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Companies Still Look for Document Management Solutions not ECM

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The opinions shared here represent those of the contributor themselves and not those of their employers nor that of Big Men On Content as a whole.

Last week I took a look at Gartner’s announcement that it would stop using the seventeen year industry standard term “Enterprise Content Management” (ECM) in favor of “Content Services” (CS) from the perspective of a practitioners.  To me ECM has not been tied to a single product but instead a strategy.  In a hope to understand how people looking to implement their first solution would see these terms, I decided to take a look at what Google Trends has to say about the change from “Document Management”  (DM) to “Enterprise Content Management” now to “Content Services”.  The trends say that Document Management has been more popular than Enterprise Content Management.   The Google Trend gets even scarier when we look back to the beginning of Google Trends.  Enterprise Content Management and Records Management has been half as common of a search term as Document Management since 2004.

Why are search trends important?  It’s about basic marketing, we’re looking at branding.  Recently Google unseated Apple as the most valuable brand in the world while LEGO overtook Disney as the most powerful.  Branding is all about market perception and ultimately about visibility.  Google may have changed the company name to Alphabet, but it left its brand as Google.  Could you imagine if Google went around calling itself Alphabet?  Don’t imagine it happened.  Look at the Google Trends for Hyland Software and their product OnBase.  For a few years, the company focused branding around Hyland Software, but ultimately went back to OnBase because the OnBase brand name had more recognition.

The Google Trends around ECM, DM, and CS start to show some evidence in interesting ways.  Under Document Management the most searched vendor names are at #1 and #2 are variations on Microsoft SharePoint and at #5 is M-Files.  For Enterprise Content Management, the first vendor mentioned is at #15 and #16 with variations of OpenText, followed at #17 by the search “What is ECM”.  Which is more powerful branding to you, SharePoint or OpenText?

So the real question may not should we change the name “Enterprise Content Management”.  But should we change it back to “Document Management.”

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