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Enterprise content management research: A comprehensive review


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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive literature review of enterprise content management (ECM) research, a conceptual framework of areas of concern regarding ECM, and an agenda for future ECM research, based on the review and conceptual framework. Design/methodology/approach – To gain an understanding of the ECM literature, a structured research approach is adopted, consisting of two phases. The first phase consists of identifying the relevant ECM research papers. In the second phase, the analysis phase, the current ECM research is categorized based on three structural pillars: system component dimensions, system lifecycle, and strategic managerial aspects. Findings – After a review and classification of 91 ECM publications, it is found that ECM involves several sophisticated and interacting technical, social, organizational, and business aspects. The current ECM literature can be grouped around three main pillars: the first pillar consists of the four ECM component dimensions (tools, strategy, process, and people). The second pillar is the enterprise system lifecycle (adoption, acquisition, evolution, and evaluation). The final pillar is the strategic managerial aspect (change management, and management commitment). Based on the review and a proposed conceptual framework, an agenda for future research around the aforementioned three pillars is suggested. Originality/value – There is a lack of ECM meta‐analysis research that explains the current state of the field. This paper contributes to information systems research by describing and classifying the published literature in ECM and by pointing out the gaps where further research is most needed. Furthermore, the paper provides a framework that may provide a conceptual structure for future studies.
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Journal of Enterprise Information Management
Emerald Article: Enterprise content management research: a comprehensive
Jaffar Ahmad Alalwan, Heinz Roland Weistroffer
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To cite this document: Jaffar Ahmad Alalwan, Heinz Roland Weistroffer, (2012),"Enterprise content management research: a
comprehensive review", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 25 Iss: 5 pp. 441 - 461
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Enterprise content management
research: a comprehensive review
Jaffar Ahmad Alalwan
Institute of Public Administration, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and
Heinz Roland Weistroffer
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive literature review of enterprise
content management (ECM) research, a conceptual framework of areas of concern regarding ECM, and
an agenda for future ECM research, based on the review and conceptual framework.
Design/methodology/approach – To gain an understanding of the ECM literature, a structured
research approach is adopted, consisting of two phases. The first phase consists of identifying the
relevant ECM research papers. In the second phase, the analysis phase, the current ECM research is
categorized based on three structural pillars: system component dimensions, system lifecycle, and
strategic managerial aspects.
Findings – After a review and classification of 91 ECM publications, it is found that ECM involves
several sophisticated and interacting technical, social, organizational, and business aspects. The
current ECM literature can be grouped around three main pillars: the first pillar consists of the four
ECM component dimensions (tools, strategy, process, and people). The second pillar is the enterprise
system lifecycle (adoption, acquisition, evolution, and evaluation). The final pillar is the strategic
managerial aspect (change management, and management commitment). Based on the review and a
proposed conceptual framework, an agenda for future research around the aforementioned three
pillars is suggested.
Originality/value – There is a lack of ECM meta-analysis research that explains the current state of
the field. This paper contributes to information systems research by describing and classifying the
published literature in ECM and by pointing out the gaps where further research is most needed.
Furthermore, the paper provides a framework that may provide a conceptual structure for future
Keywords Organizations, Information management, Enterprise content management,
Research work, Review, Meta-analysis, Framework
Paper type Literature review
1. Introduction
All organizations create, classify, and archive information for it to be accessible when
needed. The number of physical and virtual information artifacts created and stored
in today’s business world is increasing exponentially, including rapidly escalating
unstructured content in organizations. Some studies show the rate of increase in the
unstructured content to be in the order of 800 MB per person per year (Gingell, 2006).
As estimated by the Gartner Group, 75-80 percent of an organization’s data are
unstructured and not in a standard format that can easily be retrieved when needed
(O’Callaghan and Smits, 2005). “It is estimated that unstructured content is growing at
anywhere between 65 percent and 200 percent per annum depending on the industry
sector” (EMC Corporation, 2006, p. 5). This escalation in unstructured content has
caused the emergence of different content management platforms that support various
applications (Tramullas, 2005). To deal with the increasing information overload and
with the structured and unstructured data complexity, many organizations have
implemented enterprise content management (ECM) systems. ECM is a term that
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 7 January 2012
Revised 19 February 2012
2 April 2012
Accepted 5 April 2012
Journal of Enterprise Information
Vol. 25 No. 5, 2012
pp. 441-461
rEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/17410391211265133
ECM research
was coined by AIIM International and is now widely used by vendors and users
(Blair, 2004).
There is some confusion as to the precise definition of the term ECM. Smith and
McKeen (2003) define it as “the strategies, tools, processes and skills an organization
needs to manage all its information assets regardless of type over their lifecycle.” The
ECM Association (AIIM International) defines ECM as “the strategies, methods and
tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents
related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of
an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists[1].”
According to Gartner, ECM includes the following core components: document
management, web content management, records management, document imaging,
document centric collaboration, and workflow (Woolley and Fletcher, 2007). ECM is
also defined as “the technology that provides the means to create/capture, manage/
secure, store/retain/destroy, publish/distribute, search, personalize and present/view/
print any digital content” (Munkvold et al., 2006, p. 71). Despite these definitional
differences, there seems to be consensus on ECM processes (i.e. activities involved
with ECM). Many researchers view ECM as the evolution of document management,
records management, workflow (business process) management, and web content
management systems (CMS) that started in the 1980s.
ECM can be viewed as an evolution of information management that involves the
management of structured and unstructured content through the complete content
lifecycle (Boiko, 2002). ECM allows organizations to simplify heterogeneous data and
process structured, and unstructured information (O’Callaghan and Smits, 2005).
