A blog posting that requires much more thought!
Sitting on my desk today awaiting my perusal are two huge tomes detailing US Government IT acquisition processes (don't worry its available to anyone) and a thought provoking article sent to me by fellow blogger Alice Marshall.
Somehow or other two key themes jumped out at me from a quick read through of these items:
- Those that hold information don't feel all that strong about the need to share it
- Performance based tracking and logistics is essential
On the one hand two very different topics, yet there is a deep connection between the two of them. Firstly we need to acknowledge that people don't like sharing. It is a good Christian principal, but like many good Christian principals the reason it needs to be spelled out so clearly, is that most people don't like to do it. It was this attitude that meant so many KM systems fell into disuse in the 90's, and frankly gave KM a bad name. People don't want to share, and you can't make them.
Yet for any IT system, particularly those focused on information, records, documents etc, sharing is the underlying principal of success. To have success though we need to monitor usage patterns, and ensure that people are reusing and sharing information. Also to ensure that where bottlenecks are occuring they are identified quickly and resolved. So in this regard I tend to think the great ECM term 'capture' comes into play more so than sharing. I strongly believe that we are times a little too nice and democratic when it comes to Knowledge management and ECM - frankly you have to capture information - then make it available. Nobody seems to have much of a problem in using resources that are easily and readily available they just don't want to make the effort to supply the ready resource.
This leads to the second point - how to measure the success of ECM & RM specific projects. Failure is fairly easy to measure - redundant content, dynamic content turned static, under use or miss-use etc. Most of the time though it is pretty simple, a centralized repository that should have become the hub for dynamic information interchange, is just a repository - a dumping ground, seldom used and now just one more dumping ground for content amongst many others.
Performance based tracking should be relatively straightforward for ECM, is content going in there, is it being re-used, is there redundancy, are other silo's dissapearing or falling into disuse as this one is become more and more dynamic?
Yet I know of no examples of tracking ECM success this way.......