Top 5 Reasons for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Implementation Failure – Recommendations to avoid failures
An Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system offers a platform to provide transformational value and change in any organization. However, all ECM implementations must start with the right note and the right sponsorship combined with an achievable plan to make them successful. Otherwise, failure is inevitable. In this post, based on our experience in providing ECM solutions to global clients, we highlight the top 5 reasons why ECM implementations fail in an organization and provide our suggestions/recommendations to better plan ECM implementations and thus avoid failure.
- Reason #1: Lack of ECM Strategy and Roadmap: An organization’s vision, mission, objective and long term goals should be understood before starting an ECM initiative. The ECM strategy must be aligned with the organization’s goals along with well-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). When coming up with the strategy, one must understand the past and current business needs of the organization and envision the future state. This in turn helps to create the right ECM strategy roadmap. In order to help prioritize ECM initiatives and ensure alignment with organizational goals, the ECM strategy must be clearly communicated to the business and executive management. One must follow a holistic approach in leveraging existing systems, applications, solutions and create an ECM platform by consolidating and rationalizing the existing ECM infrastructure and products without impacting the business. This helps in the standardization of ECM platform. Once there is a strong ECM strategy and roadmap in place, it is easier to radiate and spread the change.
- Reason #2: Resistance to Change: Change is something which every human being will resist initially. One must have a mindset of ‘change is something which is constant and will bring in opportunities’. There must be a clear plan for change adoption, first in terms of identifying the like-minded, change-avert people who can influence change in the organization. They must be instilled with confidence and convinced with a strong business case that the new system is valuable and that change should be implemented. If this is successful, this team will act as your Change Agents across the organization and will radiate the message and value proposition of the change to the entire organization. The key is to identify the right set of people who are change champions.
- Reason #3: Over Budget and missed deadlines: This is a common syndrome for many projects. It is highly common for ECM implementations due to the lack of understanding on chosen ECM Product features. Often times, most of the people look at the product features and assume that they are out of the box features of the product. However, when the content use cases are realized and implementation starts, it may turn out that the use cases require customizations, which would involve more development effort, thus impacting the project schedules. Hence while choosing the product, the emphasis must be placed on product configurations rather than customizations. More customizations would require more maintenance and support of lights-on projects. Because ECM implementations involve all the business and IT units in the organization, the dependencies within the groups must be thought out carefully and included in the schedule.
- Reason #4: Lack of Information Governance and Information Architecture: This is the key to any content managed site. Information Governance will help define the roles and responsibilities for content authoring, creation, review and approval – which are necessary to ensure that the right content is available on the sites. This coupled with scalable Information architecture is the back-bone of any content managed site. Information architecture which deals with Content Taxonomy, SEO, Intuitive User interfaces, User experience, Metadata, searchable attributes etc must be identified before the design of the site is laid out. Any wrong step in this process will lead to a non-user friendly and un-maintainable site.
- Reason #5: Lack of thoughtful, scalable and appropriate architecture: This is another key item which is necessary in order to build a strong, scalable content managed site. A great deal of forward thinking in terms of growth of user base, based on future business growth of the organization, must be taken into consideration while sizing the hardware. Other key items which must be considered are content archival process, site availability, and disaster recovery.
We would recommend that any organization that plans to implement ECM think through the above before they start their ECM implementations program.
How has your experience been? Feel free to respond below with comments and questions.