Information Body of Knowledge

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Definition

  • Misused Term (Over-Scoped, see Analysis below)
  • Sub-Discipline of Content Management
  • Information Types: Unstructured, Semi-structured

Enterprise Content Management is the practice of saving, securing, managing, storing, controlling versions, leveraging and extracting, applying holds, and sharing, of content (unstructured and semi-structured). Enterprise Content Management is a sub-discipline of Information Management and should take direction on its' policies and practices from organizational information policies and practices.

InfoBOK v1.0

Enterprise Content Management Key Points

  1. The elements of Enterprise Content Management include capture, securing, managing, storing, controlling versions, leveraging and extracting, applying legal holds, and sharing.
  2. Capture is creating new content or uploading new content into the ECM system (see “Capture”).
  3. Storing is the act of analyzing business value of content and ensuring it is available in an appropriate amount of time to support the business (see "Storage")
  4. Controlling versions ensures that, for compliance or business requirement, multiple copies of a piece of content (as it is being edited over time) are available. Version control may include both major and minor revisions. (see “Version Control”)
  5. Leveraging and extracting refers to the ongoing usage of the information for both traditional business usage and for usage in value extraction such as business analysis or Big Data.
  6. Applying holds refers to the act of securing a piece of information and preventing destruction or deletion (see "eDiscovery").
  7. Sharing refers to collaborative content usage whether internally within an organization or with external partners through the use of EFSS systems (see "EFSS")

Additional Detail

While the term Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is in the common vernacular, the "Enterprise" word was originally used to differentiate between business systems and Web Content Management systems, which were often referred to as simply "Content Management" systems. The term has shifted as Web Content Management systems and Enterprise Content Management systems have changed. Web Content Management falls under Content Management hierarchically which leaves the "Enterprise" term unnecessary. Due to theses changes, many vendors have begun referring to their Enterprise Content Management systems as simply "Content Management" systems. This, too, is likely a misnomer, as most of what is being referred to as Content Management or Enterprise Content Management, is, in reality, more likely Information Management. In this version of the InfoBOK we retain the usage of the more popular Enterprise Content Management but may change the terminology in future revisions.

Enterprise Content Management Analysis

Enterprise Content Management systems came into existence in the early 2000s with the merging of several content management systems into larger, more expansive, single content repositories. ECM brought the promise of using one platform or repository for all of an organization’s document, content, and records management.

ECM capabilities include capture, securing, managing, storing, controlling versions, leveraging and extracting, applying legal holds, and sharing. ECMs also can provide version control and lifecycle management to the content that resides within the system.

Recent developments have brought into question the use of the term Enterprise Content Management. In 2017, Gartner signaled the “death” of ECM in favor of the term Content Services due to the lack of full adoption of a single repository or platform for all content within an organization.

Despite the ongoing signals of the “death” of ECM, the Enterprise Content Management market may be as large as a $30B according to some sources. Companies continue to leverage Enterprise Content Management systems for their information handling and these capabilities continue to form the backbone of many organization’s information strategies.

Enterprise Content Management’s dominance may change over time. However, for now, ECM is not nearly as dead as some would purport. Additionally, it is questionable whether the market is even in decline. That said, Enterprise Content Management capabilities are, from leading technology providers, moving into “Content Services” capabilities which are detached from a centralized system so their capabilities can be leveraged independently from a specific ECM system. We will continue to watch the technology markets transform and monitor how companies adopt these technologies.

Additional Resources

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Information Coalition Resources on Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Some resources are available only to Professional Members or Standard Members (free).

Beyond The Hype Of Content Services

Beyond The Hype Of Content Services

Implementing Information Governance By Addressing Challenges One At A Time

Webinar Presenter: Laurence Hart, Director, TeraThink

There has been a lot of hype in the last year around Content Services with many vendors embracing the term. For many people, the question remains, what is it, how does it relate to ECM, and how can it help me achieve my actual Information Governance goals? In this discussion, we’ll cut through the hype and offer clear answers to those questions. We will also discuss how leveraging agile methodologies and cloud technology can speed the implementation of Content Services helping you realize value even sooner.

