E20 & ECM - On Discipline and Dumps
By billy.cripe on Jun 25, 2009
Enterprise Content Management systems are designed to house human created and consumable information. One of the challenges in recent years that ECM systems have faced is the explosion of content. Web and Enterprise 2.0 systems have lowered the bar to participation on and with the web. Participation in many cases means content creation. We participate in instant message (IM) conversations, we interact in discussion threads, we write blog entries, update wiki entries, and review everything under the sun whether books, movies, music, documents, projects or even each other. Those ratings, wikis, messages and participation are all content.
Organizations agree (in theory if not in practice) that such content must be managed. If not for competitive advantage and intellectual capital purposes then for compliance, risk, and governance purposes. Yet too many CIOs and IT managers try to short cut the strategic necessity and adopt a short term approach. All too often those short term approaches wind up as legacy systems - having grown far beyond their intent, use and ability to deliver a value to the enterprise. Often such systems and approaches end up creating liability for the organization. And thus shared file systems are born and live aged but tragically decrepit lives. Meanwhile vendors peddle siloed software and hardware solutions that address specific (tactical) needs but fail to be incorporated into an overall enterprise information management strategy. ECM systems can be part of the problem as much as part of the solution.
An Enterprise Content Management system that simply acts as a dumping ground for content from applications, people and systems will die a slow death by a thousand cuts. When too much chaos reigns in ECM implementations relevant information is diluted amidst a sea of junk. Simply laying out Euro or Dollars and thinking that your problems are solved is a recipe for frustration. Dumping grounds for documents will not help your Enterprise 2.0 projects. Dumps are not as useful, navigable, or referencable as planned cities. Sure you might find something neat or novel in a dump but the process is not repeatable and does not scale.
The point is that E2.0 requires purpose and ECM requires discipline for success. There is a human element to managing information that is all too often left out by technology vendors and overlooked by clients. Make sure that you are planning your development and that it coincides with your strategy. Make sure that your E2.0 systems are able to store content in a planned, repeatable, and reusable way, not dumped in a digital pile and forgotten.