With so much marketing information on “best practice” solutions to legal holds, records management, learning management, business process management, etc., it’s easy for individual business units to fall in love with a solution before IT even knows about it. Good governance would never allow this wild west atmosphere, but growing companies are usually governance challenged. A chronic lack of IT resources over time creates easy ways for business units to push their own tools to innovate in areas the IT does not “understand”.
All this back and forth with whining on both the business and IT sides leaves an easy scapegoat: the ECM solution. It becomes easy for the business to exclaim, “The UI is so 1990’s”, or “I can’t find anything”, or “We don’t know what to delete so we keep everything”. Then IT chimes in, “It will take us over a year to upgrade!”, and “Why can’t we just use SharePoint, it’s free!”, or “We don’t have any functional specs, so what does the business expect?”.
The middle ground where the requirements meet software functionality and architecture is where the weak link sometimes is. This link is where the projects are vetted, resourced, and funded. The problem is that this middle ground is stuck between being not too business experienced and not too technical. The middle ground is constantly changing, but can be called portfolio management or business relations. If governance is not at the enterprise level for content management, then project priorities and resources are constantly stressed and projects fail.
History vs. Change
ECM Directors have with hidden agendas too. They have relationships with vendors, they know the software functionality. They are comfortable being experts with the system. They want to ride it out as long as possible. Change is too risky and fraught with functional gaps which the business won’t like, but meanwhile the business is secretly hoping for a new system. The license agreement has not expired and the cost to migrate is huge. There are always many reasons not to change if your vision is one to two years out.
The period after the big storm affords some down time; hindsight to revisit any failures or damages sustained. Standards and rules have a chance to be implemented because there should be opportunists who understand architecture and governance who can exclaim, “I have a way out of this mess”. A new CIO is usually hired and new models are sold to IT. The new models promote ties with requirements and functions, budgets and accomplishments, and business to IT communication. The ECM system will most likely morph into something that is more suitable to the requirements, maybe a new application server (Sharepoint) or focusing the “E” of ECM to a system which archives and manages retention.