Reinventing ECM: It’s Not About Big Data, But The Right Data

We know that data – structured (i.e. rows and columns) and (i.e. text and graphics) – is at least doubling every two years and mobile data traffic will increase nearly 11-fold between 2013 and 2018, and a year from now 60% of users will be accessing content applications via mobile devices. However, while everybody is talking about data, Big Data, and analytics, or that up to 80% of this data is essentially digital landfill, all of this data – the good, the bad and the ugly – needs to be managed, even if it’s just to be properly disposed of.

Traditionally, managing that data been primarily grouped under enterprise content management (ECM), which Gartner defines in two ways: first, as a strategic approach that can help enterprises take control of their content and, in so doing, boost effectiveness, encourage collaboration and make information easier to share; and second, as a software toolset that consists of a set of capabilities and/or applications for content life cycle management that interoperate, but that can also be sold and used separately. The ECM market is growing 11.4% annually, and is expected to reach $9.6 billion by 2014 (Sources: Gartner and TechNavio).

Around the same time that Gartner was releasing its ECM Magic Quadrant report, September, Forrester Research announced its Q3 data, assessing 13 ECM vendors: Alfresco Software, , HP Autonomy, , IBM, , , , , , , Unisys, and Xerox. It noted that ECM vendors have moved quickly to deliver a range of hosted services, private cloud, and public cloud offerings for their core products since its last study in 2011.

In a recent interview Greg Milliken, VP Marketing, M-Files, said ECM tools are typically complicated and difficult to use, which leads to low user adoption. Using a variety of sources, the company highlighted a number of enterprise content pain points:

-in 2011 employees wasted 30 minutes a day, or 16 days per year searching for documents, while executives lose about six weeks per year searching for documents (Source: Harmon);

-the typical enterprise with only 1,000 workers wastes $2.5 million to $3.5 million per year searching for nonexistent information, or re-creating information that can’t be found (IDC);

-re-created documents typically cost 11 times more to produce than the original (Coopers & Lybrand);

-allocated disk space in enterprise information systems could be reduced by 41.2% if users used just one shared copy of each document or piece of content (2012 research by AIIM);

-an enterprise employee e-mails two or more documents a day to an average of five people for review, creating 10 new copies per day of documents that are typically stored in multiple locations (2011 study by Harmon); and,

-Forrester’s 2013 ECM WAVE summarizes: “ECM solutions have proven to be one of the most problematic technologies, often requiring users to dramatically change the way they work.” This explains the lower than average adoption rates.

“Providing access to relevant information is our goal,” said Milliken, who pointed to their 97% user adoption as proof they are delivering on that objective. “We call our approach dynamic content management.”

The privately held company has experienced more than 1,000% revenue growth over 2007-2013. Last year it saw 60% growth in its cloud business globally, and 45% growth in on premise implementations.

The company released M-Files 10.0 in November, which featured a new user interface as well as enhanced quality assurance and compliance management capabilities for regulated businesses. A month later it announced the availability of M-Files 10.0 mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Windows Phone devices.

The keys to managing this data deluge is to get lots of people using tools like ECM, and have them do so consistently, said Milliken. Rather than creating silos of information, why not classify information by what it is, not where it is, he asked?

Milliken said that’s where the cloud is exciting. At the core of M-Files’ approach is metadata, and reducing complexity and offering flexibility through cloud, on-premise and hybrid. “Gartner and Forrester saw us as one of the only companies that could deliver a hybrid approach.”


Author: Steve Wexler

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