AIIM Study: Cost and Compliance Issues Drive ECM

Compliance may be a growing concern, but cost-related concerns remain the dominant motivator behind investments in enterprise content management.
Compliance may be a growing concern, but cost-related concerns remain the dominant motivator behind investments in enterprise content management (ECM). This is one of the key finding of "Payback Time: The Practical Application of ECM Technologies," a study released last week by AIIM International.

Conducted in 2004 and early 2005 among 1,200 users and would-be users of ECM technologies in nine countries, the study was designed to track changing attitudes and buying trends, yet in many respects it matched a similar 2003-2004 study conducted by the trade association.

Cost-related goals include improving performance and efficiency, reducing costs and increasing profits, and 45% of those responding to the survey worldwide named these as their top reasons for embracing ECM (see results below). Cost-driven goals prevailed among users in all but one country, with users in Germany (53%), Ireland (48%), the U.K. (45%), the U.S. (44%) and Australia (42%) citing them as their top concern, while only respondents in the Benelux countries (52%) placed greater emphasis on customer-driven issues such as better customer service, leadership/competitive advantage and faster turnaround/response time.

What is your top driver of ECM interest?

% of respondents (all countries)

Cost-Driven Users


Improve efficiency


Reduce costs


Increase profits/improve performance


Customer-Driven Issues


Better Customer Service


Leadership/competitive advantage


Faster turnaround/improved response


Risk-Driven Issues




Risk Management/Business Continuity


Internationally, the number of users citing customer-driven priorities as their top concern held steady at 31%, up just two percentage points from AIIM's 2003-2004 study. After Benelux, German users reported the highest emphasis on customer-driven issues (37%), while the U.S. (27%) and Ireland (24%) placed the least emphasis on these concerns.

The issue clearly gaining ground in motivating ECM investment is compliance, which ranked second among all issues internationally and tied with "improve efficiency" as the number-one driver among U.S. survey respondents. In last year's study, compliance was cited by only 11% as their top priority for ECM investment across all countries, but that figure rose to 19% in the survey released last week. In the U.K., compliance rose from 13% to 17%, in Ireland from 9% to 19% and in the U.S., where the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has introduced many compliance demands on public companies, the results swelled from 17% last year to 24% in the most recent survey.

Reflecting rising concerns about compliance issues, record management and archiving was ranked as the number-one project planned for the next 12 to 18 months. The top 10 project priorities were reported as follows:

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