes. And indeed, this would seem to be the sort of content that is most in need of ECM. Only 15%, for example, use ECM for Accounts Payable, which AIIM calls the “poster boy” for optical character recognition and workflow.

Thinking about BYOD? For 31%, mobile access to content is “very important,” while for 14%, it is “vital.” Content needs to be available offline for 25%, while 21% want it for offline editing as well as viewing. 30% need employees to interact with workflows on mobile devices, and 22% consider mobile capture to be “very important.” Remote access from third parties is important for 30%. 57% support content access from company-issued devices, while 32% support compliant BYOD devices — and 22% have what the report refers to as “unofficial mobile access” (also known as “a security incident waiting to happen”). However, only 11% have a mobile-optimized browser interface to their EC, and only 10% have specific mobile apps.

Thinking about the cloud? 21% allow third parties access to an on-premises system through VPN, but only 4% provide access through the cloud. 25% say they are seeing “unofficial use” of cloud file-sharing sites, most of them “consumer grade,” such as Dropbox. (See “security incident waiting to happen.”) 50% say they are unlikely to put content applications in the cloud, for reasons ranging from governance and security to concerns about repository fragmentation and lack of retention rules. (Which, to judge by that “unofficial use” statistic, is already happening.)

Records management is the most popular cloud application, with 47% considering it and 14% already doing it. Other cloud applications, with more than 40% potential support, include forms scanning and capture, HR, finance, and contract management. The biggest reasons for moving to the cloud? Saving money, of course, followed by better multi-site availability and improved mobile access.

And finally, nearly half of the surveyed organizations said they plan to increase the amount of money they spend on storage in the next 12 months (not surprising, if they’re increasing their ECM use), with 10% planning to reduce it. 25% plan to spend more on cloud and software as a service, with 5% spending less. For software licenses, 20% plan to spend more, with 52% planning to spend the same, and few are planning to increase spending in external consulting and outsourcing.

So what does this all mean to you? It’s always instructive to compare your company with the results of such surveys (especially if you're trying to convince your boss), and this one has a lot of meat in it. As you read it, stop and think:

  • Where are you ahead?
  • Where are you behind?
  • How realistic are your strategies moving forward?
  • And, most important, what areas had you never even thought of?

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