June 29, 2017

Invest in Innovation, not Maintenance

4 minute read

 Last week, we identified legacy ECM systems as a target for cost reduction in IT spend. Their specialized nature and the parallel infrastructure they create introduce all types of ongoing costs and maintenance requirements. The Lean IT Blog writes:

Maintenance organizations “Hedge their bets” when it comes to maintenance. They deploy a fixed team of people who are pre-trained in the application so they can respond to high priority work quickly during these spikes. The size of the team is set to handle the spikes. As a result, they have excess capacity (and excess costs) when maintenance is not spiking.

Not all costs are bad – a business that does not invest in itself does not grow. But beyond excess capacity and costs, what makes these types of investments a poor strategy is that they do not have the capacity to be innovative or transform your business for the better. They exist to sustain the status quo.

Always Improving, Never Reacting

If you build only to satisfy your current requirements, you’ll always be a step behind. By the time a need is identified, you’re already losing money.

Instead, you should choose a platform with built in contingencies. Closed in ECM systems offer a fixed set of features, with the option to add a small group of additional (usually proprietary) addons that can extend capabilities in a limited fashion.

When compared to cloud-based ecosystems, this type of monolithic approach does not offer the adaptability a lean IT organization needs. SharePoint and Office 365, for instance, can be easily extended to achieve the same goals as any traditional ECM, but also offer the potential to provide so much more.

A slim infrastructure that allows for a “plug-and-play” approach to information management is more sustainable, less expensive, and easier to change. Achieving this trifecta will unlock a vast amount of resources for your organization.

Clean, Accurate Data

According to a 2016 KPMG study, over half of surveyed CEOs say they use data analytics to drive quicker decision making, but only a third have confidence in the accuracy of that data. If our data is bad, our decisions cannot be sound.

By minimizing friction between business units and integrating various content and data sources under a single information governance plan, we can get closest to the heart of the data – the truth.

Connecting Processes

Integration is the lifeblood of the digital workplace. The closer we can bring information silos to one another, and the simpler we can make business processes, the better. How information flows from one system to another, and how complex the individual touchpoints are will determine how quickly individual business units can get from having an idea to seeing the results.

Furthermore, integration allows us to extend the value of the information generated by one internal organization throughout the entire enterprise. For example, observations made by Marketing or Sales might help a Product organization better plan future offerings. Contracts created to support transactions in SAP can offer valuable insight to Marketing teams that primarily collaborate in Office 365. By integrating line of business systems with content management and collaboration platforms, you can achieve quick and intelligent information accessibility while also providing governance and compliance controls to mitigate risk. And all of this can be achieved while minimizing IT burden.

Value Streams: The Big Picture

Next week, we will discuss how to bring these broader goals into focus by identifying the value streams that comprise an organization’s processes, and how they can be optimized to provide the best results at a reasonable cost.

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