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Keddar Thakkar – An Information Governance Plane Ride

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The larger the plane, the more pilots you’ll need to steer the ship. Likewise, with an Information Governance program, everyone will need their role defined well to work together towards the betterment of the organization.

Ron Layel: Collaboration Among Information Management Professions (A Modest Proposal For A Unified Social Causes Agenda)

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“Present ideas for greater collaboration among various Information Management professional disciples and the associations that represent them. Will focus on common causes/interests of all (IT, RIM, Archives, Librarians, etc.) that can benefit society as a whole. These overarching, unifying agenda themes/causes may include:

  • improved development/education of next generation IM professionals;
  • Better management. and utilization of Information assets and IM/IG principles, practices and technologies to increase organizational effectiveness;
  • Digital Preservation – ensuring future access to historical and other long-term valued information;
  • Ensuring/enhancing openness/transparency of public organizations’ activities to hold top officials accountable.

Information Governance: From the Back Room to the Board Room – Roger Beharry Lall

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Learn how putting Information Governance strategies to work in your organization can help you make better business decisions. Roger Beharry Lall, Director of Market Strategy and Research at Adlib, will be discussing several case studies from insurance, energy, and banking showing how these organizations are applying new technologies like file analytics and intelligent capture to truly showcase the business value of Information Governance programs.

By positioning Information Governance under the umbrella of infonomics, and defining business value more clearly, information management leaders can gain more credibility within the organization. Moving from information challenge to information value by making direct changes to how content is handled, organizations can turn their unstructured content into usable and actionable information.

Cheryl McKinnon – Top Trends In Information Governance

To keep up with soaring volumes of information, a strong Information Governance program is no longer a nice-to-have: It’s a must have. Hear expert insights into the current state of information management, including investment priorities, technology adoption trends, and the top challenges facing enterprise decision-makers from #InfoGov16 keynote and Forrester analyst Cheryl McKinnon as she shares findings from Forrester’s latest recent research in records management, information governance, enterprise content management (ECM) and archiving trends.

Change Management: Transforming Chaos – Laurie Fischer

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Change permeates and envelopes us, and is the one constant in our lives. Think of all the workplace changes in just the past few years related to how we create, use, share, retain, protect and dispose of information. Our ever-increasing need to collaborate and communicate, to analyze and innovate, and to “be mobile” has led to sometimes massive change to existing IG-enabling technologies as well as new solutions that enable us to attain our objectives.

Since change is inevitable, then why is the lack of managing that change the primary reason IG projects fail? Some organizations simply equate a training plan to a change management plan, but change management is so much more than training!

In this session, we’ll investigate the winning formula for successful integration of change into the organization – whether it’s a change in information governance roles and responsibilities, process and procedures and / or technology. Incorporating key change management principles supports the successful adoption of change by applying a structured framework of methods, tools and processes. We’ll also share real-life examples of successful change management efforts, as well as epic failures.


  • Workplace trends that necessitate change
  • Ignoring change management leads to failure
  • Change management framework as a key to success

Kevin Parker – The Business Case For Information Strategy & Architecture

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Chris McNulty – “ECM and Classification in SharePoint and Office 365”

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Get an early look at SharePoint 2016 functionality for ECM and Content Classification in this timely and relevant session from Microsoft’s own Sr. Product Manager for SharePoint & Office 365, Chris McNulty. McNulty gets into the nuts and bolts in this useful mix of classification advice and application demo, helping any SharePoint user better organize their Records and content.

Format: Presentation & Discussion (featuring Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Sandra Serkes, Steve Weissman, and Nick Inglis)

SharePoint Information Management Basics Webinar Training Series

SharePoint Information Management Basics Webinar Training Series

Special Webinar Training Series 2014

Webinar Presenter: Nick Inglis, President, Information Coalition

A webinar series turned into a short training series on how to best structure SharePoint for your Information Management needs with Information Coalition President, Nick Inglis.

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The Information Governance Conference 2018