There is a fairly consistent perception among researchers that ECM is not only a
practical set of technologies but also includes organizational concepts that involve
various business perspectives (Blair, 2004; Munkvold et al., 2006; Tyrva
¨inen et al., 2006;
vom Brocke et al., 2009). Rockley (2006) reported that one of the main goals of ECM
implementation is to have transparent content sharing by making different and
disparate applications (e.g. web content management, records management)
interoperable. By having shared transparent content that facilitates cross
department collaboration, the capturing of knowledge and content can be made
easier ( Jenkins, 2004). In this regard, many researchers believe that ECM overlaps with
knowledge management (KM); Duffy (2001), Lee and Hong (2002), and Carvalho and
Ferreira (2001) suggest ECM as one type of KM. Some researchers consider ECM a
subfield of KM (Nordheim and Paivarinta, 2006), or consider ECM as one tool among
KM tools. Tyndale (2002) defines KM tools as the tools that “promote and enable the
knowledge process in order to improve decision-making”; he mentions the following as
some examples of KM tools: intranet, content management, document management,
and web portals.
Though the increased use of ECM makes it an important topic for information
systems (IS) research (Pa
¨rinta and Munkvold, 2005), the ECM field lacks meta-
analysis research that explains the current state of the field. Though there have been a
few ECM reviews (Tyrva
¨inen et al., 2006; Usman et al., 2009), these reviews were not
comprehensive. Comprehensive literature reviews are valuable (Saunderlin, 1994), as
they help researchers determine where there is particular need for further
investigation, and such reviews may point to specific problems in earlier studies.
Literature reviews also help researchers in developing theoretical frameworks that can
help structure future studies. Thus this paper has three objectives: first, to provide a
comprehensive literature review of ECM research, second, to develop a conceptual
framework of areas of concern regarding ECM, and finally, to suggest an agenda for
future research based on the review and the conceptual framework.
The rest of this paper is arranged as follows. The identification and selection
of relevant ECM publications is described in Section 2. In Section 3 the selected
publications are analyzed in conjunction with the development of a conceptual
framework. Next, in Section 4, a future research agenda for ECM investigations is
proposed. The paper concludes with final remarks in Section 5.
2. Identification of relevant ECM publications
To gain a good understanding of the ECM literature, a structured approach consisting
of two phases is adopted. The first phase consists of searching for and selecting
relevant ECM research papers. In the second phase, the current ECM research is
analyzed and categorized based on three structural pillars: system component
dimensions, system lifecycle, and strategic managerial aspects.
To make the review as comprehensive as possible, journal papers, conference
papers, book chapters, as well as books are included in the review. We used the library
web site of a large research institution and Google Scholar. The review is restricted to
published research in ECM only, i.e. research that was identified by the researchers as
ECM, thus keywords used include enterprise content management and ECM. The
search was conducted in March 2011. Initially 3,360 publications (excluding patents)
were identified. After refining the search to include only English language publications
and to exclude citations, the number of publications was reduced to 1,740. After
scanning through these, many additional papers were excluded because ECM was not
the main topic of the paper; the paper was written by an ECM vendor and discussed
the documentation and specification of a specific ECM system; they were practitioner
directed papers; or the acronym “ECM” referred to something other than ECM. In all,
91 publications finally remained for this review.
Table I lists the 91 reviewed publications, their authors, publication type, the
methodology used, and the ECM dimension (as defined in this paper). Publication
types are journal papers, conference proceedings (including workshops and
symposia), books, book chapters, and academic theses or dissertations. Methodology
applied in the papers is classified as case study research, theoretical or conceptual
(i.e. the study is based mainly on literature and has no empirical testing), archival (i.e.
study is based on ECM documentations), survey (Piccolo and Ives, 2005), descriptive
(i.e. the study describes the ECM system or its impact), design science (i.e. the
any combination of the previously listed methods). ECM dimensions used for
classification are tools (i.e. technology related to ECM), strategy (e.g. investment
justification, implementation planning, stakeholders identification), process (e.g.
ECM deployment), and people (e.g. training, stakeholder involvement) (Vom Brock,
2010a,b; Tyrva
¨inen et al., 2006; Smith and McKeen, 2003; Salminen et al., 2005;
O’Callaghan and Smits, 2005).
Microsoft Excel was used to tabulate and analyze the results. Table II shows the
number of publications by publication type.
The dates for the ECM publications in this literature review range from 2001 to
2011. The graph in Figure 1 shows the distribution of the papers by year. Except in
2006, 2009, and 2011, the trend for ECM publications is increasing. The perceived
decrease of ECM publications for 2011 is misleading, as only the first quarter of the
year ( January through March) was included.
ECM research
No. Authors
type Methodology ECM dimension
1 Alalwan and Weistroffer (2011) Conference Theoretical Strategy
2 Allen (2008) Book Descriptive Strategy
3 Arshad et al. (2010) Conference Theoretical Strategy
4 Asprey and Middleton (2003) Book Descriptive All
5 Aziz et al. (2010) Conference Design science Tools
6 Banks et al. (2009) Conference Descriptive Tools
7 Bawazir and BenSeddeek (2007) Conference Descriptive Tools
8 Befa et al. (2010) Book chapter Descriptive Tools
9 Benevolo and Negri (2007) Journal Survey Tools
10 Bianco and Michelino (2010) Journal Case study Tools strategy
11 Broadbent (2009) Master’s thesis Archival study Tools
12 Burlaca (2003) Journal Descriptive Tools
13 Carvalho (2008) Book chapter Descriptive Tools
14 Chao and Luo (2009) Journal Design science Tools
15 Chieu and Zeng (2008) Journal Design science Tools
16 Chieu et al. (2007) Conference Design science Tools
17 Chieu et al. (2008) Conference Design science Tools
18 Chiu and Hung (2005) Conference Case study Tools processes
19 Chiu et al. (2010) Journal Case study Tools
20 Dilnutt (2006a, b) Journal Descriptive Tools
21 Eden (2008) Book Case study All
22 Fennell (2007) Journal Case study Process
23 Fisher and Sheth (2004) Book chapter Design science Tools
24 Fowell (2002) Book chapter Theoretical Strategy
25 Fowler (2008) Master’s thesis Archival Tools
26 Goings et al. (2007) Journal Case study Strategy
27 Hopkins (2009) Conference Case study Process
28 Iverson and Burkart (2007) Journal Theoretical Strategy
29 Jenkins (2004) Book Descriptive All
30 Jinwen and Jianguo (2003) Journal Descriptive Tools
31 Joha and Janssen (2010) Journal Case study Strategy
32 Junco and Bailie (2004) Conference Case study Process
33 Kelley (2002) Book Descriptive All
34 Koidl et al. (2009) Conference Descriptive Tools
35 Koo (2008) Book chapter Descriptive Tools
36 Korb and Strodl (2010) Conference Descriptive Strategy
37 Krechel et al. (2006) Symposium Descriptive Tools
38 Kun et al. (2009) Journal Descriptive Tools
39 Kunstova (2010) Journal Survey Strategy
40 Kwok and Chiu (2004) Conference Combined (descriptive
and theoretical)
Tools processes
41 Laleci et al. (2010) Journal Design science Tools
42 Liu et al. (2007) Journal Descriptive Tools
43 Malik (2010) Book chapter Descriptive Tools
44 Math (2005) Conference Descriptive Strategy
45 Mauthe and Thomas (2004) Book Descriptive All
Tabl e I.
