ECM Success

NOW is the Age of the information. The ECM industry is going through a rapid transformation. The traditional methods of capturing, processing and managing enterprise content are outpaced by fast moving agile techniques. The content boundaries have shifted. The new stream of content known as social content (aka Big Data) carries your customers real experience about your company’s product or service, which now forms part of new enterprise content processing strategy.  The growth and maturity in Cloud, Social and Mobile require businesses to be more innovative about planning their Enterprise Content Management Strategy.  This content is vital to create a rich interaction with your customers, partners, suppliers and employees. How efficiently your business can capture, process and use this content is growing fast in terms of volume, verity and velocity. My goal in this article is to highlight 3 key transformational trends that your business needs to know when planning and executing ECM strategy in 2014. But before we start here are some common ECM facts.

  • 15% of an organization’s revenues are spent creating, managing & distributing documents.
  • A highly skilled knowledge worker in a medium to large organisation spends 30% – 40% of his time looking for information locked in e-mail, documents, shared network drive or filing cabinets.
  • 70% of B2B documents are exchanged as email attachments.
  • Documents in an average business grow by 22% a year, meaning your documents will double in 3.3 years.
  • The average document is printed 5 times.
  • More than 70% of today’s businesses would fail within 3 weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of documents, whether it is paper or electronic, due to fire or flood.
  • When an employee leaves a company 70% of his knowledge walks out the door with him.

According to the 2011 State of the ECM Industry by AIIM, there are a number of business drivers for adoption of ECM:

The study also captured drivers for adopting new ECM systems:

Reasons for adopting new ECM technologyFigure 2: Reasons for Adopting New ECM (Miles, 2011)

Although we won’t go into details on each of the drivers for ECM adoption, it is easy to see that each of the issues will benefit from the support of an ECM solution based on a solid technology platform.

1. Data quality matters

The biggest challenge that organisations are facing today when it comes to enterprise content management is poor data quality. The data quality in your ECM system is measured by how well the content is classified, indexed and catalogued. Higher data quality is an indication of how easy it is to find, discover, secure and action the content. Managing enterprise content as a profitable asset in today’s changing market place requires an innovative approach in how you capture and enrich information. Modern enterprise content workloads can be broadly categorised as:

  • Transactional content workload
  • Social content workload workload
  • Collaborative content workload

Unfortunately there is no single universal method of treating all content workloads. Different content workloads require different methods of processing to transform them into actionable information and organisational knowledge. Improving the quality of unstructured content is done using tailored metadata and taxonomy data models specific to the industry and your organisation. Organisations in information intensive industries such as finance, insurance, government and healthcare have a need for a common and consistent content classification and metadata extraction model that can accommodate both internal and externally generated content.

2. Move from Isolated repository to a connected System

Connected Systems is often a good indication of a connected business. Over the last few years document management systems were evolved as isolated repositories. This disconnection often resulted in under utilisation of rich ECM capabilities and poor user adoption.

A business can achieve a much faster Return On Investment (ROI) from their ECM investment when it is aligned to support its core revenue generating and revenue supporting activities. This fine alignment requires that your enterprise content management solution is connected to other Line of Business (LOB) applications such as your ERP, CRM system or custom line of business systems. This connectivity reduces the transaction friction and improves the productivity and collaboration among information and knowledge workers.

3. Hybrid content processing in the cloud

In the age of the customer, the cloud is a key enabler to become an agile business. Businesses are moving certain types of content workloads to the cloud. Cloud ECM for managing external interaction and collaboration with customers, partners, suppliers and contractors is a natural extension to the on-premise ECM solution that many businesses already have. Seamless integration of your on-premise ECM system with the cloud ECM with a properly designed information governance plan brings the required level of business agility and process control in a cost effective manner.

In summary the above transformations help businesses to create information-rich customer interactions. Therefore alignment of your ECM strategy to support your organisations core business processes in 2014 is going to play a more important role than ever before. Finally I want you to know that at the age of digital disruption as an information management professional today you have the greatest potential to freeing your organisations future from the pull of the past.