If ECM was easy, you wouldn’t hear about so many failed implementations. Like any endeavor, one of the primary keys to success is assembling the right team. Any team seems to work best when you have some variety in personalities mixed with the right skill sets. To truly be successful with your ECM (Enterprise Content Management) solution, you will need several key players with the talent and skills to find success.
While not likely to be working on the project, there needs to be a close relationship with the Executive Sponsor. Invite them to key meetings and keep them updated on what his happening. Make sure they understand why the project is important and keep them informed on the goals. Don’t just feed them status updates, let them know how the project is going to help the organization.
How about that for enlightening. It may sound very cliché, but if you find a Rockstar project manager, someone who can lead the team and not just check off the tasks on their gantt chart, you are already ahead. If you’re reading this article, you may think that you are the right person to fulfill this role. However, it’s better to know your strengths and weaknesses and if you don’t excel in the following areas, it may be time to hunt down someone who fits those qualities.
Besides the ability to be detailed and manage tasks, look for the following:
- Do they like to talk and do they understand how to bring out the best in people? If they don’t “love” people, they probably aren’t the right fit.
- Do they know how to get what is needed to make the project successful? Will they be able to get what is needed from executives, business units, IT?
- Not always so easy to spot… leading a team is more than just managing the project.
- Problem solver. Do they solve problems quickly or do they look for someone else to blame? Do they overcome obstacles or focus on the negative?
No, that’s not a real job, at least not one I’ve heard of. But what I’m getting at here is someone who understands the policies that the information must adhere to and how they are going to apply them. I was tempted to say records manager; however, you want to look for a well-rounded information governance professional.
Look for someone that understands these principles:
- Which laws and regulations that should to be complied with.
- Understanding of the application of retention on information. This is much more complicated than non-records people realize.
- Proper disposition of information. How different types of information need to be disposed, transferred, or archived, and how to prove it worked.
In addition to the records management skills above, they will need to work with the system architects to ensure that the security design meets any compliance and sensitivity requirements.
Subject Matter Experts
Ensure there are SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) involved in the project for each business unit you are enabling with the ECM system. There could potentially be several serving different business units. For example, an accounts payable SME is unlikely to know much about legal contracts. It is important each SME understand the business systems you will need to interface with in order successfully implement ECM.
Whichever ECM system you are using, look for someone who already has great skills using that system. I know a lot organizations want to just train someone, but this is not the best way to get results. If there is no one available for the project, you should bring in someone on contract.
I realize this is sometimes expensive and management won’t buy in easy, which is why that project manager should be a good negotiator. If you end up going external, make sure you send someone internal to training before the project starts and then have them shadow the expert to learn as much as possible.
They will be able to help the rest of the information technology team architect the system and they need to know how to manipulate the ECM system(s) to make it work best for the project goals. They also may have development skills but they should understand the capabilities of the system’s programming interface. If workflows are involved, they should know about the technical side of creating those.
There are a lot of different names for someone who has this skill set, but what you’re looking for is someone that understands how to structure the data repository(s) to meet the needs of the information being stored. Look for someone who has created taxonomies on the specific system(s) being implemented.
Depending on the project goals, you may need a developer to build applications, develop scripts, or interface systems together. The loftier your ECM goals, the more likely it is you’ll need a developer. If you’re going to hook your ECM system into your business systems, it’s likely some type of development will need to be done. Some other possibilities include:
- Search interfaces
- Migration of data
Finally, don’t neglect the end users. It’s likely the entire goal of your ECM system is to make their jobs more efficient. You’ll want to ensure the transactions they need to process and documents they need to store are easier to save and quicker to find. Look to bring end users from each business unit that will enhance the project and not hinder it. Involve them in meetings, ask their advice, and involve them in testing. They are important, make them feel that way.
These won’t be the only people on the team, but they will be the most important. You will want to get them all involved early on, and keep them available until you are deployed.