List of ECM publications
No. Authors
type Methodology ECM dimension
46 McNay (2002) Conference Descriptive Tools
47 Mega et al. (2005) Conference Descriptive Tools
48 Meike et al. (2009) Journal Descriptive Tools
49 Munkvold et al. (2006) Journal Case study Tools strategy people
50 Naak et al. (2008) Conference Descriptive Tools
51 Naak et al. (2009) Book chapter Descriptive Tools
52 Naik and Shivalingaiah (2009) Conference Archival Tools
53 Nath and Arora (2010) Conference Case study Tools
54 Nguyen et al. (2007) Conference Archival study Tools
55 Nordheim and Paivarinta (2004) Conference Case study Tools processes
56 Nordheim and Paivarinta (2006) Journal Case study Processes
57 Norrfors (2007) Master’s thesis Survey Tools strategy
58 Obermier (2006) Journal Descriptive Strategy
59 O’Callaghan and Smits (2005) Conference Design science Strategy processes
60 Pachet (2003) Journal Case study Tools strategy
61 Pa
¨rinta and Munkvold (2005) Conference Case study Tools strategy people
62 Pe
´rez-Montoro (2011) Book chapter Theoretical Tools
63 Pullman and Baotong (2008) Journal Theoretical strategy
64 Reimer (2002) Journal Descriptive Tools
65 Rockley et al. (2002) Book Descriptive All
66 Saslaw (2009) Master’s thesis Combined Tools
67 Scheepers (2006) Journal Case study Strategy processes
68 Scott (2011) Conference Survey People
69 Smith and McKeen (2003) Journal Combined Strategies tools
70 Souer et al. (2008) Journal Design science Tools strategy
71 Sprehe (2005) Journal Case study Tools strategy
72 Talloju (2007) Master’s thesis Survey Tools
73 Taylor (2004) Journal Descriptive Strategy
74 Tyrva
¨inen et al. (2006) Journal Theoretical All
75 Usman et al. (2009) Conference Theoretical Tools strategy
76 Vitari et al. (2006) Journal Combined Tools strategy
77 vom Brocke and Simons (2008) Conference Design science Tools strategy
78 vom Brocke et al. (2008b) Conference Design science Tools strategy
79 vom Brocke et al. (2008c) Conference Design science Tools
80 vom Brocke et al. (2008a) Conference Design science Process
81 vom Brocke et al. (2009) Journal Design science Process
82 vom Brocke et al. (2010b) Conference Theoretical Strategy
83 vom Brocke et al. (2010a) Book chapter Design science Strategy
84 Wagner et al. (2008) Conference Descriptive Tools
85 Xin-qiang (2010) Journal Descriptive Tools
86 Yan and Wu (2008) Book chapter Descriptive Tools
87 Yu (2005) Book Case study All
88 Zardini et al. (2010) Conference Case study Strategy
89 Zhang et al. (2010) Conference Descriptive Tools
90 Zhang and Zhongfan (2001) Journal Combined (descriptive
and theoretical)
91 Zykov (2006) Workshop Combined
design science)
Tools process
Tabl e I.
ECM research
Of the 33 journal papers as shown in Table III, three appeared in Communications of
the Association for Information Systems, two appeared in the European Journal of
Information Systems, and one appeared in Communications of the ACM. Many of the
journals are not IS journals, which leads to the conclusion that IS researchers have only
started to show interest in the ECM field. The 35 conference papers included two
workshop paper and one symposium paper. Six of the others were presented at the
Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences (HICSS), three at the Australian
Conference on Information Systems (ACIS), and two at the European Conference on
Information Systems (ECIS). With regard to research methodology, one-third of the
publications are descriptive, which is classified as belonging to the tools dimension.
Case study methodology was used in 22 percent of the publications; design science in
17 percent; survey papers made up 6 percent; and archival papers 5 percent.
3. Conceptual framework and analysis of ECM publications
ECM development is an ongoing process that involves enterprise content resources,
infrastructure, and managerial practices within the context of dynamic change in
technology, organizations, and markets (Pa
¨rinta and Munkvold, 2005). ECM
technology represents only a small part of the ECM complexity. ECM systems involve
various sophisticated and interacting aspects, including technical, social,
organizational, and business aspects. In an attempt to comprise this complexity, the
ECM literature is structured around three pillars. The first pillar consists of four ECM
component dimensions: tools, strategy, process, and people. The second pillar is the
enterprise system lifecycle. Esteves and Pastor (1999) suggested the following lifecycle
phases for enterprise system: adoption, acquisition, implementation, use and
maintenance, evaluation, and retirement. This lifecycle (excluding retirement, which
seems not to be applicable here, and implementation, because it overlaps with the
Publication type Number of publications
Journals 33
Conference proceedings 35
Books 8
Book chapters 10
Master’s theses 5
Total 91
Table II.
Number of ECM
publications by type
Figure 1.
Distribution of ECM
publications by year
process dimension) is adopted as the second pillar. The final pillar is the strategic
managerial aspect, including change management and management commitment.
Previous ECM research discusses the managerial aspects such as change management
under the people dimension. However, these managerial aspects should have a separate
classification, as they may also be included in the system lifecycle (e.g. adoption). In the
next subsections, the ECM publications as they relate to each of the aforementioned
three pillars are discussed.
