Why I don’t need ECM!

By Apoorva Agarwal posted 07-01-2014 01:14


ECM or Enterprise Content Management, as Margaret Rouse explains, is a set of defined processes that allow a corporation, agency or organization to obtain, organize, store and deliver information crucial to its operation in the most effective manner possible. To me it means a strategy – a strategy for my data. But do I really need it?

There is too much talk about what ECM does and how it’s the right time for every organization to start taking steps to “go digital” with everything – digital with processes, digital with data and now even digital with how that data is managed..! For a person who is no expert in ECM, it sounds a little complicated and maybe too much work. So I, for assumptions sake, would like to believe that I DON’T NEED ECM.

And here is a list of reasons why I don’t need it:               

  • ECM offers efficient access to information– So what? Do you think I can’t access my info right now? I have my traditional ways and they are working fine! I still get all the data I need. Researchers say that more than 30% of the time is wasted in looking for data. But I guess wasting a little time everyday is still better than the hassle of the entire operation of implementation, training and everything else associated with getting my organization ECMized! – Won’t that be wasting my time?
  • ECM helps you manage content lifecycles– Really? But in my experience, the data is mostly required for a limited period of time. After that I rarely need to visit it again. It just is. Isn’t what I already do all about handling the lifecycle? Data is born, I use it and then its use is over. For some rare instance that I need it again, why should I bother with ECM?
  • ECM helps store and backup information – My data is present with so many people. It’s not just one person working on anything – it’s a team!  If one person loses some data, they can simply take it from the other person. And we do create a good backup of all the important data anyways. I don’t really need a central repository for ALL my data.
  • ECM offers Cost Reduction through consolidation & Simplified Operation – But won’t I have to pay for the ECM solution as well? How much can it save?
  • ECM Helps With Compliance And Reduces Legal Hassles – Yes, I can use it for my compliance strategy. I keep getting all these legal issues, but why take ECM, I have hired people to handle it.

When anyone suggests ECM to me with all the above benefits, this is all that comes in my mind. But besides the skepticism, there are some questions that still pop-up, making me question my approach.

  • Am I content with having a lot of data or do I want to know exactly what data I have, where I have it and what that data means?
  • Is it enough to “handle” the data or do I need to consider “managing” it.
  • Will a central repository help me keep better track of the data – especially making available the correct version of data?
  • Which is more cost effective? – one-time investment into ECM or investing my time, money and resources every single day just to manage what can be automated.
  • Will my competitors outrun me if I don’t go digital? More importantly, will my clients & partners not expect me to be up-to-date with my technology and system?
  • Is handling those legal hassles wasting more time and requires more resources than I would like it to?

It’s true that I don’t know much about ECM and there are experts constantly arguing how and why life without ECM is difficult for any organization.  But my first reaction to it is that of a true skeptic. Even so, as I question my own initial thoughts about ECM, I realize I’ve already taken my first steps to building an ECM strategy – Asking the right questions.

#content #information governance #information #ECM #digital #EnterpriseContentManagement #InformationGovernance