Just before the Christmas holiday, AIIM announced some interesting research about how users view the connection between ECM and Business Process Management. Gaining access to the full-report requires (free) registration as an AIIM Associate Member, though AIIM has been highlighting a few items in the press:

  • Users see limited connections between ECM and BPM technologies. Sixty-four percent of the respondents viewed ECM and BPM as two separate initiatives that intersect from time to time. They are seen as complementary and overlapping, but distinct.
  • Users have varied implementation experiences with ECM and BPM technologies. End user respondents reported that more than 50 percent have undertaken BPM solutions to address departmental projects. By comparison,42 percent have undertaken departmental projects using an ECM solution. Interestingly, the survey found that only 11 percent of end users have deployed and implemented an enterprise-scale initiative using BPM technologies, while 17 percent have used ECM solutions.
  • Users rate productivity and costs savings as extremely important business process drivers. End users cited increased productivity, reduced costs, and increased customer satisfaction as extremely important potential benefits of ECM and BPM technology solutions.
  • Users view ECM and BPM implementation challenges comparable to other major software implementation challenges. More than 50 percent of end users surveyed state that the implementations of ECM and BPM technology solutions present exactly the same challenges or similar challenges to other major software implementation challenges.
  • Users cite finance and internal/administrative business processes as important reasons for BPM implementation. BPM technologies could be used to address business processes across a variety of functional areas within enterprises, with finance, internal/administrative processes, and human resources as top beneficiaries.

This research spells out some of the market confusion I have been sensing over the last year or so. I think some vendors see BPM as the bigger market opportunity, and this seems to support that. It perhaps explains why Oracle’s content management announcement last month seemed to be part of a larger message about BPM.

While the AIIM users see “limited connections between ECM and BPM technologies,” I see a much stronger connection, but, as I have admitted in the pages of The Gilbane Report and elsewhere, I don’t think I have successfully explained that connection yet.