Is your Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System failing you?

  • Do you know if your ECM system is meeting the needs of teams throughout your organization?
  • Will your ECM system and information management initiatives be effective next year?
  • Is your current strategy mitigating risk by automatically applying internal and regulatory policies?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, this post will provide a solid foundation to help pinpoint areas your ECM system may be failing you.

Most organizations need a better approach to information and content management. With all of the critical aspects that comprise enterprise content management strategies, things often fall through the cracks. When it comes to business-critical information, it’s essential you revisit your existing ECM programs to ensure they are in line with organizational needs and all applicable regulatory measures.

The amount of structured and unstructured information that flows in and out of organizations seems to exponentially increase every year. Previously implemented programs may not be configurable enough to keep up with the amount of information in constant flux. If your information management system isn’t aligned with operational and business goals, your organization is left exposed and at risk.

Selecting a new ECM solution, or another software to use in conjunction with current initiatives, is no simple feat. It requires intensive strategic planning before a company can even identify a pool of potential systems to explore, let alone a short-list to present to your team and management.

The future success of any ECM initiative lies in the definition and analysis of current and anticipated needs.

Review your content and information management strategy.

What type of content does your organization manage?

  • Is it predominantly electronic content, or do you manage considerable physical assets as well?
  • What electronic file types do you use?
  • Are your physical records stored off-site?
  • How many geographies does your organization operate in?
  • Is your content easily retrievable by stakeholders?

What current content management policies are in place?

  • What software products are you currently using to manage electronic documents, physical records, document imaging, etc.?
  • How do you currently manage internal and external information assets?
  • How does your organization provide access to users?
  • Are there current retention policies being applied, and how so?
  • How do you control what users can access what content?
  • How do teams share and work on documents?
  • Do individual teams have their own processes or workflows that conflict with pieces of your existing ECM strategy?
  • Are retention and disposition automated? If not, how do we know when and what content to dispose of?
  • Do you have a structured approach to classification?

The key to a well-received proposal lies in the diligence you show in early planning phases.

Teams within your organization may already realize that your content management strategy is fractured. Work with internal teams to completely understand information fractures, and determine how they can be healed with the introduction of a new system. Employees may discuss underserved segments in your current ECM program at weekly meetings, but without executive approval for a new system, the likelihood of introducing a new tool to govern information is nonexistent.

Conduct an internal information and content audit.

Once you have a foundational comprehension of your current policies and underserved areas in content management, you need to compose and distribute an audit to all necessary users and departments involved in managing information: records managers, file room clerks, legal departments, business development, IT, etc.

Depending on the scale of your organization, the content managed and any security permissions currently in place, it may be necessary to craft audits based on roles or departments. After you conduct your audits, you may also want to hold departmental user group sessions to glean more insight into varied end-user experiences and requirements.

We’ve worked with clients for fifteen years, and in that time, we’ve seen every feasible scenario when it comes to how an organization manages their information assets.

Along with the considerations mentioned earlier, we recommend you include some variation of these questions in your audits:

  • Where are there gaps in your current information management strategy and how does it impact your role or department?
  • What content is regularly produced or received, and which stakeholders are responsible for overseeing the content?
  • How much of the content you produce or receive is physical? How much of it is electronic?
  • How much of the electronic content you handle is printed and stored?
  • How accessible are assets to all necessary stakeholders?
  • Does the current ECM program meet classification and metadata needs?
  • How are duplicate entries handled? Is there version control for electronic documents?
  • Is the system as configurable and flexible as it needs to be to meet current objectives? Do you feel the current program is agile enough to meet your needs 2-5 years from now?

Compiling and analyzing the responses to your audit will surface a few prominent themes. Though each department may have different processes and workflows, there are likely shared gaps in your current enterprise content management program. These gaps may be the ability to apply policies directly to items, a lack of retention schedules for electronic and physical records and inaccessible content scattered across multiple repositories.

Using the insights and common information gaps from audits will build a strong case for exploring a new ECM solution with senior management.

FileTrail has worked diligently to craft a dynamic and adaptive enterprise information and content management system with a strong emphasis on physical records management and electronic document management. We believe that managing your paper efficiently and ensuring compliance remains a high priority in any ECM strategy and should not be overlooked.

We help organizations gain control over their physical information and leverage the same taxonomy for your electronic assets. Our web-based system provides a powerful toolset to help clients transition from physical to electronic without creating chaos and losing control of assets. Our tools mitigate risk, have a high adoption rate and are easy to deploy.