3.1 The four ECM component dimensions
The first dimension to be discussed is the tools dimension. The majority of the papers
(46 percent) focusses on the technical dimension and ignore other dimensions. For
instance, Chiu et al. (2010) propose a financial ECM framework that allows intra-
enterprise and inter-enterprise interactions. Privacy and access control policies are
demonstrated for internal content management, and for external access control. The
authors demonstrate the achievement of integration and control in a case study from
the banking industry. In another example, Befa et al. (2010) utilize the benefits of
semantic web technologies that include semantic interoperability and dramatic cost
reduction, to extend the ECM system to automatically import and export ontologies.
In her Master’s thesis, Saslaw (2009) used Microsoft SharePoint (one type of ECM) and
Journal name Number of publications
Communications of the Association for Information Systems 2
European Journal of Information Systems 3
Communications of The ACM 1
Communications of The IIMA 1
Datenbank-Spektrum 1
Computer Applications and Software 1
Computer of Engineering 1
Computer of Engineering and Applications 1
Computer Science Journal of Moldova 1
Government Information Quarterly 1
IEEE Congress on Services Part II 1
IFIP Advances in Information 1
Information Systems and E-Business Management 1
International Journal of Automation and Computing 1
International Journal of Information Management 1
International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management 1
International Journal of Systems and Service-Oriented Engineering 1
International Water Power & Dam Construction 1
Journal of Digital Information Management 1
Journal of Industrial Technology 1
Knowledge-Based Systems 1
Medical Reference Services Quarterly 1
Microcomputer Information 1
Modern Electronics Technique 1
Nonprofit Management & Leadership 1
Organizacija 1
Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 1
Security & Privacy, IEEE 1
Technical Communication Quarterly 1
The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation 1
Table III.
Journals with ECM
ECM research
inquiry-based design to construct a prototype for a resource portal for the University
of North Carolina Healthcare System. She found that the method is useful in
identifying the types of information in the ECM. By using design science methodology,
Aziz et al. (2010) propose a grid-based CMS for multimedia data in the publishing
industry; the authors argue that the system leads to better controlling of storage
resources, and helps in matching the users’ previous behavior to resource policies.
However, 22 percent of the papers discuss other dimensions in addition to the tools
dimension. Pe
´rez-Montoro (2011) presents different types of CMS including document
management, record management, and learning content management; the features of
each system are defined to show the applications of these systems in e-learning and
KM. McNabb (2005) claims that compliance, governance, and process efficiency are the
main drivers of ECM adoption. Large IT infrastructure vendors (e.g. IBM, EMC,
Oracle) view ECM as a growth opportunity while smaller vendors (e.g. Laserfiche) that
provide specific parts of ECM such as web content management, may find themselves
obsolete unless they are able to distinguish themselves. Also, the author makes two
important suggestions: organizations should adopt the ECM suite that aligns with the
corporate objectives, and ECM vendors should be evaluated based on their long-term
Totally, 18 percent of the papers discuss mainly the strategy dimension. For
instance, Allen (2008) discusses in his book the common strategies to solve the “legacy
problem domains” that are traditionally addressed in different ECM modules. The book
also discusses the converting strategies from traditional content to digital content. The
benefits and barriers of ECM adoption are discussed by Kunstova (2010). This author
found that the most important barrier is the lack of technological, human, and financial
resources, and the most important benefit is productivity increase. Alalwan and
Weistroffer (2011) propose a framework to link ECM to decision-making activities, and
present five propositions based on published literature to identify the potential effects
of ECM technology on decision support activities.
Another 24 percent of the papers discuss the strategy dimension in addition to one
or more other dimensions. As a case in point, Smith and McKeen (2003) investigate
how organizations implement and develop ECM in order to manage information by
having a focus group of knowledge managers. They discuss the reasons that lead to
ECM adoption. Although the authors conclude that ECM systems enhance the
organizational processes by providing essential services such as capturing, creating,
indexing, searching, accessing, organizing, and maintaining content, they also find that
the short-term benefits (i.e. cost reduction and work process simplification) are the
primary drivers for ECM adoption. They argue that organizational performance may
be affected significantly by the right practices of content stewardship and the right
information technology and behavior. They claim that managers have more value to
gain from ECM systems if they follow a more strategic approach. In another
publication, Munkvold et al. (2006) aim to build an understanding of ECM based on
a major ECM project in the oil industry. They claim that in order to gain effective
and efficient electronic collaboration, three types of management are crucial:
management of content, management of infrastructure, and change management.
They include change management as one of the major categories of ECM; according to
their case study, user-related issues require change management such as motivating
users for administrative and technological changes, and improving user skills to deal
with ECM technology. To solve this problem, training programs and active user
support are crucial. Finally, the authors conclude that research is needed in the
following areas: ECM personalization and customization, utilizing content metadata
and corporate taxonomy, and justifying the investment of ECM and evaluating the
impact of ECM systems.
Only 7 percent of the papers discuss process as the main dimension. For instance,
vom Brocke and Simons (2008) and vom Brocke et al. (2009) claim that business process
management and ECM are two strongly related fields of research; they propose the
ECM-blueprinting framework that systemizes ECM adoption. Their framework
consists of five phases: business process analysis, content analysis, ECM analysis,
ECM-blueprint adaptation, and business process redesign. The proposed framework
is evaluated in the context of a research project accomplished in a large-scale
international cooperation. Based on the evaluation results, the framework provided
valuable insights that can deal with the challenges of ECM. Fennell (2007) discusses
the deployment of an open source CMS, named Drupal, in the libraries of the
University of Minnesota.
Process is a common dimension along with other dimensions in 15 percent of the
papers. Nordheim and Paivarinta (2004, 2006) concentrate on ECM implementation
issues and present a framework for ECM customization based on an ERP literature
review, and a case study from the oil industry. The authors try to determine the issues
that emerge during the process of developing an ECM system. They summarize four
motors of development and change: teleological, evolutionary, life cycle, and dialectical
motors. The authors also discuss the challenges of ECM and found that content
management challenges include lack of management attention and commitment.
