The year 2020 sounds, on paper, like a lifetime away. However, in reality, it's a date that should be on the calendars of business leaders all over Australia. Why? Because everything will have changed by then.
"[By 2020], ECM as we know it will be gone, but content will be more important than ever,"
John Mancini, President of the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) and advocate for smart business change, suggested that in just five years, enterprise content management will have changed dramatically – though the value of business Information Assets will always remain.
"[By 2020], ECM as we know it will be gone, but content will be more important than ever," Mr Mancini said in a recent presentation.
More specifically, the organisation and its President said we are on the cusp of entering a sixth era of content management. Looking at the previous ages, we've come a long way, and the road is not yet clear as to where we're heading, as the AIIM explained in its Thinking Beyond ECM report.
- 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: ???
Preparing for the unknown
The new era may not yet be set in stone, but businesses should be prepared for it. The necessity to do so is only compounded by the amount of information making its way into the business and the challenges felt by every level of an organisation.
Mr Mancini touched on the problem in his presentation: The volume of digital information a business is collecting is increasing by 50 per cent every year. As we try to control and harness such large quantities of data without governance, business instability is becoming more likely. The right information will become lost under mountains of useless data, making finding important documents needed for things like compliance a much more difficult task – that is, unless information is properly managed.
The volume of digital information a business is collecting is increasing by 50 per cent every year.
When riding a dead horse, dismount!
This increase in information creates an unsustainable situation for businesses that should be addressed; however, many executives don't know where to start, and still they spur the dead horse they're riding.
The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, which is the position many CEOs find themselves in – and it must drive them to insanity spending time and money only for nothing to change.
Information can inspire change management, as long as it is aligned with the business's key goals, has governance built around it and managed with authority.
Whatever the new era brings, the common business drivers we see today – namely, managing people, processes and information – will remain the same. Preparation should be made by taking a business-wide approach to managing data. This can be done today.
The AIIM President'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!"