Earlier this year, John Mancini and the Association of Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) published their annual State of the Industry report on content services. It’s essentially a survey of knowledge workers in various industries across the globe, asking interesting questions around how they manage information. In this blog series, we’ll be breaking down and providing some commentary on each of the three parts of this year’s report:

  1. What kinds of critical information management problems are users trying to solve with Content Services?
  2. How is automation revolutionizing user expectations about records management and information governance?
  3. How are the spending patterns for Content Services changing and evolving?

The whole report is presented with a bumper introduction that places information at the center of an organization’s digital transformation journey. Mancini eloquently states: “As the currency that fuels and funds the journey, information is an organization’s most valuable asset.”

This first blog post focuses on which information management challenges users are mitigating with Content Services — which is defined as:

A flexible and modular approach that utilizes content and information wherever and whenever it is needed, independent of the legacy ECM preoccupation of where it is stored.

With that in mind, we wanted to share a few of the findings.

Which of Gartner’s five major content services use cases are most important to organizations?

In publications on Content Services, Gartner has outlined five primary use cases:

  1. Team productivity
  2. Records management
  3. Document management
  4. Business process applications
  5. Back-office processing

AIIM asked respondents which one of those five is the most important factor in their content services decisions. The results?



What it Means

With Team Productivity at the top spot, companies clearly prioritize the need for knowledge workers to access relevant content in the context of their project or work tasks. Salespeople need to find a service agreement by client name, while their finance department counterparts need to find the same agreement by searching for the executed date. And both should be able to do that, regardless of what the file is named.

What’s interesting is that, for larger organizations of over 1,000 employees, Business Process Applications is the most important factor. One can infer that, for those larger enterprises, their digital transformation will lean heavily on how well they can combine content and processes, applying workflows to their information.

What are the most significant information management problems for organizations?

AIIM asked information workers which challenges are most pervasive in their organizations and the responses were in line with some of the findings of M-Files 2019 Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report.

What it Means

All five of the potential problems fell into the same range — each cited as a challenge by 56-61% of respondents. What that indicates is that there is no clear challenge to be tackled first in enterprise information management. A content services vendor should address all of the challenges with equal vigor — from promoting user adoption to integration in line-of-business applications and everything in between. Rather than a piecemeal approach, a strategy should call for a more comprehensive approach.

Which capabilities of a content services platform are most important?

AIIM asked respondents to identify the three most important capabilities of a content services platform (CSP) like M-Files.

What it Means

It seems companies place a high value on flexibility of a content services platform — both in integrating with core business processes and in deployment options. Long gone are the days of cookie-cutter traditional ECM systems. Companies have unique needs and need their CSP to conform to their individuality. In terms of the most important capability — integration into core business processes like CRM and ERP — M-Files is ahead of the curve, recently announcing an embedded UI in Salesforce and in Office 365 where users can access and manage content across all repositories from within their familiar interface.

In closing, survey respondents have spoken loud and clear in this report on a number of challenges and core capabilities they desire in a CSP. We believe that M-Files addresses each and every one of them, answering the call on the most prominent and pervasive information management challenges. M-Files offers flexible deployment options, integrations with disconnected information silos, mobile access and built-in records management, among other core capabilities — all mentioned as important capabilities for CSP vendors.

Stay tuned for the next post, where we’ll dive into automation and how it may be revolutionizing information governance.