The Chaos of ECM-BPM Strategies

By Sanooj Kutty posted 03-09-2012 08:21


Setting your ECM or BPM implementation strategy can appear to be pretty straightforward. After all, you either want to manage your content or manage your process. To achieve that, get some experts, get a good tool(s), and launch a project and presto!

If only life in this world were that easy. Not experienced enough to be authentic in my judgment of how it happens around the world (although it may be the same story everywhere), I’ll keep myself to my corner of the world in context - GCC.

Five cornerstones determine the success or failure of ECM/BPM projects.

Yet are strategies revolving around these cornerstones in the right manner? Many a time, I feel we usually end up barking up the wrong tree and put the wrong cornerstone at the center of our strategies.

Let’s start from the obvious cornerstones.


It is quite normal to introduce technology to settle the chaos only to find itself contributing to the ensuing chaos. Expect perhaps with cases of revolution like the one Apple did with “touch”, in most cases technology follows business but can find itself at the wrong end of the stick. Bear in mind Technology can help you do many things, but not all the things. Again, you need to ask yourself, do you need your technology to do some things, specific things, many things or everything?


Ah! Here comes the quintessential trouble maker, people or in other words your business users and technical staff. Either they are too many or do too little. It’s time we set this right. Through ECM/BPM implementations we can resolve this issue. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s not uncommon for people to be the target. It’s not fully unjustified either; the right implementation of ECM/BPM solutions can help you manage your people factor… to a limit.


This time, it’s the process that’s wrong and we need to change our processes so that people can do their jobs better and management can make the right decisions. It’s imperative to be very careful here because it’s not always that you need to change your as-is process. Many a time, organizations naturally go back to old processes after changing it. Look around and you’ll find your process is fine, your troubles may lie elsewhere. Implementing a process on your BPMS could also be your as-is and does not necessarily have to be your to-be.


When all the above fails, it’s obvious that your management style is questioned and you look at changing them. Are you sure change is always good? Change may be permanent but not all change is good. Be it democratic, autocratic or situational, your management style as it is could also be the right one for your business.


We’re not talking here of the management of content, but, instead the focus is on the content itself. Very few implementation strategies here focus on the content itself. Having the right content is as important as having the content right. Too much information floating around the organization ecosystem can be as damaging as too little information and can add to the chaos.

ECM/BPM systems are here to stay. Although, time has yet to make a judgment in what manner and form will they stabilize, in an increasingly digital world, their importance is beyond doubt. Using them to benefit your business depends on identifying what needs to be put at the center to resolve.

Is it your technology, process, people, management or content? Magic mirrors don’t provide you these answers but honest introspection can help.

Note: Although ECM and BPM are used due to their popularity, the same applies for any of the others such as ERM, ACM, etc in this blog.


This post was originally published in The Information Manager

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