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Return on investment (ROI) proves elusive to measure for workflow, document management and ECM systems.

Despite growing investment in technologies such as document management, electronic content management (ECM) and workflow, the majority of organisations still have great difficulty in calculating the return on investment (ROI) for these systems. This is according to the latest survey from PMP Research into the use of document management, ECM & workflow technologies. The research has been commissioned by the Evaluation Centre (

Of the companies interviewed not one found the ROI justification ‘very easy’ and only 4% thought it was ‘easy’. On the other hand the majority of respondents found it either ‘very difficult’ (26%) or difficult (32%).

Only a quarter of the companies feel their current systems have delivered the business benefits or ROI expected, compared to an equal number (25%) who thought they had not. However the majority of respondents (41%) just did not know if they had or had not.

This can be explained by the fact that only 7% of organisations regularly measure their systems against defined criteria to determine whether the benefits have been achieved. A further 12% have only measured the effectiveness of their systems once after the initial implementation. This leaves the majority with no hard information by which to judge the effectiveness of their systems.

Improving customer service levels is the main reason for companies adopting workflow and document management solutions (rated 4.3 on a scale of 1 = not important and 5 = very important). Reducing operational costs and overheads (4.2) and introducing greater efficiencies and improving productivity (4.1) are also key drivers.

We asked our sample to assess the biggest challenges to implementing workflow and document management systems successfully, using a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is ‘not a challenge’ and 5 is ‘a major challenge’.

The aggregated results show that persuading staff of the advantages of the new approach is the single greatest problem (3.8). This is followed by the requirement to develop corporate information policies (3.7). Also winning management buy-in for such projects is not always easy (3.5).

The integration of workflow and document management systems with other key transaction systems is still poor, with only 16% of companies thinking there systems are well integrated.

Companies are also starting to include external organisations such as partners and suppliers in their corporate workflow systems to provided extended business processes. From the sample 16% of organisations have already implemented this with a further 18% planning to.
Organisations still have great difficulty in retrieving and managing unstructured data, according to 71% of the respondents. This may well be due to the difficulties companies are having in developing a corporate information strategy. Less than half the organisations surveyed (44%) have defined how information should be stored, who can access it and how long it should be held before being destroyed.

In addition only 18% of companies say their information is held corporately and is available to all who need it. This contrasts with over half (51%) who concede that vital corporate information is scattered around many different departmental systems and can be hard to find.

Survey Statistics

We spoke to a broad cross-section of 100 organisations for this year’s workflow, document management and ECM survey.

The companies vary in size from those with an annual turnover of £5-10 million (10%), to the very largest: 6% of the sample report a turnover of between £1 billion and £5 billion, while 6% exceed the £5 billion mark. In the middle of the scale, 14% have a turnover of between £10 million and £50 million, another 14% fall into the £50 million to £100 million bracket, 21% between £100 million and £500 million and 20% have a turnover in the range £500 million to £1 billion.

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Note for editors:

About PMP Research

PMP Research, ( founded in 1990, provides bespoke research, analysis and consultancy typically within the IT, telecoms and professional services markets.

Press enquiries:

For more information please contact Cliff Mills on 0870 908 8767 or email

About the Evaluation Centre

The Evaluation Centre ( – is an interactive service for end users and consultants to assist them in the procurement process for software, services and technology.

Press enquiries:

For more information please contact Steve Markwell on 0870 908 8767 or email

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of National Computing Centre (NCC) - Amersham in the following categories: Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit