DOCUMENT Magazine - Winter 2012 - (Page 16)

COlUMN StRIkE A BALAnCE BEtwEEn tEChnICAL And BuSInESS nEEdS by Craig Le Clair nhanced expectations for information access have fundamentally transformed the enterprise content management (ECM) landscape due to the rapid adoption of mobile devices and services. Today’s document management assumes a private corporate network with a controlled repository. But tomorrow, it will take hold of the worldwide Internet with access to documents stored in various cloud and on-premises locations. While it’s possible to frame content management from an infrastructure and technology perspective—many companies do just that— it’s better to define a strategy to reflect your business contexts and tradeoffs in this time of disruptive business and technical change. In Forrester’s “Content Management Playbook,” my colleagues and I maintain that firms must build an ECM strategy that includes three elements: your organization’s business capabilities, your unique workforce needs and the technology landscape. With this approach, your strategy will not be affected by the ever-changing marketing of content management tools; instead, your strategy will reflect how your firm wants to support content to maximize profitability. Why do business and technology leaders invest in content management initiatives? Primary drivers include the need to simplify infrastructure, comply with regulatory requirements and improve process efficiency. Forrester has found that the missing piece and root cause of most ECM woes is not tangible needs but, instead, is a lack of understanding of business context—how people and business processes consume, modify, process and output content. When IT organizations force technology upon employees without much knowledge of how the technology can benefit them, employees often refuse to use it. To address this real issue, business leaders must understand the business context. This step starts with documenting how and why employees create, consume and use content. This use can focus on the tangible, such as the cost savings from improving new account openings in retail financial services. However, numerous intangibles can also define business context. Business leaders must also find the right people to ask. People in operational roles understand what makes a particular line of business tick. With this knowledge also comes a good understanding of how better use of content can help the organization achieve its objectives. Just as importantly, leaders must ask the right questions. Here is the challenge: How can you determine the business context for all of the unstructured information within your company and not drown in a requirements cycle? To address this problem, Forrester has developed a list of questions to help companies determine and develop the right approach. While the content needs of different roles, lines of business and functions may vary, they are not unique. By analyzing similarities across roles in terms of business capabilities, ECM teams can develop a model that places different roles into segments that share common characteristics. When asked to look three years into the future and consider how great a change they expect in various parts of their business, 31% of enterprise architects expect either a “complete replacement” or “major or pervasive change” to their content platforms. As if ECM alone wasn’t complicated enough, several new solutions are being incorporated into ECM strategies, such as dynamic case management, file sharing and collaboration solutions and enterprise social platforms. In order to remain competitive in the business landscape of the future, business leaders must look forward and plan for not only ECM best practices—but next practices—through a deep understanding of business context, use cases and the next wave of technological innovation. O CRAIG LE CLAIR is a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving enterprise architecture professionals. He is a leading expert on information management and enterprise content management (ECM). For more, visit 16 winter.2012 Full column:

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DOCUMENT Magazine - Winter 2012

DOCUMENT Magazine - Winter 2012
What's New
Most Social
Editor's View
Look After Your Own: Information Security Is Your Job Too
In Multi-Channel Delivery, All Is Not Created Equal
Strike a Balance between Technical and Business Needs
Building Intelligence
Plug into the New World of Work
Chasing the Storm
Get in the Game
I’ve Got the Remedy
Lost in Space

DOCUMENT Magazine - Winter 2012