ECM used to mean some amount of discipline. There was a strict differentiation between content and format. Once content was ready, people were expected to think and apply correct metadata so that content would be easily searchable. There were web based forms so that people could fill in data and metadata fields and submit content.
First came rich text editors using which .. content people can mix content and format and there is no strict separation between the two. These days, every ECM product, including blogging products have some kind of editor integrated.
Then came along Google and suddenly, there is no need of any metadata. You do not even need to tune your search application – Google automatically does all the dirty work and churns out results. Junk-in-junk-out is the thing of the past!
Finally, the new breed of products are doing some nice things like integration with desktop to make it even easier. Microsoft’s next release of Office touts tighter integration with Outlook and Word. So, people can keep using the same products that they’ve been using for ages and still get the benefits of ECM.
Basically, the theme seems to be to use technology to give users the ability to carry on with their (bad) habits 🙂 and become even lazier!
Don’t get me wrong – I like this flexibility and ease of use. However the problem arises when for example, a client expects users to be using MS Word (or a rich text editor) but still wants to separate content from format so that content can be repurposed to multiple websites!!
Remember that there is always a trade-off.