Why is everyone trying to rename ECM?

Over the past year, the industry has noticed that different groups and organizations are trying to rename Enterprise Content Management (ECM), or what others might call Document Management (DM). Namely, AIIM and Gartner are leading the charge to rename ECM. Gartner has begun to refer to ECM and organizations that provide ECM solutions as “Content Services.” While AIIM has recently referred to the same group as “Intelligent Information Management.” The question here is why is everyone trying to rename ECM?

Content Services

Gartner said at the beginning of this year that ECM (in terms of how they define the market) was dead by posting an article about its demise. Their new term, Content Services, was meant to be a more umbrella term for the four primary goals associated with “content” (regulatory compliance and risk management, retention and dissemination of business knowledge, cost and process efficiencies, and innovation and new ways of working). Gartner felt as if the term “Enterprise Content Management” only represented the first of those four goals accurately. Thus, the killing off of ECM and switching to Content Services. Last month, Gartner published their first “Content Services” Magic Quadrant.

Intelligent Information Management

Similar to Gartner’s reasoning for ditching ECM and DM, AIIM has said that ECM was no longer an adequate definition of how organizations interact with content. They have suggested IIM or Intelligent Information Management. Some factors that drove their decision to call it IIM were the Internet-of-Things (IoT), the upcoming GDPR, and the amount of content out there and the various platforms we use to manage that content. AIIM believes that their definition better describes the market space and the strategies associated with content management.

What term do we use?

It is common in industries to have uniform ways to refer to things. However, AIIM and Gartner have put intermediaries, like us, in a tricky position. AIIM and Gartner are both organizations that do extensive research in the enterprise technology space. They are both very reputable sources of information when it comes to industry standards. What does someone like us do when they can’t agree on what to call the marketplace?

We completely understand that the world of enterprise technology is a very quickly changing space, and that the term ECM hasn’t grown up well with its intended market. But until there is a true industry standard for what to call this space, we should stick with ECM or DM. As of right now, more people are familiar with ECM and DM than they are with either of these new terms. Sometime down the road things will change, but it is too early and too soon to write off ECM as a whole and begin to call it something else.

Posted on: November 9, 2017