Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Maturity Models: Utility for Practitioners

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Maturity Models: Utility for Practitioners

Chris Foley (Foley Business Consulting, Australia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7080-6.ch002


A maturity model in the enterprise content management (ECM) sphere serves to evaluate an organization's performance against an assessment framework, and to determine roadmaps for optimizing that performance. Such tools are developed typically by academics, informed by considerable research, or by consulting firms that use their maturity model tool to promote the sale of their own products and services. Therefore, the experience of practitioners with using ECM maturity models is underrepresented in the literature. Practitioners require tools that are quick to implement whilst providing useful insights. This chapter explores two case studies in which the author conducted quick assessments using a maturity model as a guide. The case studies indicate that while quick assessments are useful, they need to be included as part of a maturity tool to ensure that the implementation method is repeatable and the results consistent.
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State Of The Literature: Ecm Maturity Models

A maturity model, also known as a capability model, “is a tool to systematically assess and improve capabilities or critical success factors to reach a goal” (Looy, 2014, p. 5). Such tools comprise a development model in which behaviour is categorised into sequential levels of maturity, from low maturity to high. Typically, there can be between four and five levels, each distinguished by various attributes indicative of that stage of maturity. By demonstrating attainment of the attributes of a given level of maturity, an organization can be said to have attained the level itself (Carralli, Knight, & Montgomery, 2012, p. 3).

Various writers have elaborated upon the purpose of a maturity model. Katuu (2013) stated that the purpose is two-fold: to determine the current state and to develop a roadmap of activities to create a future state with improved performance. On the other hand, Carralli, Knight, & Montgomery (2012, p. 4) offered a more expansive definition by stating that there are six purposes of a maturity model: it provides a place to start; it benefits from a community’s experience and knowledge; it offers a common language and a shared vision; it is a way to define what improvement and “maturity” mean for an organization; it is a framework for prioritizing actions; and it is a roadmap and return on investment (ROI) for increased maturity.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Future State: A desired future situation in which an organization has qualitatively or quantitatively improved its situation according to a defined roadmap of activities with regards to its people, policies, processes, and technologies.

Qualitative: A systematic subjective approach used to describe life experiences that give them meaning. Its purpose is to gain insight into those experiences using the perspectives of the participants. Methods include focus groups, in-depth interviews, and reviews of documents for types of themes.

ECM Maturity Model: A tool for evaluating an organization’s performance against a framework of ECM capabilities. The higher (or more “mature”) an organization is assessed against the framework, the more capable it is to leverage its information resources to achieve its goals an organization. Alternatively, the lower (or “less mature”) an organization is assessed, the less capable the organization is able to utilize its information resources and systems to achieve its goals.

Quantitative: A formal systematic process for obtaining information about a given focus of inquiry. The information gathered is numerical or statistical in nature. Methods include surveys, structured interviews, observations, and reviews of records or documents to obtain for numeric data (volumes, frequencies of occurrence, etc.).

Project Management: The practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time – such activities are known as a ‘project’, a temporary endeavor to produce a specific outcome.

Current State: A description of the current situation within an organization, comprising various dimensions including people, policies, processes, and technologies.

Consultant: Someone who provides professional or expert advice in a field of science or business to either an organization or an individual. Such professionals offer expertise to organizations in support of specific programs or projects where that such expertise is difficult for the organization to attract and/or retain in-house.

Practitioner: A person’s whose knowledge of domain area derives from active engagement within that domain, whether it be an art, discipline, or profession. In contrast to a theoretician whose understanding of the domain derives from theoretical analysis and research.

EDRMS: Electronic document and records management system refers to a system that manages both physical records (commonly in the form of physical files comprising documents on discrete matters) and unstructured electronic records (commonly in the form of desktop documents) within a single, integrated records management framework. Concepts underlying EDRMS can be seen as a forerunner of ECM and often the two terms are used interchangeably in the professional literature.

ECM: Enterprise content management refers to a body of strategies, methods, and tools to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.

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