I find that enterprises continue to struggle under increasing volumes of varying types of content. Historically, you will see the enterprise architecture professionals take a product-specific approach to their enterprise content management (ECM) strategies: document management for office docs, web content management for online content, records management for corporate records, and so on. However, enterprises increasingly need to support multiple content types in different ways. The most successful content management implementations have focused on controlling and optimizing information assets using content and records management technologies, policies, and best practices.
We are finding that sourcing content management technologies are becoming increasing more difficult due to the wide array of business use cases and content technologies to support them. Merely buying a content management solution can still result in functionality gaps, or it may result in shelfware if you don’t need the total breadth of functionality. Instead, as the number of content types grows, you will find it easier to match requirements with content usage, rather than just content types. A successful content management program must:
■ Provide a consistent, predictable ECM experience.
■ Surface the content easily.
■ Increase the value and reliability of the information.
Creating governance programs that separately address structured (data) or unstructured (content) can be a daunting task for any organization. Most organizations are just now addressing the governance issues that help ensure that their information, both data and content, is trustworthy and reliable. If creating separate governance programs is such a challenge, then why I am advocating the creation of a combined program for information governance? The challenges of governing structured data differ from the problems governing unstructured content, due to different goals, stakeholders, roles, and processes. The result is that governance of these areas involves completely separate endeavors.
But must they be wholly separate? Isn't there enough common ground? Creating an information governance framework that will address both their structured and unstructured information requires that the appropriate IT and business roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and that stakeholders from both IT and business are in agreement with the design and implementation efforts for an effective information governance strategy. Is this task too daunting for an organization to overcome? As more decisions are made using both data and content, it becomes increasingly important that all information used in the decision process is trustworthy and reliable. Agility in decision-making is dependent upon the right information at the right time. So my contention is that we should not wait for our data and content governance program to mature before implementing an overall information governance program. We should look at the similarities in the two governance programs to create a common framework that can be leveraged to create commonality and consistency in the information architecture.
Mobile access to information has increased its importance in your work environment. Consider that two-thirds of your US and European workforce works remotely at least part time. Accessing email, surfing the Net, collaborating with a colleague, or posting tweets from your mobile device is the norm and no longer a luxury. But can this mobile elite access your most valuable information assets?
If you’re like me, you want to be able to access your work information from any of your many devices -- i.e., your laptop, iPad, and iPhone. Wouldn’t it be ideal if that access were transparent across all the devices, picking up where we left off as we moved from device to device? While mobile computing has matured in many areas, the ability to access and manage documents on a mobile device lags far behind many other capabilities, such as email and collaboration. What I want to see in a mobile ECM application is the same type of capability that we see in Twitter applications. I can send and receive tweets from any device with the same functionality and experience.
The vendors that have a mobile application are either delivering an early release or have limited the number of devices they are supporting. Most ECM vendors deliver some form of mobile access to their ECM solution. Those that don’t have a mobile application provide reduced functionality through a mobile web browser. So does that mean that all you need to do to create a mobile ECM strategy is to wait for your ECM vendor to provide an application? The answer is no, as I contend that technology is always the simplest piece of an ECM implementation.
A successful rollout of a mobile ECM strategy involves many more dimensions besides technology. You must also consider the people and process aspects. Here are some of the questions I plan to answer at our upcoming Forum:
I recently joined the Content and Collaboration team at Forrester, and I was happy to see Forrester data showing that 53% of organizations are looking to expand, upgrade, or implement their Content Management solution. Over the last six weeks, I’ve taken many inquiries that dealt with organizations looking at re-evaluating ECM programs, driven by the desire to both add new functionality and extend the reach of ECM to a broader audience. ECM is clearly alive and well.
But time and again I’ve seen this problem: Companies will jump directly into the RFI/ RFP process without fully developing their strategy and road map. But skipping this important step can result in poor ECM technology selection, lack of governance, and, ultimately, failure.
A good road map will address the three classical aspects of an enterprise application implementation: People, Process, and Technology. Outlining the tasks for each area is a good start down the path of success. Here are some sample points for starting your ECM project:
Define your ECM Strategy – Every organization defines ECM differently. When creating a strategy, focus on gaining an understanding of your goals and objectives for implementing an ECM solution. A good example of an ECM goal is to minimize the number of versions of the same document that exist in the organization. These goals and objectives will form the basis for the project’s critical success factors.