SOURCE: AIIM - The ECM Association

March 07, 2005 10:05 ET

Struggle Continues Between How Organizations Use Electronic Communications Technology and How They Are Managed

Joint AIIM and Kahn Consulting Industry Survey Shows Continued Need for Organizational Policies Around Electronic Communications Technology

SILVER SPRING, MD -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 7, 2005 -- AIIM - the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry association, and Kahn Consulting, Inc. today announced the findings of their follow-up industry study that indicates a continuing gap between the way organizations use new communications technology and the way that they control and mange its use.

"Electronic Communications Policies and Procedures: An Industry Study," illustrates how e-mail and other electronic communications technology (including instant messaging, text-messaging, e-mail enabled phones, and wireless-enabled handheld devices) are increasingly being used to execute and document major business transactions and decisions.

"Many organizations are simply failing to put in place the basic policies, controls, and technology to manage electronic information," notes AIIM President John F. Mancini, "and as a result, these organizations suffer from process bottlenecks. In an era of litigation threats and new compliance requirements, organizations without a plan are putting the very existence of their organization at risk."

AIIM and Kahn Consulting conducted their first joint "Study" in Q3 2003, with over 1,000 respondents representing small and large organizations in the public sector and all major industries participated in the survey. This follow-up "Study" (which also had over 1,000 respondents) was jointly conducted in Q1 2005.

"Substantive business is done every day by organizations through e-communications technologies with little consideration for the business and legal issues. Indeed, contracts are now regularly executed in e-mail, modified in voice mail and breached with a text message," states Randolph Kahn, ESQ., founder and principal of Kahn Consulting. "While some organizations have recognized the growing need to take seriously their responsibility to manage electronic communication technologies, what is evident is that massive gaps continue to exist."

"Business managers, IT executives, records managers, and legal counsel need to work together to develop a solution," notes A. J. Hyland, 2004-2005 AIIM Board Chair and President of Hyland Software. "It is no longer enough to 'manage' e-mail simply by limiting the size of individual mailboxes."

Key Survey Findings:

The complexity of electronic communications is increasing. Nearly 20% of all business e-mail is viewed outside the organization's facility on some type of mobile device. With Instant Messaging largely unmanaged and expanding in most organizations, the complexity of the management challenge is increasing daily.

E-Mail is the central means used for business documentation. Over 70% of survey respondents reported that they exchange confidential or sensitive information via e-mail. E-mail is also used in other critical processes such as contract negotiation (70%), HR discussions (63%), and invoice delivery (75%).

Large gaps persist in the use of technology vs. formal policies and procedures. Organizations continue to lack formal directives regarding their electronic communications technologies. Only one-third of organizations that allow the use of text and e-mail enabled mobile phones provide formal directives regarding their use. While 86% of organizations guide employees on the "acceptable use" of e-mail, most fail to provide guidance on e-mail retention issues.

Compliance concerns go beyond large public companies. Nearly one-third of respondents report that Sarbanes-Oxley concerns have impacted the way their organization views e-mail.

Actions being taken are confused and falling short. Nearly 30 percent of respondents say they are retaining e-mail for longer periods of time as a result of compliance and litigation concerns. An almost equal percentage says they are retaining fewer e-mail for shorter periods of time -- also because of compliance and litigation concerns.

For a full copy of the survey results, go to www.aiim.org/viewpdfa.asp?ID=29430

About AIIM

AIIM - the international authority on Enterprise Content Management (ECM), is leading the way to the understanding, adoption and use of ECM technologies. These technologies, tools and methods are used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content across an enterprise in support of business processes. As a non-profit association for more than 50 years, AIIM provides news, information and resources through its industry web portal and ongoing education through programs that include market analysis, industry standards development, publications, chapters and regional events. Complete information about the association, is available on the Web at www.aiim.org.

About Kahn Consulting, Inc.

Kahn Consulting, Inc. ("KCI"), headed by founder and principal Randolph A. Kahn, Esq., is the premiere consulting firm specializing in the legal, compliance and policy issues of information technology and information management. Through a range of services including information management program development, risk management audits, policy development and evaluation, product assessments, legal and compliance research, and education and training, KCI helps its clients address today's critical issues in an ever-changing regulatory and technological environment. Based in Chicago, KCI provides its services to Fortune 500 companies and state and federal governmental agencies in North America and around the world. More information about KCI is available at www.KahnConsultingInc.com.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Beth Mayhew
    Manager, Public Relations
    AIIM - The ECM Association
    bmayhew@aiim.org
    301.755.7681