Thoughts on a Framework for Your ECM Strategy (Part One)
Your organization needs to develop an ECM strategy. An ECM strategy both reduces the cost of creating, managing, and distributing information and records and ensures that content supports the agency’s mission. An ECM strategy, much like a records management strategy, is a modality to identify content requirements, creating consistently content/records for reuse, managing those records in a definitive source, and assembling content on-demand to meet agency and citizen needs.
Strategy development starts by determining existing needs which are then broken down into three segments: people, processes, and technology. At a high level, it’s important to determine how information supports staff and citizens (staff), how it is produced (process), and what tools are used to create, collaborate, store and manage (technology). An ECM strategy requires robust technology that can manage content in a single source. Laserfiche is one such technology. It provides traditional document management functionality, such as secure access to content (check-in/ check-out), revision control, reporting, powerful search and retrieval mechanisms, metadata management and workflow capabilities. However, remember ECM is not just about Laserfiche, it is about the intersection and interaction of agency duties and goals with content, people, processes, and tools. These elements are the scaffolding of your framework. In tandem with new and reusable content and workflow processes (the lifeblood of your system.)
Content creators need technology to assist them with authoring, finding, and publishing information to ensure that the content they are distributing is accurate and appropriate. Content that is reusable is saved as content objects that can be mixed and matched to meet specific needs such as clauses to build a contract. Instead of the drudgery of copy/paste, elements are stored in Laserfiche and pointed to for inclusion in a new document. Consequently, the element can appear in many locations but reside only in one.
An ECM strategy also involves people and collaborative processes. The processes must exist in and create a collaborative environment in which staff share in the development of content to create a single definitive source of information. The ultimate goal in defining unified processes is to ensure that all departments are aware of what content already exists, all authors can reuse existing content, the appropriate edits and approvals can be maintained, and all processes are repeatable and transparent, regardless of which department and which content creators are following them.
The aforementioned is the 50,000-foot view of an ECM strategy framework. Stay tuned for part two where we will start digging in.