Enterprise Content Management Missteps: Avoid These Six Mistakes  

businessman holding umbrella under a deluge of documents
Stephanie Schwenn Sebring Photo
Contributing Writer
Fab Prose & Professional Writing

3 minutes

When implementing ECM, failure to get buy-in may be the No. 1 mistake.

“It’s simple. Without buy-in, users won’t use the system; and without senior management support, there may not be a system at all, or one not designed or implemented properly,” stresses Jesse Wilkins, director of certification, who develops and manages the Certified Information Professional program at AIIM International (Association for Intelligent Image Management), Silver Spring, Maryland. “Failing to gain management buy-in and complete organizational support, ECM cannot go far.”

But that’s not the only easy mistake to make. Others include: 

Failing to manage the change.

In addition to buy-in, successful ECM implementation requires effective change management. “Organizations consistently underestimate the internal and external resources required for ECM transition—the communications, engagement and training required to effect the necessary process and behavioral changes,” says Wilkins. 

Skipping the planning stage.

Wilkins advises CUs to think things through. “Consider items like migrating data from legacy systems to the new ECM system and developing a communications and engagement strategy that starts very early in the process. Have users involved throughout the transition to ensure workflows make sense and are effective.” 

While CUs will not likely have members assist with reviews and testing during implementation, someone on the team needs to represent their perspectives, adds Wilkins. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be understood and planned out before acquiring an ECM system.

Trying to do too much too fast.

Strive for an incremental approach. Instead of trying to overhaul and automate the entire CU and its processes at once, pick a branch or a process and focus on it, suggests Wilkins. This can assist in a couple of ways: It shows staff progress and momentum; it helps to iron out issues during implementation; and it can increase buy-in from other areas as they see benefits of the new approach. 

Focusing too much on the technology.

Al Rosenbaum, VP/customer success for SilverCloud, Inc., Portsmouth, New Hampshire, believes another mistake is the lack of centralized content and not understanding that content is a credit union’s product—content is what a CU delivers to the external customer (i.e., members or vendors) or to the internal customer (employees). It can be the forms and data points required for opening a new service, a generated report or even an invoice for paying a bill. “It’s how easy the process is for staff and members and how well the content is managed that makes for successful enterprise content management. Rather than buying the newest or most innovative technology, for ECM to work, the content must deliver.”

Thinking AI will fix the content problem. 

Artificial intelligence will just be a distraction if the content it’s meant to work with is disorganized, poorly structured or doesn’t search well, says Rosenbaum. “While ECM software must be highly functional (for example, offer solid search capabilities, real-time functionality and effective content capture tools), if the content is poor, AI cannot fix the problem.”

Treating ECM as just another IT project.  

Technology is undoubtedly involved, says Wilkins, but in many ways, it’s the least important part of moving to an ECM. The people and process parts are much more critical to the overall success of ECM. Also, failing to include all the business units in the implementation project is another mistake. Without feedback, buy-in and taking an enterprise view, a CU may end up with just another imaging system.cues icon

Stephanie Schwenn Sebring established and managed the marketing departments for three CUs before launching her business. As owner of Fab Prose & Professional Writing, she assists CUs, industry suppliers and any company wanting great content and a clear brand voice. Follow her on Twitter@fabprose.

CUES Learning Portal