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Avoiding Enterprise Content Management Pitfalls

Developing a sound strategy for a successful enterprise content management rollout can be challenging, but, fortunately, numerous resources offer advice on best practices and pitfalls to avoid.
Developing a sound strategy for a successful enterprise content management rollout can be challenging, but, fortunately, numerous resources offer advice on best practices and pitfalls to avoid.The May/June issue of AIIM E-DOC Magazine (the issue isn't online yet, but can be downloaded digitally) includes a few good features on ECM. "Planning An ECM Project" by John Harney covers the basics at a high level, touching on the need for governance, identifying key user groups, and assembling a internal and external project team with the right mix of skills. He also stresses the importance of gaining a strong understanding of what content assets are being managed and what business processes are impacted. As he notes, this prep work helps contribute to creating an RFP that accurately captures the business needs. All of this happens before final selection of a ECM vendor.

What I found most valuable, though, were the nuggets of advice throughout the piece on the main causes for the failure of an ECM project. Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a principal at CMSWatch, offers sharp observations on the importance of the up-front work prior to selecting an ECM solution:


"In most cases, little or no thought is given to content governance issues, and in larger deployments failure can often be traced back to that."

Another observation from Pelz-Sharpe on the risks of not fully understanding the internal business processes before trying to overlay an ECM solution:


"Very little time is given to understanding, mapping, and optimizing business processes in advance of a technology project -- I would say this is the number one reason for failure. Analyzing business processes is a highly skilled task, and few firms have those skills in-house and are reluctant to spend money on outside help -- with resulting consequences."

Many organizations would do well to take the advice in the article to heart, and it's worth a read for anyone involved in the process of standing up an ECM solution.

Editor's Choice
Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer