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Determining Your Organization's ECM Maturity

The volatility of the last year and a half has caused organizations to deploy ECM, increase their usage of existing ECM or just rip and replace. With the current situation, it can be useful to map the level of integration of ECM within the agency. Sometimes it is instructive to draw a maturity curve where key ECM stages of maturity are denoted on a timeline. You should remember that when introducing or reintroducing technology you won’t immediately jump to mature levels. However, having a clear idea of what the mature levels will look like helps align the maturation with adoption and overall organizational goals.

The maturity curve set out below depicts a set of levels that I have seen across many of our enterprise-level clients. We’re lucky enough, with almost two hundred clients, to have a good sense of how a fully mature implementation takes place. One more note before we detail the phases. If nothing else, mapping out your maturity mitigates risk from what is a major, transformational program. Here are the stages:

  • Electronic File Cabinet- In this stage, the organization is using the ECM as a digital file cabinet. Documents are stored in the system mostly by the department with the biggest need. In an agency, this is often the clerk and records manager. The usage of metadata is manual or autofilled using automation. There are a few standard templates and some metadata is captured. There are no integrations with business software. The system is primarily used for storing and finding documents, as though it were a network drive.

  • Opportunistic- Other departments are learning about the system and are considering adoption. IT is initializing some workflows to solve immediate problems or as a quick fix for programs. The system is used tactically, rather than strategically. Collaboration is ad hoc and limited, ECM is not budgeted for at the enterprise level.

  • Standardized- Now there’s an enterprise ‘flagship’ project that the entire organization is aware of or participates in. It’s usually associated with or drives an important agency goal such as citizen-services such as public records requests. Records management is firmly in place and leverages automation. Collaborative tasks are also automated. IT understands various workflows can actually serve as templates for other workflows. However, workflows are purpose-built. For example, hiring workflows are not much different than customer onboarding workflows. APIs are leveraged to integrate ECM into the tech stack. Budgeting is often at the enterprise level and ECM is on the list of enterprise technology.

  • Optimized- ECM is a core component of broad, strategic, funded programs. It’s the application that IT leans on to solve business problems. Governance is in place and the agency has a Trusted System by integrating ECM with optical storage. The system is managed as a service, rather than just a repository. For example, agencies use the system to deliver web-based citizen service delivery.

  • Innovative- There are numerous channels through which ECM delivers content, including web and mobile. AI allows reporting and data-driven decision-making. Business analysts serve to deliver solutions via ECM to various agencies and clients. The system is audited regularly and is used to audit for compliance and manage industry certifications. They also support multiple enterprise taxonomies. In addition, ECM can track and store multiple versions of files. Finally, the ECM supports low-code application development.

Feel free to google other ECM maturity models, they are all useful, depending on what stage you are in. Try using the exercise once or twice a year so you can track your progress. If you have any questions please contact me a



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