More Fundamentals of a Successful Records and Information Management Strategy

By Greg Clark posted 06-10-2010 13:22


My recent two-part series on the Fundamentals of a Successful Records and Information Management Strategy (which you can find here: Part 1 | Part 2) seems to have struck a nerve.  I received several interesting comments and some great feedback. None better than from Bruno Wildhaber from Schwerzenbach, which is just outside of Zurich, Switzerland. 

I thought Bruno's points added a lot to the discussion about what it takes to truly succeed when implementing content management. Instead of summarizing Bruno's comments I have asked him to co-author this post with me.

In addition to the points I made in my pervious posts, Bruno has added the following:

 1.      The size of the company matters: In a multinational, the biggest thing will be how to set up governance rules and responsibilities of local entities versus central directives (e.g. when implementing a "global" taxonomy).   This has a lot to do with local responsibility and of course with global risk management. Global companies focus global challenges, e.g. a global financial institution will have to be more strict concerning the enforcement of global rules and policies.  So you will find different governance structures depending on the industry. Unfortunately, only a few industries can rely on a global rule set (e.g. Pharma). Although size matters and smaller organizations might find it easier to implement governance rules and technology, the most important factor is  the way the organization is governed and managed. In a command and control environment it will be much easier to enforce controls and manage risks. This of course is a cultural issue, too. 

2.      Project Manager / Project Team: A project manager with little or no understanding of the subtleties of implementing ECM will be lost (and so the project likely will be as well).  In a big ECM project there is the need for a dedicated "topic owner" or missionary strategist who directly controls the project office and his or her central resources. This of course requires a deep commitment of top management, making the initiative a strategic one! In most cases, we are actually speaking about a program, not a single project. This program needs to be part of a strategic change management initiative. Sadly, many organizations start small, typically with an e-archiving project and with a junior PM. Over time the project will grow and grow, unfortunately in many cases the poor PM will be totally overstrained.   Approached properly and strategically, a project or program manager with appropriate seniority and experience will be involved from the start.  

3.     Consider Your Words Carefully: Although the term Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is highly descriptive for those of us in the industry, this term does not always resonate with end users. Therefore, the term Information Management (IM) is often used instead, which allows us to plug the different domains into the strategy. IM initiatives are change management activities and should be treated in a different way. 

In the end it is important to understand the specific organizational context in which content or information management is being implemented. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all approach that will lead to a successful implementation; different organizations have different objectives and drivers for information management and each requires its own unique strategy. However, a dedicated and experienced PM is a must ... and she/he needs time!  Which of course comes leads us to the indispensable management support and long term strategic commitment.  

We hope you have found this to be a useful extension to the previous two posts. Please leave any comments below.

#ecmstrategy #informationmanagementstrategy #ECMBestPractice #ElectronicRecordsManagement