Is FUD keeping you locked into a bad ECM Implementation?
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt can keep anyone from improving the status quo of a poor, but working, enterprise content management (ECM) system. In addition, a lack of system sponsorship can fail to crystallize the vision for the organization. The business is then stuck with a bad system that is not tied to its goals and objectives. When stuck with a bad system and little budget to change it, it requires a special kind of approach to get out of the rut.
The nature of an innovation is that it will arise at a fringe where it can afford to become prevalent enough to establish its usefulness without being overwhelmed by the inertia of the orthodox system. – Kevin Kelly (co-founder of Wired Magazine and Author)
Don’t stay with a sinking system, look for the fringes, start fixing the minor pain points. Find areas where a small change can make a difference be it a process or technical change. Success is built on failure and a bad ECM implementation is sure to turn into a failure (or at least a big headache) without some changes. We recently published a post with several examples of small incremental innovations that can dispel the fear associated with system changes. Use these small changes to build knowledge and self-confidence. Turn the small pain points of existing failure into stepping stones.[pullquote]The nature of an innovation is that it will arise at a fringe where it can afford to become prevalent enough to establish its usefulness without being overwhelmed by the inertia of the orthodox system. – Kevin Kelly (co-founder of Wired Magazine and Author) [/pullquote]
One of the easiest things to do to improve your ECM system is to add Single-Sign-On (SSO). We’ve had several clients add in SSO capabilities to their ECM web application using Active Directory and SPNEGO. This one improvement removes a huge hassle factor users.
Another simple change is to improve the process for uploading large volumes of documents or documents that are similar in type. This improvement might take several forms. TSG has implemented variations of these for many of our clients and it leaves them smiling.
- Pre-populate document attribute values for users on the document import/upload screen
- Use a bulk migration tool, such as OpenMigrate, to give users an easy way to ingest documents by simply putting them in a folder on a file share or emailing them to a special purpose mailbox
- Automate document filing for text-searchable PDFs. This is done by extracting document property information (metadata) directly from the document and then using it as part of the upload process. This is a solution that is best used for ingesting documents such as standard invoices and reports. This solution was recently used for a client who needed to ingest invoices created daily by their ERP system. In this situation, OpenMigrate reads a single PDF file from a folder, identifies individual invoices, bursts them apart into separate PDF documents and then extracts the invoice metadata. Finally it stores the invoice document and metadata in the client’s customer’s ECM folder.
Generally, our clients try augmenting the user interface of their ECM systems. It is frequently the most efficient and cost effective way to go. An augmentation might be as simple as adding URL links to related systems or as complicated as providing a completely different user interface. Options that fall in the middle typically take the form of adding annotation solutions or automating the exchange of data between systems.
In regards to augmenting an ECM system with links, the idea is to keep users working in a single context. For example, an employee who works all day in a finance or customer service application should be able to click a URL link and be taken directly to the document(s) relevant to the information in the system. We’ve helped several customers loosely couple their systems and business processes together through the use of URL links. Interweaving your ECM system into other core business applications via URLs can be one easiest ways to improve compliance with organizational policies and procedures.
In closing, it will take a little motivation, vision, as well as stepping outside the comfort zone to change the work environment, but with small steps FUD can be banished!
We’d love to hear your story about moving past FUD in the comments section below.