Friday, December 21, 2012

Six Simple Steps for a Successful ECM Program in 2013

By Thomas Jenkins, Hyland Software

As we quickly approach the end of 2012, we will soon reflect on what we accomplished (or didn’t accomplish) in 2012. Perhaps our successes were on par with the Mars Rover Curiosity or winning six Olympic medals like Michael Phelps in the London Olympics. Or maybe things didn’t go quite as planned, much like Apple’s maps debut, Facebook’s IPO, or the Detroit Tigers performance in the World Series (sorry Tigers fans).

If you’re not holding your breath on December 21, 2012, you might look ahead and consider how to turn your ECM projects into an strategic ECM program in 2013. Our advice? Start simple with these six steps:

  1. Re-evaluate old strategies. Organizational priorities and initiatives are always evolving year-over-year. You may have a project list 100 rows long that you’ve been working since 2011, but start by assessing how relevant that list really is. If you find that funding, project results and sponsorship are falling flat, perhaps you’re taking the wrong approach.
  2. Think program, not projects. Maybe it’s best to stop thinking about content management in terms of projects and short term gains, but as a program. A program you can start in 2013. This begins with ensuring you’ve got commitment from people: a dedicated team, a combination of technical resources and/or business analysts, and sponsorship (maybe even a steering committee) at the top-level.
  3. Find your tribe. Those people who share a grassroots or passionate interest in seeing the program’s success (kudos @ThisIsSethsBlog). Scott Webb, project manager for Hospice of the Western Reserve, said it best when he described their tribes’ mantra and their passion for the program, “People don’t want to do bad work.” His thoughts echo those of David Wilson, CEO, Mutual of Enumclaw, “Every team has individuals who are passionate about doing things better, and what we want to do is make them more powerful.”
  4. Do your homework. A program is different than a project and if you want to get more done, you’ll need to invest more in your program (ergo projects). Start with asking questions across all layers of the organization. Define the current state of affairs. Detail what you’d like your solutions to look like in the future. Outline what it will take to get it done, including hardware, software, services, training, and resource  requirements.
  5. Chart out your roadmap and content management program with a pencil. Flexibility and evolution is key. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed and remain agile throughout the process.
  6. Be patient.Long-term program success doesn’t happen with one hit wonders like PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” no matter how successful (and catchy) they might be in the short-term. That is of course, unless you can name one other song recorded by Los del Rio. Doesn’t ring a bell? Remember the “Macarena,” circa 1995.That’s what I thought. Continue to build upon your successes no matter how big or small certain projects are within your program. Give sponsorship and executive teams regular updates. Report on actuals versus budget. Put it in an internal newsletter or blog about it. Celebrate and carry on. The sustained wins will create true program success.
Regardless of what happens or trends in the remainder of 2012, remember there’s still a lot to accomplish in 2013.  So let’s say goodbye to skinny jeans and Honey Boo-Boo, and get ready to start 2013 strong.

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