The Road to ECM Hell is paved with good intentions: the Traditional Approach (Part 2)

By Olivia Bushe posted 08-07-2014 08:06

This is the second part of our series called The Road to ECM Hell.  

With good intentions, the traditional vendors of ECM systems have focused on providing all the functionality that is needed in a centralized ECM system. Clearly a centralized ECM system should contain information that is well filed, with appropriate properties.

To achieve this, the traditional approach relies on the user:

  • The user decides what information should be submitted to the ECM system.
  • The user decides where the information should go within the ECM system.
  • The user decides what properties to assign to the information they are adding to the ECM system.
  • After submitting, the ECM system now “owns” the user’s information.
  • The organization gets properly filed information that can be managed centrally. Costs are saved and efficient processes surround the information.

But this never quite works out as planned. The users don’t submit the amount of information expected within the ECM system. A small percentage of really important information is stored, but is not commonly used. Day-to-day information continues to be stored in information silos – the email system, file shares, user’s personal drives. Worse, users download information from the ECM system into these silos. We are suddenly in ECM hell…

What has happened? Well it is clear that the users are not embracing the new system as expected. The users are just not motivated to put extra effort into submitting items to the system. This adds further burden to their day jobs, with little benefit, and often a feeling of “giving up” their information. In addition, the ECM system often comes with a new, unfamiliar interface which makes the whole process just that bit more daunting.

In an attempt to solve these problems, the traditional ECM vendor, with good intentions, provides “user friendly” interfaces onto the system. File system and email interfaces are the favourite choices. However, the temptation has always been to add as much ECM functionality into these interfaces as possible. This leads to clunky, over-burdened interfaces that slow and confuse the user experience further.

The traditional approach to ECM has led to ECM hell. How do we redeem ourselves?



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