There are many times in my classes and lectures when I have asked the simple question, what does ECM mean to you and the response is related purely to technology. When I hear this, I cannot say they are completely wrong as technology is part of an ECM environment. When I ask what makes up an ECM environment, I may get a similar response or a look of confusion as if the word environment should not be associated or linked to ECM.
The point I am trying to make is simply that technology alone is not the complete answer in solving a business problem. I have met folks who have been through several vendors and technology sets trying to establish a strong ECM environment and failed over and over again because they did not understand the underlying business problem and chose the wring technology set to try and fix it. ECM technology is not a single technology but a combination of technologies and functionality that can be used in combination or singularly. An ECM environment goes beyond the technology to include a strategy that takes a holistic look at the business problem addressing not only the technological aspects but the people, processes and governance as well.
In my view, technology implementation for the sake of technology use, when applied resolve a business problem that has not been fully identified and addressed will fail to meet expectations. When technology is applied to a resolve an undefined business problem it is like Doctor who is providing medications based on symptom without proper diagnosis to identify the cause of the illness. The immediate pain may go away but the underlying problem still exists and will resurface at some point, perhaps worse than the first instance. If you want to really gain maximum results and value from ECM, you must take time to look at the people, processes, governance and business requirements before applying the technology. Identify the pain and the cause of the pain, then choose and apply the right solution. If as an organization, you are ready to move forward or are struggling and are not sure where to begin or what to do next, 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? 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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