Scheepers (2006) proposes a conceptual framework to help in the implementation of
enterprise information portals, which is considered as a key component of ECM
infrastructure. The suggested framework is based on marketing fundamentals. In that
framework, the users of the portals should be viewed as segments and for each
segment the following certain factors should be considered: content, distribution,
promotion, and price. O’Callaghan and Smits (2005) propose a framework to implement
ECM that helps in selecting the content brought under ECM; the authors claim that the
proposed framework can guide IT investment and create business value. By using a
portal-based IS design, Zykov (2006) discusses the implementation and maintenance of
ECM systems. The author argues that his new method can help information resource
management by providing consistent and adequate metadata manipulation.
Only one paper was centered solely on the people dimension. Scott (2011) discusses
the user perceptions of ECM systems as one of the determinants of technology
acceptance. The research evaluates the elements that lead to ECM system acceptance.
The results reveal that cognitive engagement is an essential construct of technology
acceptance. Also the research emphasizes the importance of metadata and taxonomy
in structuring the content.
In addition, around 12 percent of the papers were in the people dimension along
with other dimensions. Nordheim and Paivarinta (2004, 2006) suggest that ECM
capabilities should satisfy the user needs and on references through personalization
and customization. They argue that ECM should facilitate increasing the quality of
the content, providing easy-to-use systems, and meeting the security requirements
through authentication and encryption. Smith and McKeen (2003) emphasize the
importance of hiring and training people with analytic skills (namely, technology
skills, statistical modeling and analytic skills, knowledge of the data, knowledge of the
business, communication and partnering). Through a study of ten Italian cases, Bianco
and Michelino (2010) explore the interaction between organizational and technological
ECM research
factors by studying the impact of CMSs on publishing firms; the authors identify the
organizational factors that are affected by the technology use. The socio-technical
context that favors the adoption of technology is also specified.
3.2 ECM system lifecycle
In the adoption phase, the initial requirements for an ECM system are investigated,
the impact of the system on the organization is analyzed, and the goals and benefits of
the system are determined. In this literature review no papers were found that focus
on ECM adoption. However, looking at the literature, there are complicated
and interrelated adoption problems that involve management (i.e. strategy planning,
organizational culture), technology (i.e. tools and practices), and stakeholders (i.e.
training and resistance). Kemp (2007) noted that many barriers such as organizational
culture and user resistance often face the adoption of ECM. Dilnutt (2006a, b) explores
the emergence of the ECM discipline. Also, he discusses the reasons for the increasing
demand of document-based information management and the reasons behind ECM
adoption. He claims that “moving toward smarter knowledge platforms, and the
adoption of common standards and protocols” are the main reasons behind ECM
convergence. The benefits of ECM can be summarized as: compliance, efficiency,
consistency, customer service, consolidation, and risk alleviation.
In the acquisition phase, ECM systems are selected by comparing system features
to business requirements. Benevolo and Negri (2007) discuss the mismatch between
organizations’ needs and the functions of information management products including
document and records management systems, web CMS, and ECM systems. The
authors compare the characteristics of 22 international products to the following
organizational needs: information collection, management, and publication. Their
results show that the content management products generally can deal with all three
areas (collection, management, publication), but are usually focussed on only one of
those areas. The authors conclude “[y] there is no standard and commonly accepted
definition for Content Management.” The vendors of CMS often offer various systems
and organizations should evaluate the CMS functionalities according to their specified
requirements. After classifying CMS into digital asset management, web content
management, source configuration management, document management, ECM, and
KM, Votsch (2001) highlights the problem that organizational needs usually do not
match the solutions offered by vendors. The author gives important advice for
executives who plan to purchase and implement CMS. Vitari et al. (2006) purport
that choosing the most suitable CMS for organizational needs is a complicated task.
The authors claim that there are difficulties in pre-purchasing evaluations of CMS
because there is no analysis framework. They proposed two tools based on the analysis
of 23 CMS, one for analyzing CMS and a second one for understanding the strategy of
CMS vendors. The application of their tools to analyzing CMS and identifying
strategies are also discussed in the paper.
The evolution phase, which overlaps with the tools dimension, includes integrating
ECM systems with existing information sources and IT systems. Reimer (2002)
especially focusses on the structure and functions of ECM systems. He suggests that
business process efficiency may be enhanced greatly by applying integrated ECM. He
also suggests that the legacy systems in the organization need to be considered when
implementing ECM. Reimer (2002) argues that consolidation of existing disparate data
into a single enterprise depository may not be possible, so he suggests a federation or
warehouses for these data, which can lead to a single logical view. Also, he argues that
ECM functions, after ECM implementation, should be superior to any individual
solution such as documents management, reports management, or records
management. Kunkelmann and Brunelli (2002) describe the integration of advanced
retrieval and indexing modules into a media archive system, which is one type of ECM.
The authors claim that the system supports customizable structure and also supports
the content during the whole content lifecycle.
In the evaluation phase, performance, benefits, and features of the system are
assessed based on the requirements objectives that are determined in the adoption
phase. In this phase, the question to ask is, “does the system satisfy the needs of the
organization?” Pa
¨rinta and Munkvold (2005) found that there often is a mismatch
between observation and actual performance; they conclude that ECM evaluation
practices bear shortcomings. Norrfors (2007) evaluated the usability of Platina, which
is one of the ECM systems in Sweden; the author provides suggestions to redesign the
user interface based on Microsoft Windows standards.
3.3 Strategic managerial aspects
Two predominant strategic aspects that are discussed widely in ECM literature are
change management and management commitment.
With regard to change management, vom Brocke and Simons (2008) and vom
Brocke et al. (2009) propose an ECM-blueprinting framework, which manages process
change in the organization. Pa
¨rinta and Munkvold (2005) present a content model
for ECM providing an integrated perspective on information management; they
conclude that change management is necessary to optimize fit among the types of content,
enterprise, infrastructure, and administration. They found that change management is
crucial to gain management support by justifying ECM investment, and to deal with
users’ resistance. Munkvold et al. (2006) include change management as one of the major
categories of ECM. According to their case study, user-related issues require change
management, such as motivating users for administrative and technological changes and
improving user skills to deal with ECM technology. To solve this problem, they suggest
that training programs and active user support are crucial. Based on Joha and Janssen
(2010) make several suggestions to manage change while implementing content
management, such as continuous user involvement in the system design, providing
post-implementation training, and pursuing funding and leadership engagement.
