You may have missed it, but last week, Jean Marie Pascal posted an interview with me on his blog. It was a fun exercise, though it took a while as our schedules precluded quick email responses (my delay being the longer of the two). JM hung in there with me and the interview was finally completed.
If you have been missing the joy of reading fresh posts by me, then the interview will be a nice read. It covers ECM, Documentum, Open Source and a little about me. Share and Enjoy.
This Little ECM Definition Comment
If you went and read the interview, you may have seen my comment on the definition of ECM. I criticized AIIM’s ECM definition as being tool centric. Bryant Duhon, the Infonomics editor, challenged me on this, saying that Strategy was definitely in the definition. I hadn’t responded previously because I knew this was a response. Well, here it is…
Bryant, you cheated. Maybe not intentionally, but you did.
Let me explain. When I first criticized the definition, it was more tools/technology focused. Sometime in the recent past, AIIM changed their definition to this:
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists.
The word “technologies” was replaced with “strategies, methods and tools”. I will state right now that my statement from the interview is no longer relevant, though I still am not found of the tool component. Here are some other issues I have with the definition:
- This definition still has no soul. As I pointed out two years ago, It has no passion. If a definition of ECM makes me want to work in another field, then it needs to be looked at closely.
- I do not like the phrase “related to organizational processes”. I know that if you look deep enough, every piece of content is tied to some sort of formal or ad-hoc process. This phrase just feels too confining and screams formal process. All organizational content is involved. The second sentence covers that to some extent, but it is the second sentence.
- The second sentence is too long. Not in size, but some words should be removed. “ECM tools and strategies allow…” should be changed to “ECM is…”. While that isn’t a complete definition, I feel it is more correct and should probably be first after being modified. The first sentence addresses the practice of ECM while the second one is closer to actually defining it.
Now my proposed definition should be open to full analysis and critique in response. I know my definition isn’t perfect. Then again, I’ve gotten no negative feedback so maybe it is perfect. I doubt that is the case, so I open it up to your review again:
Enterprise Content Management is the empowerment of all content within an organization. This is accomplished through the centralized management of content, allowing for people and systems to access and manage content from within any business context using platform agnostic standards.
Dare to dream.