Access and Feeds

BPM and ECM: The Process is the Focus

By Dick Weisinger

In a new report that reviews the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry, the Real Story Group questions how accurately the name ECM now captures the technology that it is supposed to describe.  The discussion around re-naming ECM isn’t a new one.  Within AIIM, the group that originally coined the term ECM, the discussion about changing the name has been going on for at least the last couple of years.

One change in the ECM industry has been the increased emphasis on process management.  IBM FileNet is focusing on on what they call “advanced case management“.   ECM Documentum has a similar focus with what they are calling “intelligent case management“.  OpenText has acquired Global360 to do process and case management.  On the Open Source side, Alfresco acquired Activiti and the authors of the Open Source jBPM project to help build out BPM and Case Management capabilities.

Mark McGregor, Research Director at Bloor Research, wrote that “The linkage between the two markets [ECM and BPM] makes a lot of sense, and Case Management just proves it, especially in the financial and insurance sectors. These sectors have been highly document-focused with heavy regulation and, of course, the routing of and acting on of documents has been a key part of their many process initiatives over the years.”

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, analytst at the Real Story,  notes that “The E in ECM is quickly becoming anachronistic, with a back-to-basics approach from buyers of the technology. Buyers seems to be saying, To hell with my broad enterprise needs, I have a very specific problem — application processing, accounts payable, contract management, and so on — and I want it fixed now.”

The Real Story Group notes that “whether we call it ACM (Advanced Case Management) ICM (Intelligent Case Management), or DCM (Dynamic Case Management) it’s primarily the same thing, and the need to manage “customer cases” in healthcare, government, legal, or any other type of case will continue to grow, as will the demand for automated processing of these cases. However, as ECM as a tool for building case-oriented applications grows, the concept of ECM as a platform may fall out of favor and the market could increasingly splinter.”

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