Management commitment is also considered an important factor in the ECM
literature. For example, Nordheim and Paivarinta (2006) found that content management
challenges include lack of management attention and commitment. Top management
(and other employees’) commitment is required to ensure that the new business processes
and the new types of content are integrated into the system to benefit the whole
organization (Kemp, 2007). Vidgen et al. (2001) found that lack of senior management
commitment was a problem in adopting SiteScape as web content management.
A conceptual ECM framework is developed based on the above discussion. This
framework categorizes the ECM literature within the discussed three pillars: the four-
ECM dimensions, the ECM systems lifecycle, and the strategic management aspects as
shown in Figure 2.
4. Agenda for future research
Based on the literature review and the conceptual framework shown in Figure 2,
several gaps and opportunities for further research are highlighted, are discussed. The
following list summarizes the proposed ECM research agenda.
ECM research
The four ECM dimensions are as follows.
(1) Tools:
.To what extend are ECM systems suitable for cloud computing?
.What are the architectural requirements for cloud computing ECM?
.How can existing IT infrastructure be integrated into enterprise mobile
(2) Strategy:
.What are the strategic capabilities of ECM?
.How can investment in ECM be justified?
.How can organizations best achieve strategic capabilities of ECM?
(3) Process:
.How can ECM be effectively implemented?
.What are potential tools, practices, and guidelines to help in ECM
(4) People:
.How can different stakeholders be involved in ECM implementation?
.What are the best training strategies that ensure higher workers’
ECM system lifecycle are as follows.
(1) Adoption:
.What is the impact of ECM adoption on organizational performance?
.What are the factors that affect ECM adoption?
Strategic management aspects
People Process
Figure 2.
Conceptual ECM
(2) Acquisition:
.How can organizations best select the ECM system that matches their needs?
.What are good acquisition-planning methodologies that organizations can
(3) Evolution:
.What are the challenges of ECM integration and how can they be resolved?
.What are the critical success factors for integrating ECM systems with
existing information sources?
(4) Evaluation:
.How can the performance of ECM system be effectively evaluated?
.What are the different performance measures that match with different ECM
Strategic managerial aspects are as follows.
(1) Change management:
.What are the change management strategies that can handle different
perspectives of ECM?
.How can these strategies be utilized?
(2) Management commitment:
.How can the commitment of management to adopt ECM system be assured
for the whole system lifecycle?
Although the tools dimension is the most discussed area in the ECM literature, there is
still a need to look at emerging technologies such as cloud computing and enterprise
mobile computing.
In the strategy dimension, the literature lacks empirical testing of the strategic
effectiveness of ECM. Empirical research is needed to show that the adoption
of ECM has short-term and long-term benefits. Beyond confirming the strategic
effectiveness of ECM, researchers need to also investigate how that effectiveness can
best be achieved.
In the process dimension, the ECM field lacks academic guidelines for successful
implementation; empirical research that discusses ECM implementation is scarce.
Gottlieb (2005) concludes that “Full and successful ECM implementations are rare, if
any exist at all.” He suggests several strategies for successful ECM implementation,
such as utilizing the corporate metadata and taxonomy to have a holistic view
of content and integrating content throughout the enterprise by establishing
a federated content architecture. Usman et al. (2009) conclude, “[y] ECM domain is
currently lacking the set of tools, techniques, practices and guideline for successful
ECM implementations.”
In the people dimension, although stakeholders have been discussed as a critical
component in change management, further research is needed into the effects of
involving different stakeholders in ECM implementation, how different stakeholders
can be involved in ECM implementation, and what the best training strategies are that
ensure higher workers’ efficiency.
ECM research
In the adoption phase, although understanding the organizations’ adoption of an
idea, product, or technology is important to the success of the implementation of that
idea or technology (Thompson, 1969; Pierce and Delbecq, 1977; Rogers, 1983), research
focusing on the adoption phase is still very scarce. Research that leads to better
understanding of the impact of ECM adoption on organizational performance and the
factors that affect that adoption is needed.
In the acquisition phase, there is scarce academic research that investigates
acquiring the right ECM system to match the specific needs of the organization,
although there are major practitioners’ tools (i.e. Magic Quadrant from Gartner, and
Forrester Wave report) that provide useful information for ECM acquisition. Research
on the methods of acquiring ECM systems as well as research that discusses
acquisition-planning methodology for organizations to follow is needed.
In the evolution phase, research on challenges and solutions of ECM integration is
needed. Determining the critical success factors for ECM integration would be most
For the evaluation phase, as in the many of the other areas, little research has been
published, as also pointed out by Tyrva
¨inen et al. (2006). Research is needed to address
how ECM performance can be evaluated, and what the different performance measures
should be that correspond to different ECM perspectives.
In change management, a broader view is required to consider the strategies
that can handle various perspectives (human and organizational) of ECM, and how
to best utilize these strategies. Management commitment is a critical success factor
for ECM systems as for other enterprise systems. Management commitment is
required before, during, and after system implementation. Thus, research is needed to
determine the best ways to get management commitment for the whole system
5. Conclusion
This paper provides a comprehensive literature review of published ECM research, a
conceptual framework for analyzing and classifying ECM research publications, and a
possible agenda for future research in ECM. Although ECM can be viewed as an
evolution of information management, and its importance is becoming rapidly more
evident, the ECM field lacks sufficient meta-analysis research that explains the current
state of the field. The comprehensive literature review of ECM research provided in this
paper is a step toward closing this gap. Previous ECM reviews (Tyrva
¨inen et al., 2006;
Usman et al., 2009) do not adequately cover the diverse interacting aspects of the ECM
field. The conceptual framework presented in this paper allows other researchers in the
ECM field to put their own research in a better context, and thus help in understanding
the relevant ECM issues that need further investigation. The suggested research
agenda is based on the literature review and the identified gaps in the published ECM
Thus the contribution of the paper is threefold. First, the literature review provides
an overview of what has been done, and by extension, what has not yet been done in
ECM research. Second, the conceptual framework provides a structure for future
studies related to ECM, thereby giving context and supporting the understanding
of such work and its potential impact on other scholarship and on practice. Third,
the suggested research agenda provides a guideline for scholars wanting to do
research in ECM and helps direct their attention to those areas most in need of further
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Buchheim, R. (2006), “Panel session ‘The future of ECM’ ”, in Stalters, R. (Ed.), AIIM Expo,
Conference and Exposition, May 16, AIIM, pp. 3-9.
