The Evolution of ECM and the Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECM, 2011

While the stand-out fact in this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECM, 2011, was the 7.6 percent growth in the ECM industry, even in a down economy and as organizations tighten their tech investment belts, what’s more remarkable is the rapid evolution of enterprise content management as a strategic business solution. 

Gone are the days when ECM was little more than a means by which companies transformed paper documentation into electronic information and then organized and disseminated that information to employees and staff. That still occurs, but it is really now only a foundational piece to a much larger solution.

Or, truly, solutions, because every organization is as different as the business content and process challenges they face. You see, it’s about more than knowing where your information is and how to quickly access it. It’s about leveraging that information in a meaningful way so that you can achieve your specific organizational goals, all the while taking care to achieve just the right balance of focus and flexibility in that endeavor.

What do I mean by this?

I’m saying think of your ECM solution holistically – beyond what you want to capture and how you want to capture it. Consider who will access this information. When will they do it and why? Is your audience an admissions staff? Or a business decision maker whose office is in the air or on the road? Is that information critical to keeping your business moving forward, to beating the competition or better serve a constituent?

In other words, are you leveraging your information in a meaningful way? Do you have a protocol in place should your admissions staff get snowed in during the busiest time of year? Can your managers and executives make decisions via their mobile phones whether they’re in Boston or Bermuda?

A strategic ECM solution must have the flexibility to help answer those questions. It must work in concert with other software solutions, to accurately capture, process and quickly distribute information to staff when and where they need it, and connect the content dots that allow organizations to gain the competitive advantage, better serve their constituents – or both.

Strategic ECM vendors will help organizations elevate their game by focusing on speed of deployment, getting organizations up and running faster, putting them ahead of the competition sooner or offering improved services to constituents faster.

After all, the strategic use of ECM is a differentiator for today’s organizations. And there is ample opportunity to become even more competitive using ECM technology.

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