Enterprises face ever-increasing volumes of content. The practice of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) attempts to address key concerns such as content storage; effective classification and retrieval; archiving and disposition policies; mitigating legal and compliance risk; reducing paper usage; and more.
However, enterprises looking to execute on ECM strategies face myriad human, organizational, and technology challenges. As a practical matter, enterprises cannot deal with all of these challenges concurrently. Therefore, to achieve business benefits from ECM, enterprises need to work step-by-step, following a roadmap to organize their efforts and hold the attention of program stakeholders.
The ECM Maturity Model (ECM3) elaborated here attempts to provide a structured framework for building such a roadmap, in the context of an overall strategy. (Download PDF | Guiding Consortium) The framework suggests graded levels of capabilities — ranging from rudimentary information collection and basic control through increasingly sophisticated levels of management and integration — finally resulting in a mature state of continuous experimentation and improvement.
- Level 1: Unmanaged
- Level 2: Incipient
- Level 3: Formative
- Level 4: Operational
- Level 5: Pro-Active
Like all maturity models, it is partly descriptive and partly prescriptive. You can apply the model to audit, assess, and explain your current state, as well as inform a roadmap for maturing your enterprise capabilities. It can help you understand where you are over- and under-investing in one dimension or another (e.g., overspending on technology and under-investing in content analysis), so you can re-balance your portfolio of capabilities. The model can also facilitate developing a common vocabulary and shared vision among ECM project stakeholders.