What does the future of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) hold? John Mancini, one of the world’s leading ECM experts, has some thoughts on the matter. Let’s take a look his predictions and how they might tie into the day-to-day operations of organizations currently using ECM.

Mancini’s Law

John Mancini is an author, speaker, and President of AIIM International, a community of information professionals. He’s on record stating that in the next five years there will be a wave of digital transformation that will change the way organizations do business. He’s a keynote speaker, frequent blogger, and the author of seven books. He may be most well known as the creator of Mancini’s Law, which is made up of three principles:

  1. At their core, organizations are systems of information networks. They’re only capable of operating effectively if information flowing between their networks is both clear and predictable.
  2. Half of annual growth in the volume of digital information is evidence that networks and the links between them are going to become more and more unstable.
  3. If intervention doesn’t take place, information chaos will result.

The Future of ECM

Mancini believes that there’s going to be an explosion of content and information. He bases this on oodles of data and research. This “post-ECM” Era should hit us by 2020. Experts agree that this is good news. Recent research shows that more than two-thirds of organizations currently consider ECM/DM as mission-critical, and one-third believe that they’d have to deal with “serious disruption” if there was an outage of their ECM/DM for just a single hour.

The research further showed that 52% of organizations have at least three ECM/DM/RM systems. 22% say they have more than five.

So, when Mancini discusses the downfall of the term enterprise content management, he’s not discussing a diminished need for content management. Instead, he compares it to people using words and phrases like personal computer, World Wide Web, and Internet Protocol. It’s his belief that before long, ECM will be an old-fashioned term that only those with old-fashioned lexicons will use.

This isn’t to say that ECM is going anywhere. However, it should come as no surprise that the tech industry is always on the move, and according to recent AIIM research, ECM is not necessarily going away, but will soon be a quaint—and inaccurate—way to describe all that ECM does. In short: ECM isn’t going anywhere, but the term is no longer deemed fit for its purpose.

So Why Is ECM Soon to Be Past Its Prime?

If so many organizations are so committed to ECM and similar software, why do experts believe the term is soon to be an antiquated one? Huge changes to the workplace driven by a wide range of collaborative technologies, mobile use, new analytics, and cloud options are going to change the way organizations see and use ECM.

The truth is that the ECM industry needs a new label, and this fact points toward an industry that’s in transition. It’s an interesting idea: what future is the industry moving toward? Should the industry begin to try and find a new name for what it will inevitably morph into? Or will ECM disappear as a separate concept and start to become just a part of the IT background? Is there a new place for ECM all together?

The Main Driver for Using ECM

To really understand the future of ECM, it’s important to understand how and why organizations are using it. 40% of organizations polled said their main reasons for using their ECM were to lower costs and boost efficiency. 33% said it was to ensure compliance and to reduce risk, while 18% said it was for ECM’s collaborative properties and 9% said it was for customer-service purposes.

52% of those responding are in the midst of working on establishing ECM capabilities for their entire organization, while only 14% have completed total integration. 16% said they’re in the process of integration across numerous departments, while 22% admit they are in the departmental mode. 10% want to replace their existing ECM with a new one. A surprising 62% of organizations in the study said they are still very reliant on their file sharing programs, while 15% say they’ve largely replaced file sharing with ECM and only 1% have turned it off entirely.

What does this say about ECM? Certainly it’s clear that there’s room for more integration with file sharing. If only 1% have moved entirely away from file sharing to ECM, then it’s clear the ECM industry should boost their efforts to make file sharing easier. There are also various changes that could be made to make it simpler for organizations to roll their ECM out to cover all departments as a company-wide solution.