Today, content and content management continue to be viewed as distinct entities. However, as per AIIM, the global community of information professionals, by 2020 content management will increasingly relegate as a background force. The organization’s ongoing discussions with industry leaders in 2014 have brought to fore some key conclusions about the state of Content Management in 2020.

Let’s look at these breakpoint conclusions –

1. The need for ECM is as old as business itself – In the traditional format, ECM looked to resolve key business challenges of managing people, process and information for:

  • Improving business processes to produce optimal business results; and
  • Documenting or recording those results and the information associated with them

What is observed is that - 

  • The business challenge of managing the right amalgamation of people, process and information does not change
  •  However, the technologies used to manage this amalgamation do change with time

In each of these eras, it took time to establish protocols and practices. And by the time these were enforced, a new era was unleashed, bringing with it, its own set of challenges and protocol tweaking needs.

2. The preceding five eras

  • Paper Era – Pre-1950s was the paper era, where everything was recorded and documented on paper.
  • Micrographics Era – During 1950s, information stored on microfilm heralded the Micrographics era, especially for recording and documenting.
  • ERP Era – From the 1950s to 1980’s, trend showed enterprises investing in distinct division to look after back office processes for ledgers and automation, leading to the ERP era.
  • Document management and workflow Era – In this era spanning 1980s and 1990s, selected mission critical processes replaced paper with electronic documents in closed LAN systems, accessed and used by select few employees.
  • ECM Era – This era of early 2000s was heralded by modern information-centric digital industry that were termed “Enterprise Content Management” by AIIM. ECM described a blend of capabilities and technologies that organizations used to capture, store, manage, deliver, and preserve the “content” (mostly images and documents) associated with processes

3. Dawn of the sixth era – The current period signifies moving to the sixth era (the age of the customer) in smart management of people, process and information. This phase is characterized by three key aspects –

  • Today’s consumerization focuses on user centric IT and solutions
  • The demand for any time, anywhere, any device access is echoed by the growing influence of cloud and mobile.
  • Internet of Things is and will gather loads of data – a challenge that presents itself as an opportunity for smart businesses.

These aspects will signal shifts at various levels –

  • New approach to privacy and security, in face of increasing Internet bandwidth
  • Increase in virtual working, and shortage of connective analytic skills
  • An OPEX vs. CAPEX procurement model
  • Firmer control on cloud systems by government

4. The need for Best Practices will be felt very strongly – The advent of the sixth era will bring forth the need for industry best practices in the below critical areas –

  • Risks that accompany this paradigm shift – While some advocate focusing on core areas in information need and letting go of the rest, some propagate this step as a means of creating silos and thus increasing business risks. Whatever be your opinion, clear standards are yet to be chalked out across the board and laid down as industry process
  • Finding opportunity from chaos – The truly sustainable business will be able to make a successful transition from Data to Information to Knowledge to Wisdom. This will be driven by leadership inclined towards digital domain and utilizing it to their advantage.   
  • Prepare well by preparing for customers – While it’s true that highly disruptive changes leading to shift in consumer preferences cannot be predicted well, you can prepare for it by setting the customer servicing benchmark higher than your previous project – every time. Pushing boundaries is the sole way to bring about innovation which will signal a change in what users demand five years from now.
  • The need for a new industry term – As companies blend in analytics, collaboration, governance and processes to manage and leverage information assets more intelligently, the traditional definition of ECM will undergo a change, bringing up the need for a better term that holds all the above factors together.

Get radical yet effective ECM solutions with CIGNEX by your side

CIGNEX Datamatics has garnered substantial experience in setting up and integrating custom ECM solutions as per your business need and current systems infrastructure, in the face of industry transition to the sixth era of managing the amalgamation of people, process and information. Content across your organization can now be easily controlled, managed, stored, shared and accessed, thanks to our expertise built by the 115+ ECM implementations and 1000+ community contributions. We have hands-on experience in leading Open Source products such as

  • Alfresco (for Document Management Software System)
  • Drupal (for Web Content Management)
  • Moodle (for Knowledge Management)
  • Apache SOLR (for Enterprise Search)
  • Activiti (for Business Process Management)