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10 Rules of Successful ECM Implementation

By November 2, 2008February 23rd, 2023Taxonomy Management

Last week I attended AIIM’s ECM seminar on Automating Document-centric Processes – Is SharePoint Enough? It was a really interesting and informative event, with a few general sessions, several presentations of case studies, and product demonstrations from various vendors in the ECM realm.

AIIM President John Mancini closed the seminar with his 10 rules for successful ECM implementation:

  1. Build a strategy.
    When implementing an ECM solution, winging it is a bad idea. Especially if you are implementing a solution as viral as SharePoint, you should have a well-defined strategy. You should define business requirements, think about governance, analyze content systems, and identify points of integration. Formulating a strategy will save money and increase the likelihood of a successful project.
  2. Not all content is alike.
    You should think about the nature of the content you are trying to manage. Is it office-based content, transactional content, or persuasive/creative content? You need to pick a solution that matches your content.
  3. Prepare for eDiscovery.
    Sector-based regulations aren’t just a flash in the pan. Just because your business hasn’t had to deal with eDiscovery yet doesn’t mean you won’t have to in the future.
  4. Good enough is better than nothing.
    Doing something to get your content under control is better than doing nothing at all. You don’t have to start with the perfect solution.
  5. Ripping out and replacing is not usually a good starting point.
    This is especially true for more mature ECM organizations. If you have multiple repositories, you have to deal with them and think about policy structure around the information. Think about how you can provide access to information in those various repositories. Look for a vendor who will help with the integration challenge.
  6. Acknowledge the reality that this is a hybrid world.
    Paper is still part of the equation. Although we would like for everything to be digital, that is not the reality. Don’t get hung up on wanting everything to be digital—sometimes digitizing information can be too resource-intensive and unnecessary. Evaluate your strategy.
  7. Be militant about ROI and deployment times when thinking about projects.
  8. Consider alternate delivery models in your ECM approach.
    There will possibly be fewer IT people in the near future because of the economy. Consider hosted solutions as away to lower risk for management.
  9. Spend some time on standardizing the front-end of your processes.
    Consider things such as are you figuring out how to digitize things that should have been digital to begin with?
  10. Once you have something digital keep it that way.
    Why have a digital process all the way until you have to sign a document? Rather than moving from digital to analog and back to digital, consider processes that will keep content digital.

I found this list to be very relevant to some of the work I’ve been doing lately. Often I talk to clients who are implementing an ECM solution, but they haven’t formulated a clear strategy yet. Organizations usually have content stored in several repositories, and employees don’t know how to access that information, assuming they even know it exists. That’s why we suggest an assessment prior to implementing a new solution. An assessment can be conducted internally if the resources are available, or our Taxonomy Services team can perform one for you. An assessment will help you identify your various content repositories and develop a strategy to access that siloed information.


Daniela Barbosa 2008