Look Inside First

By Bob Larrivee posted 12-21-2010 14:52


One of the many things I have seen over the years, and often discuss in my classes, is the fact that organizations seek to purchase technology to solve an issue without knowing what they have in hand already. A business problem surfaces and the move is on to fix it. Someone sees something that looks like it will work to resolve the issue so the company buys it, installs it and hopefully it works. Now there is another product set in place that needs support yet all the while, there may have been technology in house already that could have done the job. Problem is no one took time to look.

This is a challenge for many companies as the mode of operation is to act fast and thus the reason they end up owning and supporting multiple products, all of which are similar in capability. In one of my classes a student indicated that in his enterprise, he had identified 63 ECM products being used and the challenge he faced was to standardize on two of them which meant migration from the remaining products. In his case he did have multiple instances of the same vendor but all of them were different versions and licenses.

In my view, this is an example of tactical response without strategic planning that has gone wrong. If an information architecture, governance, and standardization had been in place, perhaps this would not have happened. The first thing a company should do is assess the current application portfolio and determine what capabilities exist, what the requirements are and where there is a gap. It is the gap that should be addressed in relation to technology purchases and not complete systems every time. Imagine the difference operationally and from a cost perspective if there was one instance of an ECM system. You would have only one license to purchase, one Service Level Agreement and from a support perspective, one product line to manage. I know this sounds simple and unrealistic but it is an approach that in many cases makes perfect sense. Look inside first, before you buy another system. You may be surprised and glad that you did.

If you are not sure how to go about moving in that direction, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started.

What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? What is on your mind? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.


Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM

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