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Gartner Says Shared-Services Can Cut the Cost of Enterprise Content Management by Up to 20 Percent


Analysts Discuss Key Enterprise Content Management Issues at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, October 18-22, in Orlando

STAMFORD, Conn. - Organizations can save as much as 10 to 20 percent of their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) costs by moving to a shared services model, according to Gartner, Inc.

Gartner analysts said that shared services have become a practical way for enterprises to provide ECM services, and vendors under pressure from the economy are now willing to work with the shared services model as a way to drive business.

“Enterprises have long struggled with multiple ECM deployments which have, in turn, created information silos and caused enterprises to pay for separate sets of software licenses, maintenance and support skills for too many ECM vendors,” said Mark Gilbert, research vice president at Gartner. “The troubled economy has forced many IT organizations to cut ECM costs, but traditional approaches to consolidating are slow, complex and costly. The shared services — or ECM as a service — approach promises at least a partial solution.”

The shared services approach is a delivery model in which an enterprise purchases ECM functions centrally and governs the types of services offered, while granting users a degree of ownership. The enterprise itself, or cloud-based service providers, can deliver these functions over the Internet, much the same as service-oriented architectures (SOAs) make reusable software procedures identifiable and callable. Shared services may also include support from experts on a particular topic, computing infrastructure and reference architectures.

Mr. Gilbert said that information architects and business planners involved with ECM should consider the benefits and limitations of shared services, whether they are practical today and the steps involved in implementation.

Benefits of the shared-service approach
The benefits of the shared-service approach include economies of scale, reuse of infrastructure, interoperability across the enterprise, speed of deployment, information sharing, and improved credibility for the IT organization.

Limitations of the shared-service approach
The limitations of the share-service approach include an inability to integrate existing information silos and the inability to provide enterprise-scale savings for advanced ECM functions needed by individual departments.

Are shared-services practical today?
Shared services make sense if planners can identify basic functions that almost every department uses or needs — for example, secure repository services and content-centric workflows.

Five steps to implement shared-services
It is important that the IT organization and business units work together to implement shared services. Gartner has identified five key steps for implementation:
- Assess whether shared services make sense
- Standardize on a single ECM product or vendor platform
- Define packages of ECM functions, based on the specific needs of departments and the potential user base
- Establish a governance model for service and support
- Form a competency center for ECM

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Use Shared Services to Control Enterprise Content Management Costs" The report is available on Gartner’s Website at

About Gartner:
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit


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