What is the primary reason why ECM implementations are struggling to survive past the ECM project phase?

What in your opinion is the primary reason why Enterprise Content Management implementations are struggling to survive past the ECM project phase? Please share your own experience. If you are able to point me to credible resources in this regard, it would also be much appreciated.

1010 Answers

author avatar

1. Lack of adequate infrastructure especially if it's a country wide or provincial roll out of ECM # get the basics right
2. LACK of Change Management
3. Lack of properly functioning project governance structure
4. Lack of skilled internal staff to sustain implementation
5. Legal issues on admissibility of electronic record in court

so the I would say getting the basics right :)

author avatar

Good day, apologies for taking so long to respond back to you. I appreciate your views and would take it into account in my writings. I am doing a PhD on the sustainability of ECM implementations with specific reference to learning, leadership and maturity. I find the topic riveting, mainly due to the human dimensions involved.

I come from a records management and archives background, and extended into the ECM consulting environment during 2008. The human dimensions in these implementations are extremely complex.

I would like to reference this inline discussion where appropriate. Would any of you have any objection against this?

I would also very much appreciate it if you could share the link to this discussion with other people working in the ECM environment. The more real opinions I can gather, the more relevant the research will be.



author avatar

There are many reasons why ERP Implementation fail or do not provide the expected return on investment. Unrealistic expectations, lack of thorough understanding of an organization's need, lack of executive sponsorship, failure to adopt at the user level, speed of implementation, poor implementation partner, products that don't integrate seamlessly, and more. There's a great article on Supply & Demand Chain that discusses this exact issue. http://www.sdcexec.com/article/11533640/one-reason-erp-programs-get-into-trouble-is-that-the-organization-tries-to-pick-up-speed-and-implement-too-quickly

Furthermore, docSTAR recently published an eBook that guides the reader through the 5 Key Factors for Enterprise Buying Decisions. You can download it here - http://marketing.docstar.com/acton/media/10133/buying-enterprise-technology-solutions

I hope you find it helpful!

author avatar

Business users need to collaborate simply and smoothly around their documents; they know how to do it at home, using Dropbox, Google Drive, and Outlook. Using their Ipads or laptops, they manage their documents online and offline.
Just compare these simple ways of working with Sharepoint, Alfresco, Filenet, OpenText, Nuxeo and maybe you could find partial answer.
Personally, I am involved in Sharepoint projects; I got so much bugs, problems, synchronisation errors and incredible error messages in Onedrive that I finally use Dropbox for my internal documents.
So, make it simple and usable, and people will use it.
ECM is not a business need, it is a marketing concept and, except in IT sphere, nobody knows what is it.
Maybe it could be another part of the answer...

author avatar

1. Lack of a content management/ECM/IM strategy
2. Organizational heterogeneity
3. End-user burden/lack of automation

author avatar

Any new innovative ideas, solutions or projects need leadership and commitment. Once the leadership and commitment are there, employees will follow. Employees are all very busy these days, It is much easier to just focus on their tasks that they are being measured and do a good job. If leaders don't have the innovative culture and focus, any new innovation will be hard to sustain. This was why I have published my book, "The Innovator's Path" and the subtitle is "How Individuals, Teams and Organizations Can Make Innovation Business-as-Usual". It means Innovation has to be a part of everyone's job and company's culture and expectation. It cannot be one time event or a project. It has to be a part of the culture and measurements for success.

The current problem is not lack of innovation. It is how to make the change and breakthrough the resistance for change. There are Disciplines required for continuously implementing changes successfully and sustain them . Even if one change is successful, we need to evolve and continue to change in order to be competitive.

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Most ECM do not succeed past the project phase because they place an unrealistic burden on employees. Content management is NOT the job of all employees. It is like building a a fine library, stocking great books, and then telling the library customers THEY are the librarians! Ridiculous. ECM must have regular, full-time content managers. It is just like the legions of data-base administrators in IT. A successful, long-lasting, high-value ECM requires dedicated, full-time competent leaders, engineers and administrators. No exceptions.

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I would recommend to use PEAS enterprise pattern - http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2012/07/delivery-via-peas-architected-platform.html and http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/search/label/PEAS


author avatar
Real User

The primary reason ECM implementations struggle to survive past the ECM project phase is that they are not supported in an iterative fashion. It's like entropy - if you don't constantly shape and put effort into improving re-use and the organization of your organizations IP (in this case enterprise content) then over time the structures, and effort expended no longer are enough to sustain the shared taxonomy, language, and understanding that comes with effective ECM implementations.

One of the biggest offenders here is when a project involves a technology upgrade. Effort is expended in great amounts, but energy on *sustained* adoption is less of a priority. What's more often the 'technology' is where the ownership lines end. When you think of the costs for these kinds of typical ECM projects - if you isolate the cost of 'getting more out of the content in your enterprise' from the technology projects that enable this - you realize the projects that go over on budget, are difficult to scope, and that need buy in and investment from many areas of the business - are the ones that 'get more' out of the IP and content in the organization - which really should be seen more of a knowledge tax that you pay continually - than in single investment projects.

Hopefully that makes sense - there is wonderful research on this subject, and I can assure you the issue really is just investment, sustainment, and continual engagement related for most projects. It's why many organizations now are moving into models where adoption (beyond activation), and consumption is something that can be easily measured and managed - think of SaaS ECM providers where the 'promise of value' is much closer in line with the 'realization of value' since at any time a user, department or organization can simply stop paying those subscription based licenses - the good thing is that both technology vendors and consultancies are shifting to models where there needs to be constant diligence to ensure the organization is getting the most out of their ECM investments. :)

author avatar

Buy in from the general worker population is really the key. The capability must be attractive, easy to use, and support their business requirements. There must be a perceived need and the ECM as the perceived answer.

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