One of the things I'm always amused/frustrated by is the relationship between technology and its customers. I've yet to see a formula that really "works", and I'm interested to hear what the community has to say on this topic. Here's a numbered list (just to make it easy to reference) of some of the ways I've seen it done at various places (no, I'm not telling how we do it where I work right now, or if it's even listed below...these are just some examples to hopefully start some conversations):
Shared IT - all the customers share a single group of IT resources. This is good on the IT side; in theory it keeps you from having a bunch of different teams all doing the same thing, and doing "their own take" on different initiatives. Take ECM (gee, imagine that I'd choose that as my example!), for instance - in a nightmare scenario, with different IT departments for each LOB - one team uses SharePoint, one uses FileNet, one uses Documentum, and suddenly you're playing the federation or cross-repository searching game if you're lucky and the "people have to look in many different places for their documents"game, or worse "I need to migrate and integrate a bunch of disparate systems" game, if you're not. However, this approach isn't without drawbacks - customers all think they are the most important, and don't realize it's a shared pool of resources (or, they realize it, but they don't care); you can end up with a giant monolithic organization so full of bureaucracy that it can't execute even simple IT projects in a timely manner; or have a variety of other issues that I'm sure you can name!
Each customer has their own IT - kind of the opposite of the scenario above, probably speaks for itself in terms of the pros (more agile, closer to the customer's requirements, etc.) and cons (everyone doing their own thing, no standards, etc.) ...
Customers don't interact with IT at all - usually this involves a middleman of some sort, a "people person" (if you catch the Office Space reference). Don't even get me started on this one - not only is it overhead from a staffing point of view, but you also get horribly confused requirements and question exchanges - it's just like the classic game of "telephone" that many people played as kids...by the time it gets from one end (the customer) to the other (the IT staff), and back again, it's never right!
Customers just do their own thing - ah, the salesman's dream! No IT involved at all, show the customers directly "how easy" it is, and they buy it, then they can't figure out how to implement it...time for professional services!! Sarcasm aside, sometimes this seems to be the best approach, and it definitely works in the small company environment where there's just one or two "IT Guys" that are really just a part of the organization. But how do you scale this?
I'm sure there are others, I'm interested in hearing how it's done where you work, or if you can't say, maybe just your own personal opinion on how you think it should (or should not) be done, as I surely don't have the answer - well, other than to reboot, that's always the answer!
the last post (Part 1) I indicated that we were going to talk about the first
steps of the establishment of an ECM Center of Excellence organization. But
before we go there we have a few other things that need to fall in place.
Establish a ECM Program and Program Manager
ECM to be successful at a enterprise level, it must be treated as a program. A
program with a Steering Committee that is representative of the whole
enterprise and leverage it to provide guidance, impetus, and a high-level
sign-off for company-wide issues such as the corporate taxonomy, key metadata,
and security models as well as critical SLA and Disaster Recovery/Business
Continuity requirements. The ECM Steering Committee is responsible for the
establishment of a ECM Center of Excellence, first by assigning a ECM Program
Manager that is responsible:
program services are visible, planned and managed to the client’s goals and
the development of ECM vision and strategy
development, promotion and management of ECM services
creation and adherence of best practices, proven methodologies and processes
continuously refine COE metrics and management reporting
Develop an ECM Program Roadmap
of the first item of the ECM Steering Committee is to assign resources to work
with the ECM Program Manager to develop an ECM
Program Roadmap. First step of the ECM Program Roadmap is to evaluate
current state followed by gathering current and future business and IT needs.
Once the current state and needs are determined then the high-level future
architecture is defined. A gap analysis from current to future is performed
which drives the rest of the ECM roadmap. The roadmap needs to address both the
ECM COE development/implementation, ECM technology planning/design/deployment
tasks and the establishment of measurements/system validation tasks.
ECM COE Foundation Development group of tasks in the ECM Program Roadmap,
includes the identification of needed services, and a development plan for the
COE resources. The development of key ECM COE processes to run the COE as well
as develop and deliver the needed services.
