ECM needs boost from APAC standard bodies

Lack of best practices and standards slowing down enterprise content management adoption in Asia-Pacific, say Open Text exec.

Enterprise content management (ECM) in the region remains challenged by the absence of standards and best practices, and this void is slowing down the implementation of ECM among Asia-Pacific organizations, notes industry player Open Text.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Cuneyt Uysal, Asia-Pacific and Japan product manager at ECM vendor, Open Text, said the adoption of content management in the region is driven primarily by large organizations but due to the lack of best practices and standards, these companies are struggling to get started.

Uysal explained: "You can't simply upload your document into the system [without a proper plan] or you won't be able to classify and find them later [when needed]."

He said government agencies such as Media Development Authority (MDA) and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) should help push standards so organizations can adopt them into a framework, and pointed to the joint effort between the two agencies to classify videos and digital assets using a metadata framework.

"It took a while for the process to really kick off because there wasn't a local standard on it. So they looked globally to countries like the United Kingdom to see what organizations like BBC had done," he noted.

Uysal said content management in North America and Europe is more mature due to the establishment of regulation and standards. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), for example, is using Open Text's tools in a project to store all its digital assets, he said.

The good news is that regulations are starting to emerge in the Asia-Pacific region, he said, pointing out to Thailand's agricultural industry as an example.

According to Uysal, proper document management is especially pertinent in heavily regulated industries, such as the tobacco market, which are popular targets of legal actions and need to comply with various regulations that require proper data archival.

Content management includes tools that not only help companies to properly store their information, but also allow them locate and retrieve relevant information when needed--for example, in a judiciary court, he said.

In August 2009, the Singapore Supreme Court issued a protocol for the discovery of electronic documents to be used as court evidence. Experts said this highlighted the need for organizations to invest in better data management.