Finding Value in ECM

By Bob Larrivee posted 08-10-2012 11:13


We often hear of benefits resulting from an ECM initiative and find many seeking to identify the benefits related to ECM but what of value? If you ask someone for the meaning of benefit in relation to ECM, the response might be that it will provide something, an anticipated result or return. You might hear things like less time to find information or streamlined processes and these are benefits gained as a result but what is the value related to these benefits? Should you not take it to that level and look for the value of each benefit you identify?

As I was watching a commercial last night it occurred to me that LG understands the value of the benefits they provide in their kitchen appliances. The LG commercial presents the viewer with the benefit of 20 minutes less to wash clothes and 20% less time to cook which are the benefits but the value is that more time can be spent with family. So we see the benefit of time reductions and of course this too will bring about benefits like lower utility costs, but what is the true life value in this message? It is more time spent with loved ones. There is a question I like to ask folks and I will present that to you here. Why do you work? What is the reason you do what you do day after day, and in some cases not even liking what you do? Many times the response is that work is performed to earn a paycheck, to make money. Is that the real reason or is it a result that supports an underlying reason. That reason being that you want to have a good place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, and enjoy some of your favorite activities? So, in this scenario, the benefit of working is you make money but the value lies in your ability to live comfortably and do some of the things you like to do to enjoy life a bit.

In my view, this is an important step when approaching an ECM project. You identify what is seen as benefits like time reduction, risk management, and more but stop short of identifying the true value related to those benefits. If time reduction is a benefit, what impact does that then have on the organization? More time to process applications and claims? And if so, what is the value in that? If risk reduction is the benefit, what is the value? Will it result in fewer fines and lower litigation costs that perhaps save millions of dollars? It is important to identify the benefit in what you do but even more important to place value on that benefit. Look for the benefit and value both.

If you are ready to move forward and are finding yourself stuck or unfocused and are not sure where to begin or what to do next, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started. Be sure to investigate AIIM's Enterprise Content Management training program.

And be sure to read the AIIM Training Briefing on ECM (authored by yours truly). Click on the image to download and read. 

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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