Assessing the functionality of the enterprise content management maturity model

Publication Date18 July 2016
Date18 July 2016
AuthorShadrack Katuu
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information management & governance
Assessing the functionality of
the enterprise content
management maturity model
Shadrack Katuu
International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria and
Department of Information Science, University of South Africa,
Pretoria, South Africa
Purpose – The implementation of enterprise content management (ECM) software applications has
been a subject of extensive discussion. Although a number of ECM scholars have provided guidance on
ECM implementation, there is a gap in how to assess benets accruing from the implementation. One of
the approaches of assessment is the use of maturity models. This paper aims to examine the utility of
other ECM maturity model (ECM3) as an assessment tool.
Design/methodology/approach The study was undertaken based on two related research
questions, the rst explored ECM3 assessment within a South African context and the second explored
the utility of other maturity models for ECM implementation and lessons learnt to improve ECM3.
Findings – The results show that all the South African institutions assessed using ECM3 had a low
level of maturity and there are a number of maturity models comparable to ECM3, and the global survey
provides the closest parallel to the survey conducted in South Africa.
Originality/value The study offers a unique discussion on the possible utility of ECM3 as a
maturity model for assessing ECM implementation. This was done by comparing it with maturity
models developed or used by records professionals and through assessing the results of two surveys,
one conducted amongst South African institutions and another conducted by the Real Story Group.
Keywords Information management, Maturity model, Enterprise content management,
Electronic records management, Document management, EDRMS
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Enterprise content management (ECM) has been a subject of considerable discussion for
more than a decade and a half (Moore and Markham, 2003,Nguyen et al., 2007,Shegda
et al., 2004). Research analysts believe that the ECM software marketplace is mature but
noted that where institutions have invested in ECM, “many employees still use their
email systems and le shares to store, manage and share documents” (Durga, 2015a).
One of the reasons could be that professional discussions provide “little guidance to
practitioners concerning factors that drive or hinder ECM implementation” (Herbst
et al., 2014, p. 109). A few scholars have provided guidance on ECM implementation,
The author wishes to thank the editor and anonymous reviewers of this journal for their
constructive comments to improve the paper. The author gratefully acknowledges the thoughtful
readings of previous iterations of the article by Laura Millar, John McDonald and David Wallace.
The views expressed herein are those of the author and should not be attributed to his currently
employer, the International Atomic Energy, nor any of his previous employers.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 21 August 2015
Revised 15 December 2015
3 March 2016
Accepted 18 March 2016
RecordsManagement Journal
Vol.26 No. 2, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/RMJ-08-2015-0030
with most of the discussion dwelling on activities leading up to the implementation and
little on how to assess benets accruing from the implementation (Smits and
O’Callaghan, 2014,Vom Brocke et al., 2011).
This article seeks to address the assessment gap and begins with an introduction to
the concept of maturity models and ECM. It then describes the features of the ECM
maturity model (ECM3) as a maturity model that could be used to evaluate ECM
implementation. The article assesses the functionality of ECM3 using two research
questions, the rst exploring ECM3 assessment within a South African context and the
second comparing the utility of ECM3 in the context of maturity models in related elds.
The article ends with a number of observations on ways of improving ECM3 and
concluding remarks.
2. Maturity models, enterprise content management and the ECM
maturity model
A maturity model is a management tool designed to help organisations implement effective
processes in a given management discipline (Simon et al., 2010). It is a “structured collection
of elements that describe characteristics of effective processes” and provides a place to start
assessment, incorporates the benet of prior experience, provides a common language and
framework for prioritizing actions and offers a way to dene improvement (Murray and
Ward, 2007, p. 5). The concept started in the early 1980s and became most prominent
through the computer software engineering eld in the late 1980s and early 1990s (Liu, 2002).
In those early days, the concept entailed developing a “process maturity framework” to
explore maturity issues (Paulk et al., 1993, p. 7). Since then, the concept has spread to several
disciplines, including business analytics (Cosic et al., 2012), e-government (Shareef et al.,
2012), nancial management (McRoberts and Sloan, 1998), human resources management
(Curtis et al., 2009), the health sector (Gillies, 2000,Vital Wave Consulting, 2009) and project
management (Kerzner, 2011).
Maturity models are developed on the basis that organisations or processes do not
move from zero capability to optimum capability instantaneously, but rather progress
along a journey of maturity (Murray and Ward, 2007, p. 5). The total number of levels for
each maturity model varies from three to six, but most models have between ve and six
maturity levels with different naming conventions for the level of progression.
Regardless of the differences in the models, they all share the common objective of the
continuous improvement of aspects of an organisation or a process (Katuu, 2013,p.1,
Van Aartsengel and Kurtoglu, 2013, p. 190). The next section provides an introduction to
ECM and an outline of ECM3’s components and assessment criteria.
2.1 An introduction to enterprise content management
Organisations have a variety of business systems to help them manage their records.
Depending on the institution, the digital records connected to these business systems
could be managed in network drives or by using specialised business applications such
as ECM software applications or, although not desirable, left unmanaged. The term
ECM has been used for more than a decade by professional service institutions such as
Gartner and Forrester (Moore and Markham, 2003,Shegda et al., 2004) and in research
projects such as InterPARES (Rogers et al., 2011).
Records professionals have not discussed ECM as extensively as other disciplines.
Sprehe (2005) had one of the earliest ECM discussions presenting case studies that

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