ECM has unified a group of technologies all focused on managing various aspects of unstructured content into a specific industry. Now, a new event will focus on identifying the skills needed to meet ECM challenges as a profession.
you’re looking to understand the direction of the enterprise content management
(ECM) industry, and the skills that employers are looking for as they seek to wrestle
their unstructured content management issues to the mat – you’ll want to be in
Chicago on September 16 for this event (Enterprise Content Management (ECM & Technology Executive Forum).
Now, regardless of how this particular aspect of the IT profession comes to be defined, I’m going to give you a little tip now, one which both the IT and business sides of companies should have tattooed on their forearms: technology, including ECM, will NOT SOLVE your business problem. You’ve got to understand the business, THEN apply technology to it. Too often, there is confusion between ECM as strategy and ECM as technology. It’s both. Strategy first, technology second.
ECM: The Profession
As all information technology becomes instrumental to the success of all organizations, a primary requirement for success will be simple: as an ECM/IT professional, you need to be able to speak to the business users and understand what technology meets their business needs. (Business folks, you also need to be conversant in the possibilities of the technology too.) In a nutshell, you can’t live in your server cave.
We are in the beginning stages of the establishment of a new career track for the IT community. “A first step on standardizing education in the ECM industry has been taken by AIIM through our certificate programs. Obtaining a Practitioner, Specialist or Master designation in any one of our six main programs (ECM, ERM, Email Management, Information Organization and Access, BPM, and Enterprise 2.0) makes you well-prepared to address the multiple challenges posed by unmanaged content,” explains Atle Skjekkeland, AIIM Vice President. “In fact, we are now seeing the AIIM designations used differentiate staff in job postings, resumes, and proposals.”
While some universities teach aspects of ECM, CMS Watch’s Alan Pelz-Sharpe notes that Kent State University offers degrees in knowledge management and information architecture.
ECM. Too Broad?
Much like one can be an “IT professional” and focused on a discrete aspect of the overall information technology industry, ECM professionals will also need to focus on specific skills within the enterprise content management space (capture, search, ediscovery, email management, etc.—note that these focus areas and skill sets will and do overlap). One point on terminology, “ECM” may change to something else. Both Joyce Osborn, president of Document Management Solutions and vice president of the AIIM Chicago Chapter, and Stacey Cripps, ECM Practice Leader at Catalyst Search Group, (joint organizers of the event) point to “enterprise information management (EIM)” as a possible emerging term. As Cripps points out, “User organizations view ECM as a tool kit, they feel EIM is more suited to full-scale implementations.” ECM/EIM/SM (stuff management); regardless of the umbrella term, we’ll still be talking about the same issues.
ECM, as Osborne notes, is probably still too broad. Organizations, in addition to wanting ECM/IT professionals who understand the technology, are also looking at expertise within specific verticals. Cripps adds, “Web content management is often viewed as a separate discipline. The growth areas are library management, taxonomy building, deep understanding of business processes . . . we find that a weak area in organizations.”
While companies may not be looking for an “ECM specialist” by name, they ARE looking for the skills that such a specialist possesses. What roles and skills are hot? Cripps compiled the following from a number of conversations: “The focus will be on the business process practitioner, information architecture, and legal ediscovery response team. The IT professionals need to have a combination of information management and have industry experience to understand the user perspective. Business analysts in healthcare are now being called “change managers” or “change agents” and are gathering business requirements around solutions.”
Want to understand what role and skills you need to be a part of the solution? Join us in Chicago.
Bryant Duhon (email@example.com) is editor of Infonomics Weekly and with Infonomics.