Managing Enterprise Content: An IDC Maturity Model

Holly Muscolino, Research VP, Content Technologies and Document Workflow, IDC
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Holly Muscolino, Research VP, Content Technologies and Document Workflow, IDC

Holly Muscolino, Research VP, Content Technologies and Document Workflow, IDC

The same technological forces that are driving digital transformation across organizations of all sizes and industries are also driving significant changes in how those organizations create, manage, and consume business content. Cloud, mobility, and social business have engendered an "anytime, anywhere, anyone" paradigm that offers both new opportunities for operational efficiencies and collaboration and new threats to enterprise security and compliance. The sheer magnitude of content in applications and repositories (official and unofficial) offers both the prospect of greater insight through advanced analytics and bigger challenges related to acquiring required documents and information.

Content management technologies have also been evolving. Traditional enterprise content management (ECM) solutions have developed into application suites that often include records management, case management, enterprise capture, and content workflow automation capabilities. Recent innovations from both established vendors and new entrants include modular solutions offering cloud enablement, mobile access, and shift to easier-to-use, low-code/no-code interfaces for business users.

At the same time, we have seen the rise of consumer file synchronization and sharing (FSS) solutions that offer business users ubiquitous, cross-device access to content and easy sharing across business entities. Many of these solutions are morphing into enterprise-grade solutions that address the control and security needs of IT departments. FSS vendors are also adding capabilities traditionally found in ECM offerings.

  Digital transformation initiatives are driving organizations to change the way that they approach, think about, and manage critical business content​  

The boundaries between technologies to manage content are evolving, expanding, morphing, merging, modularizing, and blending, but the requirement for organizations to manage content is as compelling as ever. "Managing" content refers to a number of use cases, including support for content creation and collaboration, providing a source for analytics and cognitive solutions, and serving as the "single source of truth" within an organization. For these reasons, our IDC maturity model—the IDC MaturityScape—looks at managing enterprise content rather than "enterprise content management." We consider the various use cases noted rather than a specific technology category.

To effectively manage enterprise content, organizations must understand the various content-centric use cases and business processes within their own businesses and adopt consistent practices for investment and for developing purpose-driven instantiations of content management technologies based on organizational priorities. This is best accomplished by including content management as a core component in the larger digital transformation initiatives of the organization.

The IDC MaturityScape for managing enterprise content describes the organizational characteristics at five levels of content management maturity, from a completely ad hoc, highly manual approach to one in which the word "management" no longer applies—at least from the human perspective—as artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive solutions largely assume the management roles. It is intended to help organizations evaluate current content management infrastructure and capabilities and identify the steps they need to take to advance to the next stage of maturity.

This IDC MaturityScape includes five stages, with five sub-dimensions across all the stages. Each stage's description and expected business outcomes are described in the figure below. Note that each stage builds on the capabilities of the one that immediately precedes it.

IDC MaturityScape: Managing Enterprise Content Overview

Ad Hoc - "Ad hoc" is an excellent description of this phase, as there is no organized or coordinated strategy for managing content within the organization. Content is randomly distributed across digital repositories including email, shared drives, thumb drives (and other physical media), and possibly personal/consumer cloud FSS. There is no targeted funding or high-level management support.

Opportunistic - Organizations at the opportunistic stage have deployed technology and formalized some processes for content management, but it is departmental in scope. Planning is short term and funding is focused on specific tactical opportunities. This means that an enterprise-wide strategy or budget is still lacking, and collaboration is ad hoc and limited.

Repeatable - At the repeatable stage, the value and efficiencies gained within individual siloes have been recognized at senior levels within the organization, pushing content management initiatives up to an enterprise program with support and budget now provided at the corporate level, with consistent support from IT. Pan-enterprise content management via one or more centrally managed repositories provides a "single source of truth."

Managed - At the managed stage, the enterprise has transitioned from deploying monolithic one-size-fits-all applications to implementing purpose-built content management solutions using the most suitable modules drawn from a common technology stack. Content is accessible anytime, via any device. Enterprise-wide shared services teams have been established for key use cases and workflows.

Optimized - In the most mature organizations, content management is a core component of broader strategic, well-funded programs that are transformational. A collaborative culture of continuous innovation exists, and management rewards change agents. Artificial intelligence technology supports content management processes, including search and decision making within content-centric workflows as well as information governance.

Digital transformation initiatives are driving organizations to change the way that they approach, think about, and manage critical business content. They must evaluate the processes and technologies that impact and control content to optimize processes, ensure security and compliance, and leverage content for greatest business value. The IDC MaturityScape for managing enterprise content provides a framework for evaluation.

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