Just when you got comfortable with the concept of enterprise content management (ECM), experts are saying it’s time to for a new strategy for information management in large organizations.

Runaway growth of content and information–and a growing mobile workforce that connects through the cloud–will steer the business world to a “post-ECM” era by 2020, according to two new reports from AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management.

Enterprise content management is described by AIIM as “the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.”

The concept of ECM arose in the early 2000s as companies began to look for ways to manage an explosion of information in both digital and paper form. A number of technology vendors stepped forward with solutions to manage information, and AIIM launched ECM training for information management professionals. But ECM has always been a moving target–just as companies felt like they were getting a handle on ways to share, protect and dispose of electronic and paper documents, business evolved into a hydra of mobile, BYOD and the cloud.

“There is no doubt that organizations still require their content to be managed properly, but the term ‘ECM’ is past its prime as a description of the revolution that is being driven by mobile, analytics, cloud and collaborative technologies,” said AIIM President John Mancini. “The ECM industry is in need of a new label and organizations are desperate for best practices to deal with the technology disruption that is occurring.”

The two new AIIM reports that revealed the changing nature of ECM are “Content Management 2020: Thinking Beyond ECM” and “ECM Decisions: Strategic options for managing, accessing and preserving content.” They are available for complimentary download from AIIM’s website.

Here’s a roundup of some of the key findings from the reports:

  • There have been five eras of managing the intersection of people, process and information: Paper, Micrographics, ERP, Document Management/Workflow, and ECM. A transition is underway to a new era, one that will require a new label to describe the influence of mobile, analytics, cloud and collaborative (MACC) technologies. 
  • In what’s described as a chaotic transition to a new era of content and information management, organizations are seeking out best practices for risk minimization, for uncovering cost-saving or profit producing opportunities among all the collected information, and for preparing for the disruptive technologies of the future. 
  • For 67% of organizations, ECM and document management are mission-critical. Thirty-three percent of organizations would suffer serious disruptions after only an hour of downtime, and nearly 60% would struggle if systems were down for half a day. 
  • The definition of ECM is blurring–52% say that in five years’ time, ECM technologies will be undifferentiated from IT infrastructure. 

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