Getting Started with ECM: The Complete List
John Mancini

By: John Mancini on December 13th, 2006

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Getting Started with ECM: The Complete List

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

Per some of our previous posts, here is the complete list of the 12 steps (although I hesitate to call this a "12 Step Program") to building an effective Enterprise Content Management (ECM) strategy.

The information is drawn from the AIIM training program. Keep in mind that these "steps" are not necessarily perfectly sequential, and some "steps" recur. For example, step 8 talks about user involvement. Obviously this would be something that would recur throughout the project.

But I think it's a pretty good checklist. We find in our conversations with end users that the thing that usually sinks a project is not being deliberate enough on the front end in clearing defining the business requirements, the technical requirements and how the project aligns with business priorities.

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1. ECM Project and Program Management: Create a clear understanding of the broad objectives for your ECM initiative.

“ECM” is not just a single program or project; it is a series of projects built around the commitment to get control of the organization’s unstructured information.

Identify scope of initiative: 1) types of information to be addressed; 2) point-forward or point-forward plus legacy; 3) geographic scope; 4) organizational scope; 5) timeframe

2. Information Governance: Establish a governance framework to manage the initiative.

Characteristics of good governance:
1. Provides compliance framework
2. Provides framework to manage “corporate memory”
3. Enables productivity improvements
4. Facilitates change management and information exchange

Elements of a governance framework: Policies, processes, people, technology, standards, review/audit

3. Concept of Operations: Create a Concept of Operations document to get everyone on board.

What is it? A document describing the framework in which ECM operations will be conducted.

Why do it? 1) stakeholder buy-in; 2) communication; 3) management commitment; 4) business strategy alignment

What does the Concept of Operations describe? 1) vision of the future AFTER implementation; 2) change management issues; 3) potential impact on processes; 4) tools, applications, and infrastructure needed.

Needs to be owned by the CIO on behalf of senior management; not just an IT document.

4. Information Survey: Use an Information Survey to clearly define the current situation and its alignment with business needs.

Key objective—Find quick wins to get the initiative off to a good start: 1) who is gathering information? 2) in what forms? 3) where does duplication exist? 4) Are there gaps in our information? 5) where are the major pain points relative to managing information?

Not just a single on-line survey. Use a combination of tools and iterate based on responses—surveys, visits, interviews

5. Business Case: Build a clear Business Case—and remember this is not about “ECM,” it’s about the benefits to the organization.

Consider 3 types of benefits: 1) financial; 2) non-financial benefits that can be quantified; 3) intangible benefits

Why is this so hard? 1) processes affected by ECM are complex; 2) benefits information fragmented; 3) benefits often dispersed; 4) external benchmarks hard to find

6. Business and System Requirements: Take the time to understand your business requirements and translate them into system require requirements.

The key reason most ECM implementations fail is poorly identified requirements—both business and technical.

Requirements are about what the technology should do, not about specifying how to do it.

Look for standards (e.g., DoD 5015.2, MoReq) and best practice based requirements (AIIM) to expedite the process

7. Business Classification Scheme: Establish a Business Classification Scheme that describes how the organization will organize, access, retrieve, store, and manage its information.

Involvement of records management staff and other familiar with how to classify information important, but also make sure that business, legal, and other perspectives represented.

Understand that this will likely be an iterative process—you likely won’t get it exactly right the first time.

View the development of a Business Classification Scheme in phases: 1) determine your overall approach; 2) create a high-level view across the organization; 3) build a detailed plan in a pilot agree; 4) roll out in the pilot area; 5) refine and repeat.

8. Users and User Involvement: Understanding and documenting the many roles users play with regards to information is critical.

• What was informal in a paper world needs structure in the electronic world.
• Multiple roles need to be understood and documented—individual, workgroup, department.
• Consider a pilot group, chaired by a lead end user, to help define these roles and requirements.

9. IT Infrastucture: Assess the IT Infrastructure implications from both a component perspective (desktop, network, server) and a capabilities perspective (processes, resources, hardware, software).

Factors influencing IT infrastructure: 1) # of active users; 2) degree of remote access; 3) size of records and objects; 4) preservation requirements; 5) degree of integration with other key systems.

10. Pilots and Model Offices: Use Model Office to “get it right” and then test these assumptions in a Pilot.

Do a Model Office first before moving to a Pilot—design, develop and test functionality before moving to the Pilot.

Critical to create a “natural” environment for the Pilot: 1) Use real IT infrastructure; 2) Users should be in a normal setting (their own office, their own PCs); 3) Deal with normal (not specially designed) work tasks.

Develop a clear set of measures BEFORE initiating the pilot and be disciplined in recording results against these measures.

11. Roll-out: Create—and follow—a disciplined roll-out plan and maintain active communication throughout the roll-out.

Checklist of elements to address in the roll-out plan: 1) ECM Design; 2) IT Design; 3) System Configuration; 4) System Build; 5) Support Development; 6) Training Development; 7) Data Migration; 8) System Testing; 9) User Acceptance Testing; 10) Local Preparation; 11) Training; 12) GO LIVE.

12. Post Implementation: Actively monitoring system performance and progress toward key objectives critical to maintaining ECM inertia.

Typical factors to monitor: 1) Time to capture information; 2) # of active users; 3) information retrieval time; 4) system downtime; 5) network and storage impacts; 6) admin and support time; 7) conformance with performance standards.


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About John Mancini

John Mancini is the President of Content Results, LLC and the Past President of AIIM. He is a well-known author, speaker, and advisor on information management, digital transformation and intelligent automation. John is a frequent keynote speaker and author of more than 30 eBooks on a variety of topics. He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as jmancini77. Recent keynote topics include: The Stairway to Digital Transformation Navigating Disruptive Waters — 4 Things You Need to Know to Build Your Digital Transformation Strategy Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve Viewing Information Management Through a New Lens Digital Disruption: 6 Strategies to Avoid Being “Blockbustered” Specialties: Keynote speaker and writer on AI, RPA, intelligent Information Management, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation. Consensus-building with Boards to create strategic focus, action, and accountability. Extensive public speaking and public relations work Conversant and experienced in major technology issues and trends. Expert on inbound and content marketing, particularly in an association environment and on the Hubspot platform. John is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William and Mary, and holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.