ECM in 2020: Entering the sixth era


Information – an asset you can no longer afford to ignore.

“[By 2020], ECM as we know it will be gone, but content will be more important than ever,” — John Mancini (@jmancini77)

We have spent years focusing on the ‘T’ part of the IT equation. Now we are moving into an era in which we really need skills to help manage the ‘I’ part – the information that actually flows through those pipes that we have created.

The year 2020 should be on the calendars of business leaders. Why? Because everything will have changed by then.

AIIM published this report, Content Management 2020: Thinking Beyond ECM, stating that we are entering a sixth era of content management:

  • Pre-1960s: Paper content
  • 1960s-1970s: Micrographic content
  • 1980s: Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • 1990s: Document management (DM) and workflow
  • 2000s: Enterprise content management (ECM)
  • 2020 onwards: ???

Whatever the new era brings, the common business drivers we see today – managing people, processes and information – will remain the same. Preparation should be made by taking a business-wide approach to managing data.

The John Mancini’s advice is clear: “New best practices are desperately needed.” Or, for businesses tempted to ignore the warning signs in the face of a quickly changing corporate environment: “When riding a dead horse, dismount!”


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