Imagine buying a luxury vehicle, yet never learning how to drive. It may have abundant features and gadgets to make getting from point A to point B enjoyable, safe and comfortable, yet without the knowledge or skills to use all those features to their fullest potential, the experience and results will be disappointing.
The same principle holds true when implementing an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution. You can get the best or most expensive software, but it won’t guarantee your organization will reap the many benefits of ECM. So before you go full throttle into an ECM solution, follow these five ECM best practices.
1. Plan the Road Ahead
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This wisdom attributed to Ben Franklin several centuries ago still holds true today. The most critical aspect of implementing an ECM solution is the planning process and determining exactly what functions you want it to perform and which problems you need it to fix. Perform business and technical assessments, and develop a strategy for training, implementation and communication. Work with your provider to establish a migration plan that works with existing systems, and determine a governance and security protocol to ensure any necessary compliance.
2. Navigate Your Infrastructure Needs
Your ECM provider will help you inventory existing hardware and software to determine their capabilities and how they may or may not align with your goals. This is an exhaustive assessment that takes everything from computers, tablets and smartphones to networks, firewalls, servers, software, cloud services and more into consideration. After determining your existing infrastructure, you’ll be able to establish what needs to stay, what needs to go, and whether any new systems will need to be acquired.
3. Share the Road Map
In a work environment, no one likes to work toward destination unknown. Good communication is at the heart of any successful ECM implementation. Proper alignment between business and IT goals requires representation from all levels of an enterprise and across multiple departments. Engage any stakeholders as early in the planning process as possible to glean their insights and to make sure they’re along for the ride. An essential part of communication involves providing proper training for those who will work with the new system. When others feel a part of the decision-making process and are properly equipped with tools and training, they’re more likely to eagerly embrace any changes to existing protocols and workflows because they’ll be able to envision the road ahead and get excited about the final destination.
4. Keep Things Running Smoothly
To keep any system running smoothly requires an occasional check-up and routine maintenance. Your organization’s business continuity plan should work in conjunction with your ECM system to ensure that your data is properly maintained and that you can access it when you need it. Mitigating risks associated with cyberattacks, human error or even natural disasters can minimize the likelihood of costly outages, downtime and a tarnished reputation.
Regular updates to a business continuity plan, along with periodic practice drills, can expose potential flaws or areas of improvement that can leverage your ECM’s capabilities even further than originally anticipated and address any issues quickly. A periodic assessment with your ECM provider can also reveal newer challenges that arise to help ensure the functionality of the system is growing along with your organization.
5. Expect Detours
Even the most well-laid plans can experience some bumps along the road, and it’s important to understand that any changes to your organization’s established processes and workflows may cause disruption. A truly beneficial ECM partner will have the capabilities to adjust and adapt along the way as potential roadblocks arise, and the functionality of the solution they provide needs to be able to rise to the challenge as well.
When seeking a qualified ECM solution, make sure the provider you select is equally qualified and able to guide you along the way. When both are aligned, you’ll be more likely to enjoy the ride. Ready to get started on your ECM journey? Reach out to one of our experts today.