Monday, July 28, 2014

What Makes ECM Last Longer?

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them" -Einstein

On first reading of this, I thought it meant we need to think outside the box to solve future problems. However, after reading a few more times, I realized that he is also implying that solutions now are problems in the future, in other words, the effectiveness of the solution is directly related to the level of forethought given to it.

How does this relate to ECM issues? Take for example, storage. Why is it assumed that storage will always need to be expanded to accommodate new content? What if a better compression algorithm reduced the total size of the files by 100%? Or, a retention policy actually kicked in after many years of waiting and disposed of files? Thus, plan for 10 years of expansion, 10 years of Moore’s Law lowering storage costs, 10 years of fluctuating goals, and finally after 10 years, storage will shrink for retention policy content.

How about workflow? If you have a complex process which was “automated” in a workflow a few years ago and is now very expensive and time consuming to update, what do you do? You could simplify it by stripping out the parts that are not worth the hassle of updating. The “parts” are usually exceptions to the main purpose of the workflow. The exception will change, so a little change management forethought could save a lot of money in the long run.

So, what happens with ECM implementations when problems occur and the folks charged with fixing them were the ones who designed it? It depends of course on the issue, however the larger the issue, the more it makes sense to have an outside party analyze it to provide different logic on how it occurred and possible remedies. The nature of contracting is to get the next phase of work, so that is up to you. Given the analysis and options of fixing the problems, the in-house resources are usually the best folks to work on them, given the negative effects of not engaging them.