Achieving ECM program excellence
For example, a food production company aligned its deployment and continuous improvement work by adopting more agile approaches to project delivery, as well as a willingness to adopt business metrics (faster time to market for new products), instead of technology management metrics (number of documents created per week). That change allowed the company to better serve its document sharing and collaboration needs of sales teams in the field.
The project team must engage directly with the target user community to co-create applications that make work processes better. Plan to include hands-on participation and validation with a representative pilot group. Strong ECM teams will:
- Borrow best practices from Web and mobile application architects. Review processes, applications, forms and capture screens to identify areas of friction when people capture or share content. Web experience management professionals have design, ideation, high- and low-fidelity prototyping, Treejack and A/B testing experience, and they need to find a home on the ECM deployment team as mobile and Web access to systems becomes mainstream.
- Commit to the work and give direct reports the time to participate in meaningful ways. User participation is valuable throughout the ECM deployment project. Direct input on process bottlenecks, tool usability and real-world challenges helps prioritize requirements, select technologies and create meaningful training ?or coaching materials. Senior managers who participate on a steering committee, or are stakeholders in an information governance strategy, must allow their teams to allocate adequate time for participation. That might mean attending focus groups, holding interviews, attending demos and training, or experimenting with new tools.
A sustainable and successful ECM program will be responsive to the changing behaviors of customers, partners and prospects; changing needs of users; and corporate and business unit objectives. Lack of skills is a key challenge for ECM program teams, with 28 percent of surveyed decision-makers identifying expertise shortages as a concern. Be sure to:
- Stay current and in tune with ECM and industry trends. ECM program team members must all keep one eye on the future and be open to learning about emerging-market or vertical industry best practices. Businesses will continue to adopt mobile, cloud and social technologies for customer and employee communication. Anticipate new forms of digital content and incorporate them into the ECM program strategy proactively, not reactively. Proactively push vendors for commitments and road maps to accommodate those emerging needs. Stay alert to emerging new vendors or alternative approaches if the needs of business stakeholders are shifting faster than incumbent ECM technologies.
- Explore professional development, education and certifications to sharpen skills. Nonprofit professional associations offer a wide range of free or low-cost online education. Many colleges and universities offer continuing education or diploma programs in the areas of information and content management. A mix of formal, informal, in-person and online professional development activities can help all members of the ECM program team stay current and exposed to fresh ideas. Aim for breadth as well as depth of knowledge, and encourage team members to explore adjacent areas to ECM to acquire related knowledge and think more holistically.