The topics we focused on this year seem to reflect the "next generation" of the topics we focused on last year - showing that the ECM Market has indeed progressed, although, rather slowly in the past year.
In fact, a focus on the state of the market is how we kicked off the day, with a presentation from Melissa Webster, who provided the latest research from IDC. Discussion immediately ensued when Melissa proposed that there is no ECM market, per se, but rather a compound market comprised of multiple individual technology markets such as enterprise search, workflow, BPM, social platforms, document management, records management, etc.. Like many IT departments, Melissa conceded that IDC is heavily siloed in the way it approaches ECM. Perhaps while not a big problem for IDC, this can be a big issue for IT shops and their respective organizations, who do not appreciate that the silos need to be torn down, figuratively, and integrated to work as a single system, in order to achieve maximum benefit. That "end result", a few of us proposed, is "ECM". This of course led to a sub-topic near and dear to my heart, and a handful of other participants, "Should the industry look for a term beyond ECM?". Readers of this blog know what I have to say about that. Similarly Laurence Hart shared his often stated opinion on the matter - in favor of keeping the term, lest he have to re-educate his market on a new term - and for what value?
Melissa, with encouragement from EMC, brought up the phrase "case management" as a way to describe application specific instances of ECM, a term currently in use within EMC. The term does not seem to offer any more clarity on labeling ECM ... We moved on ...
Melissa shared that SharePoint users as a subgroup of the survey population emerged as the most vocal concerning the lack of content management in the organization. SharePoint was characterized not so much as a content management tool, as a content creation and sharing tool - often leading to proliferation of unmanaged content.
Interestingly enough, despite technology advances in the ECM world, the business drivers behind investments in ECM have not changed for years: securing intellectual property, creating a repository of record and compliance. Despite the many forward thinking benefits that are possible with a robust ECM system, business investments stay mired in mundane security issues. Despite the efforts of many analysts (including yours truly) the norm in the market is to invest in these technologies when content security and compliance are at issue, as opposed to a way to radically change publishing models and the value derived from enterprise content.
There was a glimmer of hope. Mobility of the workforce and ECM-sharing devices are creating an impetus to re-examine the value and potential of ECM. (Another issue I have blogged about many times.)
This was a great segueway into Andrew Chapman's presentation, which was really more of a discussion on "If all the obstacles to ECM adoption - e.g., user/culture acceptance, networks bandwidth, cost, security, etc.- were to go away, what would you do with ECM?"
Some discussion ensued around the possibilities of providing ECM as a consumer-oriented commodity. Most of us believed that there was a market potential for a personal ECM platform dor "everyday users" of the web who face fragmented functionality and repositories such as FliCkr, FaceBook, SlideShare, etc. Mike Vizard even offered a product name - "MyCrap.com". Beyond this however, the discussion fell back on issues regarding SharePoint and other "real word/mundane" issues, despite ongoing encouragement from Andrew to ignore these. I guess that similar to many business managers, it is difficult to think of ECM in a vision for the future when there are so many immediate issues and problems to deal with.
This provided the perfect segueway to Ralph's presentation on eDiscovery (talk about real and present issues). Ralph's presentation was the most repetitive from the year before - but that was very telling in and of itself. Talk about not applying ECM in new ways. Despite the importance of the issue, most organizations have yet to really effectively address eDiscovery, especially applying advanced search technology to the situation. As Ralph shared, the situation is only getting worse as business users (and their personal life alter egos) find more and more ways to create and save content online. The picture that Ralph paints is frightening, as he explains that without proper management, the sheer cost of discovery can undermine the administration of justice. I encourage those of you who would like to better understand this issue to view his excellent video.
Whitney however, offered a ray of sunshine. Not all organizations are under-utilizing ECM. EMC Documentum has assembled a Leadership Council for Information Advantage, an advisory group made up
of global information leaders from brand-name enterprises. These individuals are visionaries and have taken ECM in their respective organizations beyond "the usual." They have already published a report, available for download in which they share lessons learned, best practices, and expert guidance on how to
transform information into business value. One finding that jumped out of Whitney's overview was that Cloud was a game changer that cannot be ignored.
We concluded our day with a presentation from Bryant Duhon, in which he painted a "realistic" picture of social media. Bryant started by agreeing with comments made by Ralph earlier, that social media and social computing are very real and increasingly popular. But, as an early practitioner, he felt there were no real best practices to speak of. There are no "experts" in Bryant's opinion as the technology and its application is nascent.
Ah yes, and so the growth and impact of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 from a business, legal challenge and technology perspective is very likely to be a focal point for next year's summit. Stay tuned...