Content's Value Enhanced

Companies are spending more on enterprise content management to get more out of unstructured data and keep up with government regulations

Steven Marlin, Contributor

October 8, 2005

3 Min Read

The growth of unstructured content such as E-mails, images, and handwritten documents is a driver of enterprise-content-management adoption, cited by 86% of respondents as having either "some" or "significant" impact on adoption.

In the health-care industry, adoption of electronic patient records and storage of electronic images such as X-rays is leading hospitals and other providers to invest heavily in content management.

St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, a 431-bed facility, has a five-year plan to automate diagnostic procedures and digitize patient records. Its system, based on IBM's TotalStorage servers, supports 11 new applications, including a picture-archiving and communications system, IT manager Chris Ryan says. That system will eliminate the use of film in diagnostic procedures such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. The system stores more than 2 terabytes of patient information.

Public-sector organizations, with their reliance on paper forms, are a natural for content-management implementations. The city of Newark, N.J., recently unveiled a five-year, $1.4 million project called Newark Document Express to simplify the storage and handling of electronic documents. Twelve city departments are linked to the system, enabling employees to collaboratively capture, manage, publish, and share electronic content.

State and local governments are spending heavily on geographic information systems to let citizens use mapping-based ap- plications, which depend on content-management systems to organize geospatial data such as topographies, addresses, and images. The city of Newport Beach, Calif., uses a GIS from Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. that includes a database-management system; tools for input and manipulation of geographic information; tools that support geographic query, analysis, and visualization; and a graphical user interface.

Stage Of Deployment

Newport Beach has implemented streaming media of City Council meetings and other municipal events, using a hosted system from Granicus Inc. The meetings are archived along with supporting material such as PowerPoint presentations. "Granicus handles all of the archiving as a matter of course. All we do is link to them," says Terry Ulaszewski, the city's support-services manager.

For the city, enterprise content management is an integral component of its obligation to keep citizens informed and up to date on civic affairs, as well as to get them involved. "We're always striving to put out better information on what's happening in and around the city," Ulaszewski says.

Sixty percent of survey respondents say they rely on Microsoft products for content management. Rounding out the top five vendors are Oracle (39%), IBM (31%), EMC Documentum (24%), and SAP (24%). Products from FileNet, Interwoven, Vignette, and other vendors that focus specifically on content management were used by 10% or less of those surveyed.

With studies showing that 80% of all content in organizations is unstructured, companies are having a tough time keeping up: 77% of respondents report occasional or constant problems managing content growth. And more than four out of five surveyed agree that their companies should create or enforce policies to require wider retention of organizational content.

Illustration by Getty Images

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