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Focus on content usage to drive a solid ECM business case

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The initial justification may change over time. Firms shouldn't be dismayed if the initial business case used for justification changes along the journey. For example, one company indicated that it initially targeted flexibility as the ECM justification, with the goal of providing an environment that fostered a better, more consistent way of working. In the end, the actual business case that yielded the greatest benefit was using ECM to meet regulatory and compliance requirements.

In addition, consider future requirements such as identity management to support personalization and contextual discovery. In his report, "Trends in Mobility, Cloud Computing and Analytics Shake Up ECM," my colleague Craig Le Clair notes, "If you don't know who your people are, where they are and what they do, then it's very difficult to fulfill a vision to deliver the right information at the right time."

Forrester expects that forward-looking enterprises will invest resources to enrich their employee profiles with supplemental context, from public sources like LinkedIn and from employee-generated activity. Information professionals could make use of those employee records to design relevant user experiences, just as marketers do for customers on a corporate website.

Users may not always see the benefits of change. One organization that implemented SharePoint found that employees were not eager to fully learn all of the features that could help them in the future. Instead, they only wanted to learn the features that helped them with current tasks. Lesson learned? Don't underestimate training and communications effort. Creating an acceptable user experience is essential for ensuring that the ECM solution is consistent and meets the needs of the users. Consider one government research organization that spent 50 percent of the project budget on that effort alone. Sustainable training is critical to define standard processes and procedures for maintaining structure and consistency.

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