Why We Don’t Have an Enterprise Data Management Problem

Finally pulling out the analogy to end all analogies in the argument of whether or not Enterprise Content Management is dead or alive. Honestly, it never existed and we need to focus on Content Services. Dan Antion, an AIIM Board Member, disagrees with me. While I never let someone disagreeing with me slow me down, Dan is a smart guy and a friend. When he feels that ECM is alive and real, I pay attention.

I have one question for Dan. How is his Enterprise Data Management system working out?

Data Services

For many, that is Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, or a combination of databases. You even need a database to run most Content Management Systems.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you buy a database to manage data or to support a business system?
  • Do you have a data problem or a finance/accounting problem?
  • Do you try to put all your business databases in the same repository? The same server?

Business applications consume data services. Later, analytics are applied to the data to derive business value using a Business Intelligence tool, or some “Big Data” tool like Hadoop, if the characteristics of the data require it.

Sure, organizations have a preferred database solution, but they don’t automatically have a giant database farm. They allow exceptions when needed and have instances that are paired with the business solution it is supporting.

Ask yourself this. How many Oracle shops are running SharePoint (which requires SQL Server)? More than one, less than a million. Is this viewed as a problem?


Why don’t we do this with Content Management? Sure, it is a more complex technology, but we’ve solved most of the tech problems. We haven’t addressed how we address the business side of the equation.

Equal Treatment for Content

We aren’t solving Content problems. We are solving Business problems that involve Content.

Just as we move Sales tracking from Excel to Salesforce, we need to take proposal tracking from the local disk and email into our CRM. Customer Relationship (sales) is the business solution.

In the same way that all business solutions let data specialists manage the data in the applications, those same business solutions need to let content specialists manage the Content.

ECM? Chase it if you want. In 10 years I’ll be relaxing on my back deck while you are wondering what the hell happened.

3 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Have an Enterprise Data Management Problem

  1. Lee Smith says:

    ECM does not need to be platform and technology focussed. It can, and should, be an approach, a framework, for an organisation to ensure that the content they hold serve the business processes it needs to. Are we just getting into terms and semantics? As long as we don’t use the word Digital 😉


    • The key is the approach. The ECM mindset is the broken part. If we shift terms, it will help people divorce themselves from that approach.


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