Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

ECM Resolution #2: Getting content where it is REALLY needed

Welcome back to our conversation about resolutions we can set that will help us manage information more effectively and make our entire business more productive.  Yesterday, we discussed ECM Resolution #1 - Planning for both content growth and expanded access to that information. Today's resolution is a variation on a seemingly simple cliché that for many businesses around the world, is something they have not truly addressed.

ECM Resolution #2:  Put information in your work.

OK, really?  That's it?  Yes - but let me explain.  For most companies, information is captured or created in a repository, used briefly and then allowed to die a long, slow death without ever being used again.  Microsoft SharePoint is famous for this, though it is not the only technology out there that perpetuates this problem.  The concept of the "information silo" has been discussed for years and yet still companies find themselves with valuable information that cannot be easily found or used where it is needed most.  

Think about your own situation.  Are important documents like contracts, invoices, forms or scanned images stored in a way that they can be easily found and used within the context of your business applications?  Probably not.  Too often, when it comes time to find that important file, you find yourself searching across multiple locations.  The biggest problem of all, you have to know where to look before you even begin searching!  And in many cases, you get frustrated and resort to sending an email to one or more colleagues, asking them if they have the document to send to you.  Now you have multiple copies, multiple versions - basically, a real mess that can result in the wrong information being used or communicated.

When your content is centrally managed, it can be used across applications and communities more securely and effectively.   Need to locate a contract under dispute from within the context of your intranet portal environment?  Done!  Need to collaborate around the very latest version of an upcoming customer presentation?  Done!  Need to have access to a scanned invoice within the context of your e-business applications?  Done!  Need to be able to confidently send the latest proposal document to a business partner?  Done!

OK, you get the picture. Content is only of value when it can be used within the immediate context of the business use case - whatever that might be. Having files and documents scattered across network drives, file sharing solutions and repositories is often at direct odds with this.  When you resolve to manage your information properly and integrate it within the scope of your business processes, you shorten the time it takes to resolve issues, address customer concerns and meet deadlines.

Many Oracle WebCenter Content customers are doing this already and realizing some significant cost savings and other benefits.  It's worth taking a look. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is one such customer, and Brian Skapura from the AIA was kind enough to sit down and record a video describing what they have done.  You can view it directly via this link.  

As with the first resolution, this is one worth taking the time to consider and implement in a way that addresses one process at a time. Taking one bite at a time ensures that you will address the most important processes first and be successful along the way.  You can get a more thorough understanding of how you can effectively put your information to work by checking out one or more webcasts that we have recorded on the topic.  Click here to register and watch them at your convenience. 

We will see you back here tomorrow for ECM Resolution #3!

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