Enterprise Content Management. A Business and Technical Guide

Stephen A. Cameron

Published by

BCS

ISBN

9781906124670

RRP

£24.95

Reviewed by

George Williams MBCS CITP

Score

10 out of 10

ECM book coverAs the title suggests, this review of ECM is divided into two discrete parts - a business guide and a technology guide. For each concept introduced in the business guide, there is an equivalent delivery-focused discussion in the technical guide.

The business guide is aimed at positioning ECM for the reader. It covers content life cycle and the relevance of ECM to organisations. It looks at the five-stage content maturity model (CMM), which is by far the most extensive section within the business guide, extending to some 20 pages.

The author describes how the CMM encapsulates people behaviours, processes and systems in an organisation that can reliably produce effective outcomes relative to each of the five CMM stages.

Corporate governance and compliance issues, including records management, are described, recognising that information governance is the cornerstone of both governance and compliance.

The author distinguishes between corporate governance, which describes the laws, rules and customs governing the executive direction of the organisation, and compliance, which is the act of adhering and demonstrating adherence to the above standards.

The reader is advised on how to develop a business case for the introduction of an ECM service into their organisation. Some readers will be familiar with business case preparation, but the real nugget in here, and one of the most important sections in this book, is the five-page discussion devoted to ECM benefits realisation.

The technical guide is just that. The chapter on architecture and technology begins by describing the challenges to stakeholders, from both the business and technical communities.

There follows a comprehensive ECM technology review over the last 25 years from integrating structured data systems using databases through to the unstructured data piles that now exist in many organisations, and looking at extending applications through the use of smart forms.

The technical niceties of agile architectures, architectural frameworks and the benefits of adopting a service oriented architecture are described in some depth. The ECM service components are described, covering distribution channels, performance management, information management and infrastructure.

The chapter on storage issues is agnostic about products, solutions and technology, but will nevertheless require an advanced appreciation of storage technologies by the reader.

Chapters are devoted to how to manage change and the transformation process, and the need for project planning. Compliance and governance is again covered, as is developing the business case further and the challenges of managing ECM project delivery through to a successful implementation.

The closing chapter focuses on future trends and brings the reader right up to date with the emerging trend of external ECM hosting through cloud computing concepts.

The extensive bibliography spanning four pages reveals the tremendous amount of research that has been undertaken in the writing of this excellent book.

In terms of reader facilitation the book contains two gems of ‘bookends’ - a superb glossary at the beginning and a truly excellent index at the back. But then what else might one expect of a treatise on enterprise content management?

Conclusion

‘ECM - A Business and Technical Guide’ is written in a very engaging style, easily readable and extremely well researched.

The author sets out to define the enterprise content management approach to developing the organisational repository of knowledge and to achieve clarity in the midst of a multiplicity of global viewpoints. A tall order ... but it has been delivered with panache!

And as a great believer in ‘plus 1s’, I am delighted that the author provides the reader with a website where there is an opportunity to ask him questions and where answers will be provided.

Further information: BCS

November 2011