Monday, January 18, 2016

Drivers and Followers and ECM

Futurama (New York World's Fair)

In The Option of Urbanism, Chris Leinberger, describes how there are “drivers” and “followers” in the product types of real estate. For example, a driver would be residential home development and a follower would be a mall constructed close to where the new homes are built.

The same is true for enterprise content management. For example, a driver in healthcare applications would be an EMR, and the follower would be all the other applications, except registration and billing. EMRs were late to the game, but are now front and center. ECM systems, like Hyland’s Onbase, fill in the gaps as a follower in the long line of other applications.

Gaps occur over time as applications are moved in and out of favor, CIO’s change things up to reduce costs, requirements change, and priorities are mandated. Gaps are filled with invoice scanning solutions for paper processing. When regulations change, ECM has the flexibility to meet the requirements until the larger “driver” systems and adjust.

Hospital merger and acquisitions are “drivers” which spur multiple content and information migrations. The “followers” help clean up the information messes caused by disparate systems. Content types and metadata have to be mapped and reclassified. Who does this? ECM applications and professionals are well versed in these types of situations.

Understanding ECM’s flexibility and its major role as an IT “follower” is essential when making strategic decisions on where to deploy it. It innovates when “drivers” need it to. It fills in the gaps quickly to provide the needed bridge for unforeseen obstacles of business change. It’s easy to get excited about innovation “drivers” and much harder to involve the “follower” applications in this excitement. 

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