Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why ECM is a must have in Enterprises

Just a couple of years ago it was really hard to find any enterprises who took the issues around ECM & ERM seriously. Sure many had implemented something at a departmental level, but looking at content strategically across the enterprise was on nobody's agenda.
Well it may just be that Wipro's clients are ahead of the curve, but everyone I meet with now has this very high on the agenda. They may not always be talking ECM - often it is unstructured data in the context of a broader enteprise architecture strategy, but it is there and it is urgent.
And the biggest issue facing them appears to be, knowing where to start.
In some firms it's forms and reports, in others its the Web, in yet others it's the issue of bringing order to the chaos of local and shared drives. But why is it now urgent and just a few years back not of interest at all?

Well I think at least part of the reason is that particularly in large firms in the US we have moved very swiftly away from tenure and 'tribal knowledge', the expectation that people will stay a long while, and always be there as a resource. To one of downsizing, outsourcing, partnering and high turnover.

In this new world of ever changing employee dynamics - relying on somebody to be there who understands the process and carries the important information in their head (or the location of the important information!) is no longer feasible.

In some respects its KM all over again - but this time its more pragmatic. At core what most firms want to do is simply know what information they have and make it available (more difficult than it sounds), on top of that they are looking at enforcing and standarizing working processes.

To a large degee its the BPR movement of the late 80's thro 90's all over again, except that just yet nobody is bringing in armies of business anlaysts to re-engineer their business processes. But the need and urgency is there - and I do wonder (things always go much slower than we expect) if in a year or two's time we will be BPR'ing (probably under a different acronym) all over again? Life is a little like a carousel at times - you pick your horse to ride, but we all go round the same circuit..

In the meantime - strategy for ECM is essential, for without a strategy and thorough assessment either nothing gets done as nobody knows how or where to start, or you find yourself at the mercy of major ECM vendors. Some of whom have sold massive ELA's (enterprise licence agreements) to clients who have little clue how to use or deploy this stuff. Its a potentially ugly situation that will come to a head.


Dick Weisinger said...

Good advice. With compliance regulation requirements like those from HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and the SEC it is even more imperative now for companies to get on track and begin to manage their documents and records electronically. It's not easy, considering the almost exponential increase of paper and electronic documents -- with email leading the way. Companies need to develop good strategies based on sound business and technical policies -- and on the technical side, ECM systems are a good place to start.

Dick Weisinger

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Agreed Dick - but as my recent post mentions, the key is to eliminate trash from the system. Your ECM or RM system should only be 'managing' business critical information, not the mountains that people throw at them (or more accurately, plan to throw at at them)