Moving beyond ECM: 5 emerging trends

What is happening in the enterprise IT space? And how is it impacting content management?

Consider the following emerging broad trends — trends that will mold and shape the world of content management in both the short and long-term and create a need for a broader and more encompassing industry description than enterprise content management or “ECM.”

1. Emerging trend:

Explosive growth in the volume and variety of data AND content. Billions of new connections between objects — the Internet of Things.

Impact on content management:

Users need to do so much more than just capture documents and information; they need to ingest information of ALL sorts as early as possible into business processes, and standardize and automate these processes. They then need to extract insight from this exploding volume of information and prepare for the era of machine processing and artificial intelligence.

Finally, they need to develop policies and automatic processes to dispose of information without business value.

2. Emerging trend:

Rise of new data-centric technologies — Hadoop, NoSQL, Blockchain.

Impact on content management:

The availability of new tools to manage data at massive scale increases the need for effective management of metadata.

3. Emerging trend:

Incorporation of core content management capabilities in file platforms (Office365, Amazon, Google, IBM/Box, DropBox) and collapsing prices for storage.

Impact on content management:

Add-on core content management is increasingly under price pressure, driving many solution providers to shift their focus to applications and solutions.

4. Emerging trend:

Expanding and increasingly challenging national and regional compliance and regulatory demands — and the growth of cloud and privacy “nationalism.”

Impact on content management:

Organizations need to take as much of the human element as possible out of governance by first converting everything to digital form (i.e., tackling the paper problem head-on) and then by applying semantic and auto-classification technologies.

5. Emerging trend:

A clear shift among the leading solutions providers to cloud-first R&D investment strategies; large-scale end users with major on-premises legacy systems are left playing catchup.

Impact on content management:

Users want content management solutions with a clear cloud strategy — even if they say they’re not ready for the cloud right now.

As time goes on, people will view content management capabilities much less as a monolithic “solution” and much more as a set of capabilities that will be consumed in a much more modular fashion – tied to the needs of particular business processes. Content capabilities will be tied to processes – both custom and SaaS.

In the end analysis, this is the world that Gartner now calls “Content Services.”

So is “Content Services” really all there is? Is “ECM” really dead? The term might be straining a bit, but the idea isn’t. We think the conversation is a bit more complicated (and to be fair, so does Gartner).

Find out more in our new E-book, THE NEXT WAVE: Moving from ECM to Intelligent Information Management.

John Mancini

John Mancini

John Mancini is the Chief Evangelist and Past President of AIIM. He is a well-known author and speaker on information management and digital transformation. As a frequent keynote speaker, John offers his expertise on Digital Transformation and the struggle to overcome Information Chaos. He blogs under the title Digital Landfill (, has more than 10,000 Twitter followers and a Klout score in the 60s. He has published more than 15 e-books, the most recent being Infonomics: How Do You Measure the Value of Information?, Content Management 2020, Information Professionals: Where We Came From and Where We’re Going, and Information Chaos vs. Information Opportunity. You can find John on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as jmancini77.

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