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ECM meets BCG Matrix December 6, 2009

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management, Enterprise Content Management.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Although the BCG Matrix is primarily a product life-cycle matrix, it has always captured a special position from my university and marketing days. Even with its constraints, it provides a good overview and has hence survived time and challenges from other models.

One of the key challenges for me in ECM has been to map the role of various content and their role in terms of regulatory compliance and operational performance. Here I find a modified BCG Matrix has a good start as depicted in the sample diagram below:

When used in a  Business Process, placing the content in the BCG Matrix creates 4 categories in the content portfolio of the process:

Question Marks

Question Marks are content that have high regulatory importance and as a result requires attention while managing them. At the same time, they may seem to be a hinderance or have a slow-down effect on the operational performance of a process.


Dogs have low compliance requirements and low operational performance benefits and this gives a better insight into prioritization of managing these content.


Stars are those content that, as is obvious, have high compliance requirements and are also the backbone to the operational performance of the process.When identifying your BPM and ERM needs, these content must be handled with care.

Cash Cows

These content are not required from a compliance perspective but have great value of the operational needs of the process and hence, need not be marked as a record for retention. Nonetheless, it is always advised to keep such content in retention for a while if not long-term.


So what are the cons of this model? Well, it does not address the strategic necessity of content. For e.g., while Marketing Materials have been ranked as a Dog, it need not be so as strategically marketing content have a strong role of play for the organisation. 

Also, the compliance laws of various countries may differ and hence, some of the content shown as low may not be so according to some laws.

This post, much like my earlier 5W post, is also just a starting step into evaluating your content. This provides one with a decent start, if not a fully detailed analysis of your content and their relevance in the organization and the process at hand.


1. Andrew Smith @onedegree - December 7, 2009

This is another great post looking at how to “get things moving” in the right direction. As you say it doesnt place any value on strategic content nor on other such hard to measure variables as PR (I like to include Social media in PR)

With regards to compliance, I always like to “air” on the side of “be more compliant than you actually need to be”. Compliance laws will becoming stricter as time goes on, so it’s always nice to be ahead of the requirement and save future investment in compliancy…

Sanooj Kutty - December 7, 2009

You are quite right there that it is better to be safe than sorry. My effort is not to analyse them in detail but use the model to channel the thinking of the management in the right direction. Every bit of content has a reason for it to exist and 2 key aspects are compliance and operations. Its quite funny that Legal knows compliance but is usually quite ignorant to operations and vice versa, Operations complies without understanding the necessity or influence of regulations.
Ignorance is not always bliss. Focussing more on simple first steps to get the direction right, because, the journey always follows the direction in which you want to travel.

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