ECM and Enterprise 2.0 – AIIM Throws Numbers on the Wall


Enterprise 2.0 is a growing theme out there in the wild of the Internet. This is especially true in the world of ECM where vendors are looking to add all those “Web 2.0” features to their platforms. EMC, Open Text, and IBM are all releasing new “Enterprise 2.0” products. It is a smart play because people with ECM and collaboration tools are looking to their vendors to provide the newest Enterprise 2.0 features in the “next upgrade”.

AIIM saw this trend a while ago and did some research.  In May, AIIM updated their research. I was “lucky” enough (lucky being defined as someone who follows AIIM leaders on Twitter and clicks on links) to get an early copy of the results, AIIM Industry Watch: Collaboration and Enterprise 2.0, on Friday before the general announcement of availability. I thought I would share what I found.

Numbers, Numbers, Everywhere…

The survey was completed for 2 weeks in May and respondents were primarily AIIM members or otherwise associated with AIIM. Invitations were sent by email, and broadcast over Twitter. It wasn’t the most scientific approach to gathering respondents as the respondents were most likely either a) Dedicated AIIM members or b) ECM people with an Enterprise 2.0 interest. Next year it would be interesting to know the demographics regarding the respondents’ experience in the ECM field.

As a whole, the report is very good and I recommend registering at AIIM, no cost, to download your copy. There are lots of cool facts and useful tidbits in the report. Some interesting things

  • 71% agree that it’s easier to locate “knowledge” on the Web than it is to find it on internal systems. A sad fact and reality in most organizations, though technology won’t solve the problem if the culture doesn’t match.
  • Whereas almost all companies would not dream of sending out un-approved press releases or web pages, less than 1 in 5 have any sign-off procedures for blogs, forums, and even the company’s Wikipedia entry. I checked my company’s entry and found it MIA. My parent company has one and it is very sad. Something to take care of soon.
  • 39% use marked-up paper copies and 83% email suggestions and changes when collaborating on documents. Respondents could select three answers, and those were the top two. Those are scary numbers when you recall that AIIM people are the ones responding to this survey.
  • 43% have a lack of understanding regarding Enterprise 2.0 tools that is impeding any efforts. That lack of understanding must be driving some of the poor manual collaboration in the previous point.  Would love to correlate that data.
  • 47% use SharePoint team sites to collaborate more than any other platform. SharePoint is now the Borg of the ECM world.  Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

One more thing, the glossary in the back is great.

Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story

As you might have guessed, there are more numbers than you will know what to do with once you get the report.  This is possibly the greatest thing about the white paper. It is also the problem.

Having dabbled in statistics, I tend to look at numbers and try and find the gaps. The gap that I repeatedly see here is the missing comparison between last year’s numbers and this year’s numbers. Occasional references are made regarding some trends, but the raw data is missing for the most part.  That is a shame.

When something is new, like Enterprise 2.0, measuring the current adoption, drivers, and understanding is only half of the picture.  What gives the full picture is the amount of change over time. Let’s take a random example…

(Imagine me flipping to a page with no notes.)

The questions regarding Levels of Personal Use, illustrated on page 6, show how respondents use various technologies for personal and business uses. Knowing the results from a year before would be useful. 40% of respondents at least consume information in corporate social networks, with about a third of them also contributing. That seems pretty good, unless last year had 35% consuming. I suspect the number is actually closer to 18% (don’t know though), which would paint a picture of a technology rapidly growing in usage.

There are a few places that do show last year’s numbers, but while very useful, they mostly serve to show the void in other places.

Analyze This

There are some nice numbers regarding ROI needs and business drivers. This section highlights another gap, the lack of analysis.  I wouldn’t mind some analysis behind those numbers.  Is ROI more important in some industries, or company sizes, than others? Is there a correlation, or lack thereof, between the ROI need and the other drivers?

This report just keeps making me want to dig deeper into the numbers to find meaning. Those people that use 45%, what is the breakout of their numbers?  Do they use/understand Enterprise 2.0 more or less than the rest of the population. Are they planning on spending more money overall in the near future? More money than the respondents or less? Oh the possibilities.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the report.  I just wish there was more of it.

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