More Success with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Implementations

Companies find out the hard way that the implementation of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is an expensive adventure and a long journey. Therefore, the question comes to one’s mind why this is the case. And also, what can we do to maximize the success, and reduce the costs the same time.

What Makes a ECM a Hard Project to Undertake?

When a web site does not bring the turnover (attract the traffic) it was supposed to, it is good starting point to have web consultants, and more specific Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultants, assess the website. Their primary finding is usually that information architecture of the site is unclear. This means that for an untrained visitor it is hard to find the information he needs. And even worse, it means that search engines cannot decide what is information important enough to be found.

In the old Information Engineering days we also had an Information Architecture. It defined how a person, executing a process or function, could access information, and manipulate it. If the architecture, the basis of the Information Systems was OK, then it was certain that the results was a functional system, which also was maintainable. So, it seems little has changed since the old days!

This implies that if you don’t make up your mind up clearly from the start, it will become a difficult journey! Cluster the information you want present around themes, and use different view points to do that.

Improvement of ECM Success: A Checklist

Web Content Management (WCM) software is expensive. The implementation of WCM, both in the context of ECM or not, costs about the same amount as the software. Unfortunately, the maintenance is then not even included. So it is important to increase your chances on success as much as possible. Forrester has defined besides these a few more success factors in their paper Best Practices: WCM Adoption In External Web Sites as: 1. Launch sooner, 2. Find greater acceptance, and 3. Express greater satisfaction. And the magic formula to enforce more success: 1. Keep stakeholders involved throughout the whole implementation, 2. Use a pilot strategically, and 3. Simplify functionality.

What Would I Do?

Forrester gives a sound advice. Personally I would start with the information architecture. Because you will need to keep asking yourself the question: Now what really makes a difference to my visitors.

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