Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Finding a common ground for ECM and Enterprise 2.0

Yesterday, I posted the following tweet on Twitter:
How would you describe the interface between #ECM and #Enterprise 2.0? Blurry?
In my mind, ECM and E2.0 are both about content and collaboration, but each discipline has a different emphasis. ECM puts emphasis on capturing, managing and delivering content, and collaboration is a key component in that process. Enterprise 2.0 puts emphasis on collaboration and knowledge exchange, where content is a key component.

I got two great replies to my tweet from Deb Louison Lavoy (@deb_lavoy):
#1 not blurry. content is the substrate and the product of work. collab, content, proj mgt are explicitly intertwined

#2 i think the goal is to marry process and collaboration in a way that makes both more effective
I totally agree with this.

However, it is my belief that we need a common ground to achieve this goal. The main challenge is to marry the Enterprise 2.0 and ECM disciplines (meaning the practitioners = the people).
Below is a first attempt to illustrate the need for a common ground.

It is just 20 minutes old and I haven't yet detailed my reasoning in text, so I'd be happy for some comments (replace E2.0 with collaboration and ECM with content, then you might be able to follow my thoughts better).

John Manchini (@jmancini77) also reminded us that AIIM has a survey out on this topic.


  1. Oscar: I agree. But I do find that when we discuss knowledge and collaboration in the context of an enterprise, we tend to focus on the persona of a knowledge worker - perhaps because that is what most of us are. However, within many organizations there many staff who have more structured, often repetitive, task oriented jobs (e.g processing accounts payable). For such people 'collaboration' is most useful when it helps them complete a task more easily and/or in less time. I have found that mapping business process steps and specifically noting the 'collaborative tool of choice (e.g. phone, IM, email, social network) helps to elucidate where the newer 2.0 tools add demonstrable business value.

  2. Martin, I agree with you that collaboration in transactional processes is important. Although we have traditionally focused a lot of our improvement efforts on these processes, I believe that the introduction of new practices and tools for "free-form" spontaneous collaboration can increase efficiency and productivity in those processes (problem solving exists there to, for sure). But, I believe that the biggest potential lies in improving knowledge work. As knowledge work is increasing and becoming more and more business critical, there is a great and unrealized potential to boost productivity and increase efficiency in knowledge work - and to innovation. We have not focused on this. We are way better at reducing headcount by streamlining and automating transactional processes than we are at empowering knowledge workers so they are able to do their jobs better - together.