Thursday, August 25, 2016

What is Your Company’s ECM Narrative?

Does your ECM system have a story title like, “Doc Repo” or “Approval Center”, or is it called by its vendor name? Even a generic name is better than the vendor’s name. A unique name gives the solution an identity. This identity could help expand the solution to other areas of the company. Some companies adopt an IT pet name for their systems and solutions, but many others just call their HR system, “PeopleSoft”, or their ERM system, “AllScripts”, etc. These names just promote the vendor, not the unique solution.

IT Management

Is management creative with IT applications? Is your Director a story teller? Although ECM can survive on the ROI story, it could thrive on stories of larger scale and transformation. If the core driver of the solution’s interests and energy is apparent, why not tell a story around that?

Mission Statement

These statements are created and posted on the wall. They can be inspirational like Google’s, or more down to earth. Regardless, the naming of the IT solutions should reflect the tenants of the company’s mission.

Try to come up with for your ECM solution

First, is there a story of the solution which everyone can relate to? If the majority of the content is based around patient information at a hospital, shouldn’t the story of the system reflect that? For example, “Patient Care Depot.” I know, this isn’t very good, but you get the idea. With a solution name comes the reasons why there is a solution and it’s benefits, not only for IT workers, but for Users and the population or problems it solves.

Second, You’ll need to “balance the flexibility required for innovation with the routinization needed for ongoing operations.” (Tushman and O’Reilly 1996). You can’t create a completely new story which makes no sense or is too obtuse. The purpose of the system name and stories is to bring disparate, silo oriented, groups together with a common understanding of the solution.

The role of translation

The translation of an ECM vision to the specific company’s unique processes and culture can be challenging. A translation implies ‘displacement, drive, invention, mediation—the creation of a link that did not exist before and that to some degree modifies two elements or agents” (Latour 1994, p. 32). With a story, the translation of the system’s benefits can be made more relevant to the varied groups: Accounting has different perspectives than Marketing, but they both need to manage their content.


A narrative needs to be transformative:  “Transformational innovation requires offering or doing something fundamentally different; a metamorphosis most organizations don’t excel at. Such innovation is disruptive because it introduces products and services that change the business landscape by providing a dramatically different value proposition. And championing transformational innovation involves going to war with all the elements inside an organization that benefit from the status quo.” (Stephen Denning)

There’s always a beginning, middle, and end of stories. The ECM solution is the middle of an ongoing story. It doesn’t end, it just morphs into another solution and narrative, like Star Wars.

No comments: