The Value of the ECM Experience

I submit that people that have lived the life of what today we call the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry have an advantage within the Microsoft SharePoint community. 

imageECM used to be called KM, or Knowledge Management. I may be biased, but from what I’m seeing the people that have built their careers in this space have an advantage in getting started with SharePoint. Note: With the release of SharePoint 2010 this may be a short lived phenomenon as the ramp is getting flatter.

  What is ECM?
  In a very broad definition ECM encapsulates everything and anything that can be considered “enterprise” content – which means everything from paper to content that has been “born digital” and the resulting forms these take when they are put into storage (aka – The 4th pillar)

Are They Better?

No, not better. Just advantaged in the way their thinking has been formed around designing, developing and deploying solutions that manage business critical information – both in digital and other forms (paper, tapes, physical objects, etc.).

imageThey have also learned that Paper is an Asset and one that needs to be managed wisely. They have learned that almost anything can be considered enterprise content. This can be both a boon and a bane – which is one area where experience in the KM / ECM world helps. And they have also learned that content in storage doesn’t always stay in storage.

image Systems and procedures have been developed over many years – arguably starting in the form of library sciences and being adapted to newer forms of technology. Bringing us to today with SharePoint and it’s newfound proclamation that SharePoint is a Platform.  

What about other skills?

image There are a lot of other areas where those with industry expertise can and will take advantage of SharePoint. With the rise in popularity of SharePoint and it’s continued march towards world domination (100M CALs, $1.3B in Sales) it’s an open field for people with skills from every horizontal or vertical industry to extend the 3D’s.  Where the 3D’s are Design, Develop and Deploy.


Solutions have already been developed to extend and enhance the capabilities of SharePoint in numerous horizontal industries --- CRM, ERP, SCM, etc. Many more are coming for vertical markets such as Government, Healthcare and several industries that traditionally have used The Big Three ECM vendors like Media & Entertainment and Energy Services.

Take Advantage of Them

For companies that have a few employees that have lived the ECM / KM life … take advantage of their experiences and skills. For those that don’t … not to worry. The ramp up time is getting faster with the rise of SharePoint 2010.

SharePoint as a platform is just getting started. The people that grew up in the KM and now ECM world have an advantage … for a little while.

What do you think?

  • Did you gain your industry expertise in the KM / ECM trenches?
  • Is being a relative newcomer to the SharePoint world a hindrance?
  • Can SharePoint really be considered a Platform?

I’d like to hear you comments and to start a dialogue with you. If you or your company have developed solutions for SharePoint I’d like to hear about them.

Image Credits: AIIM

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the last 20 years working in various aspects of the ECM industry. I am currently with
Kodak as a Director of Business Development. In my past I have spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and at Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.


Bob Larrivee said…
Well said! The realization that paper is an asset is an interesting perspective in that the content, or what is actually written on the paper is the asset. When converted to digital format the value of this asset increased through better management and access as a result of removing it from the paper silo.
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