Sunday, June 5, 2016

"The future is already here..."

“The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.”
-- William Gibson

This quote, when applied to ECM, opens up doors of understanding. To know how solutions start and propagate throughout an organization, you must first start with the group most interested in the future, and why they are pushing IT in that direction.

Sometimes, it’s the promise of ROI, or getting rid of paper, or access to information outside of the secure network. Whatever the vision, the solution (the future) is not distributed all at once. ECM is a message; a movement that is planted, then it spawns to other departments. The success of the distribution is dependent on many factors.


The big bang vs. gradual implementation is always a discussion point when any expensive software is considered. Scoping the implementation just right is essential: the delivery date will slip if the scope of the project is too broad, however the project’s influence will suffer if the scope is too small. First implementations are politically charged. There are managers who feel slighted, disagreements in hallways, new alliances that strain old ones.

Follow Ups

It’s tempting to copy the first implementation with the same formula, the same business requirement steps, the same functional specs, and so on. Be cognizant of this. Each business process is different enough to warrant different approaches. Follow ups should not be delayed; they need to progress until the scope of the initial vision is complete.  For example, all of the incoming orders that were on paper are now scanned and indexed, in every branch. Automation of this piece is complete

Realizing the next phase

Every future has another one on its tails. By the time the final scanner is in place, a new vision is hatching. For example, a director wants to fix a broken process where invoices are getting lost; or there’s an information quality issue with the way the scanned orders are getting indexed. All solutions introduce new issues and therefore new solutions. Innovation never ends, only the sales pitch does. 

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