In the mid-1990s, I pushed the idea to create an ECM poster. In the end, we created a series of posters that were distributed at the AIIM Conference (a large trade show and conference at that time) and packaged with the print magazine.

AIIM was pushing the ECM message as the association began to move away from its legacy as a document imaging and microfilm standards body (FYI, if you’ve ever done research on microfilm or fiche, you can probably thank an AIIM standards group for your ability to access that information).

We wanted to do two things:

  1. Provide a visual depiction of the elements of ECM (enterprise content management) as it is more of a strategy enabled by technology than a single technology. And, of course, software vendors with pieces of the ECM puzzle were marketing themselves as ECM providers. You don’t just “buy” ECM. As with most IT issues, the confusion still exists as companies look for the non-existent “simple” solution to their business challenges without actually trying to identify and execute a strategy (but I digress).
  2. Make money. As the Internet was gaining popularity, print advertising was beginning to suffer. By offering sponsorship, we were able to make up some of the shortfall. I believe the first three ECM posters gave us around $250,000 in profit. They were also redesigned for our European audience and made even more money that way. Sponsors had zero input into the actual content of the posters.

Readers really enjoyed them. They shared them around the office, hung them on their walls, and used them to educate others in their companies to help get projects started.

Goals accomplished.

Only the first three exist online today. I’ll take photos of the remainder and add here once I can find where I filed my personal copies!

This is the first one. From this I learned that infographics ARE HARD and will take more time than you think they will. The only image I could find is from a DoD SlideShare presentation. How cool is that? Someone from the DoD used something I helped create!

The second poster, we had learned a little more about how to design one of these. Not shown here is the accompanying (short!) essay about the critical reason for managing content.

The third, and final, ECM poster. We had moved beyond explanation to what ECM is going to do for you. While text-heavy, we wanted to show how ALL of the moving parts of ECM worked in an office context. We didn’t come up with a perfect representation, but the content in this poster is still true today. (By the “s” in organisation here, you can tell this is the UK version.)

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