Content Manager (2004), “ECM market to reach $9b in software and service”, available at:
(accessed March 18, 2012).
Dunwoodie, B. (2004), “Global ECM market still likely to consolidate”, CMS Wire, available at:
000301.php (accessed March 18, 2012).
EMC Corporation (2009), EMC Ranked Leader in Gartner 2009 ECM Magic Quadrant, EMC
Corporation, available at: (accessed March 18,
Corresponding author
Jaffar Ahmad Alalwan can be contacted at:
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ECM research
... Corporate memory, an irreplaceable asset that is often times overlooked, is contained in the organization's records (Alalwan & Weistroffer, 2012). Every business day generates records which could become background information for future management decisions and planning. ...
... Such lack of control results in loss of accountability for an organization's actions. Corruption and mismanagement in relation to problems of time and cost are likely to occur (Alalwan & Weistroffer, 2012). According to Sataslaatten (2014) it does not only cost business more money, such as that spent on purchasing of additional filing cabinets, files' folders and additional off-site storage, but business also loses efficiency and staff time when records cannot be quickly located and retrieved as they are needed. ...
... Some organisations exclude records management from the criteria for good corporate governance infrastructure. It is, however, argued that records management should be an essential function of good corporate governance (Alalwan & Weistroffer, 2012;Katuu, 2015). ...
As organisations grow, so does the volume of records they produce when conducting their business with the resulting large customer base. Studies have established that organizations, regardless of industry, that do not have a well-coordinated records management system face a variety of challenges, including cash flow. The current study employs interview and observation guides to determine records management practices, establish records management strategies and investigate the factors that influence records management at the Northern Region Water Board, a public organisation in Malawi. The study exposes that the Northern Region Water Board does not have a formal records management policy, directly affecting the records management practices at the institution. However, the results show that there are traditional measures to mitigate effects of disasters. Fire extinguishers are installed to reduce the risk of damage that may be caused by fire. Aged records are at times sent to an offsite leased archive storage facility without a clear formal schedule. Electronic records are managed through the institution’s disaster recovery plan.
... At best, they integrate links to (transaction-oriented) unstructured information connected with structured information in their databases. For that reason, they often work together with (enterprise) document (or content) management systems, but these systems are not under their control (Alalwan and Weistroffer 2012;Grahlmann et al 2012). The amount of unstructured information is rising quickly now that organizations use cloud technologies for enabling information and communication technology systems to streamline business processes with collaboration technologies, information sharing, corporate blogs, wikis, forums, community platforms and idea management systems (McAfee 2006). ...
Conference Paper
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Abstract: The article "Sharing of teaching staff information via QR-code usage" presented at the conference, which has the common name "Information Systems Management and Evaluation ». One of the most famous information systems in user practice is an information system - "Human Resources Information System" (HRIS), which is essentially a database of the HR organization, which in itself does not provide any management decisions and need a special person who to this database is constantly filled and made changes. In this article, based on the analysis of empirical data is offered a specific solution for database management of HRIS remotely by members of the company. The process of personnel management becomes more effective and operational with the help of one of the technologies IoT- QR code. University Information about the instructors are constantly changing and the human resources department is necessary each time to make changes to the database. There are cases when you need urgent information on the teacher, and it is impossible to obtain an instant on a number of subjective reasons. QR code technology offers amazing features such as: 1. Easy access 2. Deeper relationship with customers 3. Bridge online and offline media 4. Real-time information 5. Invoke user's curiosity These technologies can provide information about the teachers for students, undergraduates, doctoral students, researchers and administration. Files using this technology consist of not only text but also videos in 3D animation. This article describes a practical example of the use of IoT technologies - QR code to improve the efficiency of the automated human resource management system (for example, Almaty Management University).The purpose of this work: to show the ways to improve the information system "Human Resources Information System” (HRIS) through the use of user-friendly, intuitive and fast QR code technology. The object of study: the work of the personnel department, IC ‘Human Resources Information System’ (HRIS) 6. Research model: observation, cross sectional model 7. Variables: behavioral variables 8. Methodology: analysis of the usage and importance of QR code for users. 9. The results of studies: the formation of stable opinion of the importance of the QR code. 10. Criteria for evaluation of thinking: creativity, innovation and technological advancement 11. Findings: not fully disclosed the potential of QR code technology has a significant impact on society. Practical implications: all the legal information about the instructors optically encoded from paper, which definitely contributes to the idea of open systems. It provides simplicity and high reading speed and user interaction with the information. Keywords: QR code, human resource information system, new content, IoT and IoE, physical web, file formats 1
... HEIs need to establish systems that enable them to handle routine operations quickly and easily, including the generation of both standard and ad hoc documents, and to provide rapid access to data for planning purposes and informed decision-making. ERMS also help to reduce data volume and storage space, offering secure online offsite archiving and rapid retrieval, as well as an online backup given the vulnerabilities of hardcopy systems in crises, making them generally more reliable ( Alalwan & Weistroffer, 2012 ;Extensis, 2011 ;Johnston & Bowen, 2005 ;Katuu, 2012 ;Maguire, 2005 ;Meserve, 2003 ;Miah & Samsudin, 2017 ;Mukred et al., 2019 ). Keizo et al. (2015) study conducted at Osaka University, spoke to the positive role of ICT systems in recording the history of students' academic activities, as well as a motivator of further study and engagement in international activities supporting career development ( Keizo et al., 2015 ). ...
