Analysts Examine Best Practices in ECM at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2009, 16-17 September, in London
Organisations are cognizant of the benefits of enterprise content management (ECM), but the number of compromises an organisation likely will have to make to implement ECM can be daunting, according to Gartner, Inc. Picking the correct business focus is the most important first step to successful content management and information governance.
Gartner said ECM consists of a vision and framework for integrating a broad range of content management technologies and content formats across the organisation.
“ECM is expensive, which is why a low percentage of knowledge workers in an organisation have access to ECM,” said Toby Bell, research vice president at Gartner. “It's also too hard to justify the system for everyone based on unclear return on investment (ROI) or other success measures.”
In addition, many ECM projects fail before they get off the ground. When projects are IT-driven or even management-driven, the No. 1 mistake organisations make is failing to take into account just how profound a change in users' work practices the content management system will make. “They take shortcuts and jump right to the vendor selection process,” Mr Bell said. “We recommend that for large ECM projects (more than €300,000) organisations spend six to nine months in the planning and vendor selection process.”
Gartner analysts said it is critical that organisations take a total cost of ownership (TCO) approach using a five-year time frame. Initially, organisations should expect software licensing costs to account for between 5 per cent and 20 per cent of the TCO over five years. Furthermore, organisations need to be cautious about introducing new vendors into their portfolio, because they will have a much larger cost “footprint” than the initial expenditure.
Gartner has identified six tactical approaches to help organisations save up to €1 million in content management:
1- Pare Down to the Essential Content: Eliminate old or duplicate content before “standard” ECM, business process management (BPM) and content-enabled vertical application (CEVA) implementations. Appoint "content strategists" to calculate the cost, value and risk associated with storage and provisioning of content.
2- Include a policy implementation When You develop a Content Architecture: A policy about documents takes the form of rules and metadata that allow some automatic categorisation and expiration of content. In particular, the policy can be used to separate "content of record" from intermediate content. It can also be used to clean up repositories and file servers.
3- Include a Content Service Provider and Open Source in Your Strategy: Content service providers are vendors that extend beyond software offerings alone and offer consulting, implementation, outsourcing or other services. IT managers must take a closer look at vendors that compete with content services beyond traditional software, such as Xerox, EDS, HP, Iron Mountain, Astoria, and Clickability among others. Open Source offerings have matured and the market has stabilised. Leaders regularly compete for government and higher education contracts among vertical markets.
4- Leverage Your Web Channel: Organisations must stop wasting money on manual data and content transformation between customer-facing channels and instead put in place a structured and unstructured master data system.
5- Explore the Green Benefits of an Electronic Workplace: There are various green initiatives that organisations can explore, such as moving to electronic forms and storing records electronically, eliminating redundancies (50 per cent of archived paper documents are duplicates) that are ultimately saving time, money, trees, and physical storage heating/cooling environmental impact..
6- Get Out of the E-mail Business: Gartner believes that the hybrid on-premises and hosted e-mail services model will become increasingly popular for organisations – whereby some users (those without extensive mail and calendar needs) will use Outlook web access "in the cloud" at a low price — while the company maintains a population of Outlook/Exchange users at headquarters (examples include car company executives vs. line workers, and retail store executives vs. store floor workers). Conversions from on-premise to hosted Exchange have also been significant in 2008-2009 with huge savings as a result.
Mr Bell will further examine best practices in ECM at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2009, taking place at the Royal Lancaster hotel, London, on 16-17 September. Because tough times call for greater justification, the Summit will focus on how to demonstrate ROI from these technologies, how the downturn can be a driver for their adoption, and how to team with business partners for maximum success. Additional information is available at www.europe.gartner.com/pcc
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