It would be an understatement to say that companies struggle to execute Enterprise Content Management. Even with a system like policyIQ, effectively managing all of the information you collect requires a clear strategy, understood responsibilities, and diligence. And even if everyone executes their steps perfectly, you still need to deal with user acceptance and company culture.
The free e-book “8 Secrets of an Effective Content or Records Management Implementation”, by John Mancini (posted on the AIIM website), is a great collection of practical advice. The book is actually a collection of 8 different articles on the subject, with each article covering a different aspect of ECM through a list of 8 points. Articles include 8 Ways to Increase User Adoption, 8 Things You Always Wondered About Your Legacy Content, and 8 Steps to Avoid Process and Organizational Problems. With 8 articles each conveying 8 points, that’s 64 pieces of advice to help you effectively manage your content.
Some of my favorites from the list of 64 include:
· Think Through a Governance Structure and Approach. A common mistake is believing that the technology enforces governance; the technology will have some features to help automate the governance of your content, but ultimately governance is your responsibility, not the technology’s.
· Don’t Forget the Change Management. Who could forget something this important? Well, almost everybody does to some degree. You are changing how your employees operate, and many of those employees are set in their ways. All of your change management activities – and there will be a lot of them – should be near the top of the priorities list.
· Get Top Level Support. Sounds obvious, and you may think you have it because the CIO or CEO sent out an email once, but do you really have it? How committed is management to supporting this initiative? Do they anticipate the headaches and complaints that they will need to weather to ultimately get to the promised benefits? It’s going to get harder before it gets easier.
· Start Small. This is a BIG project. You need to turn it into a bunch of smaller projects that you can execute, measure, celebrate success, and learn lessons from.
· Focus on the Business Process. Implementing an ECM strategy and system will require change, but there are some things that you just won’t be able to change. Know as much as you can about today’s process (Who creates information? How? Where? When? Why?) and be comfortable that you will be supporting “something like that” with your implementation. It doesn’t have to be that process exactly, but assume that the more you change the harder it will be to reach success.
Maybe the most valuable part of this book is what it doesn’t have – a discussion of what software features you need. Too many organizations jump right to software demonstrations as step 1 of their process – looking for the silver bullet that will magically solve their content management problems.
Software demonstrations should be step 65 (or later) on your list – skipping all of the other steps will almost assuredly set you up for failure.