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More than a decade of conflict has disrupted all sectors across Syria, including the higher education (HE) sector, depriving much of a generation of Syrian youth of access to HE in areas to which they have been displaced. This research sought to evaluate the effectiveness of student-record systems in facilitating student transition and mobility both inside Syria and beyond, focusing on two universities in the conflict-affected northwest to which the greatest number have been displaced. A mixed-method approach was adopted, combining a student survey (370 respondents), two student focus groups, and six interviews with staff (academic and administrative) from the two study universities. Results revealed a total absence of mobility opportunities due primarily to the univer-sities' lack of international recognition, as well as financial limitations. The adoption of hardcopy student-record systems due the lack of finance and skills to support digitisation, coupled with a lack of standardised practices across universities in the northwest, whether study-related or other, clearly constrained student transition. Most respondents had little knowledge of transition processes or of alternative integrated-institution-wide-record systems. In a world where robust efficient digitised systems are central international recognition, many students still favoured hardcopy documents, not least as a requirement of employment to help mitigate forgery. Hardcopy systems did not provide students with direct access to essential documentation, creating delays and costs, and the need for in-person transaction in an area of continued insecurity with Government universities actively obstructing transition to non-government universities. Although both study universities are looking to modernise, current limitations continue to negatively affect transition and mobility opportunities.
... Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECMS) is a merging of technologies supporting Enterprise Content Management (ECM) (Alalwan & Weistroffer, 2012;Dilnutt, 2006aDilnutt, , 2006bMescan, 2004;Perry & Lancaster, 2002;Reimer, 2002;Rosman, 2020a). Dilnutt (2006b) highlights that ECM technologies are repeatedly advertised an amalgamated set of technologies comprising content, compliance, and collaborative solutions to enable collaboration among stakeholders to deliver, create, manage, store, and share information to accomplish agile business operations. ...
Organisations invest in a considerable number of resources towards implementing Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECMS), expecting productive outcomes from the ECMS utilisation. A well-designed ECMS is impressive and deserves admiration, but to the organisations the ECMS limited value is often a major highlight. This motivates this study to understand how sustainable investment in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies could support organisational Agile Business Processes (ABP). In studying how different organisation types utilise ECMS, the research employs a cross-sectional multiple-case studies approach with participation of seven large-scaled organisations. An investigation and an exploration into how these organisations interacted with ECMS are pivotal to the research. Based on the qualitative data analysis, this study proposes a sustainable ECMS-use framework that explains how ABP could benefit from it. Essentially, the framework enlightens researchers and practitioners to leverage ECM technologies for different work practices supporting ABP and organisational structures.
... Within these areas, the following specific components can be identified [Alalwan, Weistroffer 2012;Gałęzowski 2019, pp. 283-285;Kampffmeyer 2006, pp. ...
This study is an action research that combined theories and practices through change and reflection in a problematic situation in a real organization. A pilot research in an organizational case in Thailand indicated critical gaps in enterprise content management (ECM), called an electronic trial master file (eTMF), which resulted in challenges in eTMF implementation. The primary gap, in people's areas, was lack of competencies and performances. Therefore, the research objective following the gap identification was to enhance human capital that includes competencies and performances in the eTMF. The research combined the theories of human capital, the Fifth Discipline: shared vision, competency‐based management, and practices in real organizations. A focus group and quantitative analysis approach were applied in this research. The research participants comprised 25 employees: the country manager, experts, the assistant, and users of the eTMF. The results presented the competencies in which user participation was critical for establishing the appropriate competencies to support the achievement of the performance. The competencies in the eTMF consisted of 3 dimensions comprising knowledge, skills, and attributes, with 11 competencies concerning the components in ECM and the specific organizational ECM context. This research contributed to the workplace, pharmaceutical industry, and academics by providing approaches to enhance human capital in ECM in case people were the primary area. The research contributed to the gap identification that guided the ways to improve performance in an ECM. In addition, this research proposed human capital management concepts by providing approaches to enhance human capital during the ECM adoption phase.
Purpose This paper aims to examine the state of the art in electronic records management (ERM) with the goal of identifying the prevailing research topics, gaps and issues in the field. Design/methodology/approach First, a wide search was performed on academic research databases, limited to the period between 2008–2018. Second, the search results were reviewed for relevance and duplicates. Finally, the study sources were checked against the list of journals and conferences ranked by computing research and education and JourQual. The final sample of 55 selected studies was analyzed in depth. Findings ERM has lost some research momentum due to being deeply embedded in affiliate information systems areas and the changing records management landscape. Additionally, the requirement models specified by Governmental/National Archives might have constrained technology innovation in ERM. A lack of application was identified for the social media research area. Research limitations/implications Limitations were encountered in available search tool functionality and keyword confusion leading to inflated search results. While effort has been made to obtain optimal search results, some relevant articles may have been omitted. Originality/value The last ERM state-of-the-art review was in 1997. A lot has changed since then. This paper will help researchers understand the current state of ERM research, its understudied areas and identify gaps for future studies.
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The emergence and growth of the Internet and vast corporate intranets as information sources has resulted in new challenges with regard to scale, heterogeneity, and distribution of content. Semantics is emerging as the critical tool for enabling more scalable and automated approaches to achieve interoperability and analysis of such content. This chapter discusses how a Semantic Enterprise Content Management system employs metadata and ontologies to effectively overcome these challenges. Keywords: Semantic ...
IntroductionFinancial Compliance ProcessStandard RequirementsAdvanced RequirementsNext Generation ECM SystemsConclusion
For a couple of reasons, I had a very difficult time picking the right title for this chapter. First, there are many distant cousins to enterprise content management, for example, document management and web content management. Second, this is one of those terms sometimes used inappropriately. And third, once you master the enterprise content management (ECM) concepts as they apply to SharePoint 2010, you’ll be well equipped to handle document management and web content management as well. Trying to write this chapter was like fitting a Saint Bernard through a cat door! Although this topic is simply too big to cover in a single chapter, I hope it gives you a good start in digging up further information. So let’s start by finding out what ECM is all about.
The book titled 'Content and Workflow Management for Library Websites,' authored by Holly Yu, is analyzed. It is pointed that content management helps in organizing, categorizing, and structuring information resources, thus facilitating their storage, retrieval, publication, and reuse in multiple ways. The content management helps streamline the workflow for content generation and also guarantee content quality. It is suggested that database-driven web pages should consist of fixed HTML-coded portions and variable portions which are generated from the information drawn from data sources in a database.