Monday, April 26, 2010

Some Tensions of ECM

Navigation vs. Search

Gerry McGovern says it well when he says that navigation is just as important as search: navigate first to a sub division of content, then search the index of that section. Some repositories have no rhyme or reason to their folder structures: governance and standards were nonexistent during the proliferation of folders and content. This happens when the software product was oversold and the budget for rollout planning and information architecture was pilfered for the sake of getting the ECM solution deployed and stable. The same groups who were negligent are now forming strategy groups to figure out how to reorganize the navigation and content, as well as fine tune search results. Sound familiar? The people responsible for the mess are now tasked with cleaning it up. Do they understand metadata standards? I hope so. Will they decide to reclassify existing content, migrate and tag content to a new repository, or design virtual folders? They’ll have to start somewhere.

Legal Preservation vs. Information Architecture

Understandably, the Legal department wants to limit the amount of metadata to as little as possible to reduce exposure to liability. The Records Manager wants to tag content according to preservation rules and schedules. The Users want to be able to find their content by typing in metadata values which they are accustomed using to describe their content. Doc Type, Area, Owned By, Modified Date, Reviewed By, etc. These are fundamental to all repositories, but Legal would prefer to cut them to the point of obscurity; least amount of description equals the least amount of risk.

Agile Business Process vs. IT Stability

Users, trying to keep current with their changing business processes, are constantly pressured to modify their workflows. Meanwhile, the IT department cannot keep up with all of the change requests in a timely fashion. This creates a constant battle of change management between the users and the supporters of the system. Support is typically under staffed to fully handle all of the necessary changes in an agile and stable way. Also, architects usually consider change management and support an after thought to the main design of the repository and integrations.


Mike said...

Great to know about the tensions related to ECM. ECM stands for Enterprise content management. It is is a formalized means of organizing and storing an organization's documents, and other content, that relate to the organization's processes.
records management

odor said...

That is so true.. each half year we find that there is a need to change our methods..

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