Friday, February 03, 2006

The CIO Agenda and ECM

In the past week I have been meeting with a whole host of CIO's and IT Directors across the states. All from either large Enteprises or large Government Departments and currently focused on ECM initiatives.

It may not be terribly scientific but its a pretty good cross section of what is going on here in the US at present - and key themes ran throughout the week. Note that what I have listed here are the topics raised by them not me, and quite frankly had you asked me to guess at the start of the week what these themes would be, I would have been wrong.

Here they are (in no particular order)

  • Dealing with multi vendor multi repository environments
        • consolidation
        • ECI
        • federated cross repository search
  • Concern over the complexity (but importance) of internationalization
  • Sharepoint Portal server instances running out of control

There were other topics discussed, but throughout the week these all came up again and again. But the single biggest topic?

How to avoid ECM failure in future, based on a chronic history of ECM/DM/CM failure in the past.

It is clear that ECM is being implemented in many organizations simply due to the 'stick' of compliancy rather than the 'carrots' of added benefits. But the scars from past attempts based on the carrot approach has left many with scars and serious reservations.

When I touched on why past projects had fallen so far short of expectations - the following three themes were repeated consistently:

  • Insufficient time spent on process and business consulting in advance of implementations
  • Insufficient time spent on building, understanding and maintaining taxonomies
  • Buying overly complex and over engineered ECM systems
  • Duped or oversold by ECM vendors on technologies relenvance and capabilities

Bottom line:

The need for ECM appears to be paramount due to compliancy pressures, and the seemingly literal pressure of the increased and ever increasing volumes of content hitting us. But in truth I suspect the need is not so much for ECM, and more for tools, processes and procedures that help us organize and navigate the content volumes, securely and simply. Traditional ECM tools may not always be the right choice.

Also note that beyond retention - and the need to be 'compliant' records management hardly came up in any conversation, and from this sampling of CIO level USA its not really on the agenda.


TofC said...

Bingo. Software doesn't create talent, capabilities or processes, it merely enhances those that already exist. It's only a *tool*, dadgumit!

alan pelz-sharpe said...

thats the issue though - it is only a tool, but often there is little or no budget to learn how to use, configure, utilise the tool. Money is simply there to buy it and deploy it.