ECM Technology Planning & Design group of task focuses on the development
of the ECM Technical architecture and produce the architecture artifacts to
integrate into your Enterprise Architecture. On of the important artifacts that
I want to point out is the concept of Solution Patterns. Later I will discuss
packaged (tiered services) and these solution patterns provide governance when
to use particular packages and provides guidelines around the extension
(customization) of these packages. The other activity of this grouping is the
development of an ECM Technology Deployment Plan which will be a detailed plan
and timeline of the deployment of all the ECM underpinning as well as the
services provided to the organization
Identify ECM COE Offered Services
evaluate the current state (first swim lane) of the ECM Program roadmap,
information was gathered to define a high-level architecture to meet the
business/IT needs. Now the ECM COE resources look at the business
challenges/objectives and the future architecture and define appropriate levels
of functionality for various segments of the potential user base.
COE and business units work together to define various packages or tiers of ECM
functionality (for example: ranging from packages with basic store-and-retrieve
capabilities, to more advance packages offering revision-control and automated
workflow capabilities). Other tiers may take into account the acceptance of
change in the business units. Some business units may desire mature services
and avoid change while others may require more leading edge technology which
typically involves introduction of technology on a more frequent basis.
leveraging package solutions is the desired for fast deployment and cost
containment of ECM to the business, it may not meet all the requirement of the
business. In that case the package can be used as the base and custom
components augment the package to meet the business needs. All custom
components will be design with reuse in mind and could be considered ECM COE
services as well.
the Current/Planned ECM technology and the project pipeline, a prioritized
delivery plan of packages and custom components can be developed. The Industry
ECM Direction can be used to determine other services/packages that might need
to be developed that are not currently needed by projects in the pipeline.
Services that have no immediate need but need is expected in the near term,
should be noted and once the ECM COE has needed services implemented, these
will be areas of research focus (Research is a key recommended process that
will not be discussed in this presentation).
far we have been talking about technology services but the ECM COE also
provides Advise & Consult Role based services to the enterprise. Services
Solution Design Services – ECM COE Architect Role provides the knowledge to
develop business solutions leveraging the ECM technologies. These solutions can
be either: Content Storage and Retrieval Solutions: These solutions are
primarily focused on centrally managing content (paper and electronic) as well
as content retrieval. Typically a generic client is provided for retrieval.
Document Centric Workflow Solutions: These solutions not only focus on
centrally managing the content but managing the business process that leverages
the content. Typically this will be a BPM application with a customized user
Solution Requirement Gathering Services - ECM COE Process Designer/Business
Analyst provides the skills to help the business gather and understand their
requirement and translate them into ECM solution requirements. This information
is then used by ECM COE Architect to more efficiently and accurately design a
Modeling Services - ECM COE Process Designer/Business Analyst is
knowledgeable in principles of process modeling as well as the tools to assist
the business with documenting their current and future process with ECM
technology enablement. The ECM enable process models then can be used by the
technical designer to automate the model with the BPM tool
Technology Research Services - ECM COE provides the skills to evaluate and
research new ECM technologies and help the business in the selection of
technologies to meet their requirements
ECM COE role services should be indentified during this exercise so that it can
be communicated to the customers resulting in strengthen ECM solution provided
by the ECM COE
time flies when having fun. I am out of time and my daughter is waiting for me
to tuck her in so on the next post we’ll pick up with a discussion of the next
step of a ECM COE Foundation Development.
let me know what you think. All feedback is greatly appreciated.
you thinking about how to get the most of your ECM investment? Are you thinking
about ECM shared services as the way to achieve more out of your investment? If
ECM shared services is in your future then let me make a recommendation: The
establishment of an ECM Center of Excellence organization is one thing that
will significantly improve your company’s chances of success with that ECM
Shared Services program.
let’s back up a little and start with some background for this recommendation.
the exponential growth in the amount of unstructured content as well as
compliance exposures that all that content can bring, ECM is becoming a
priority within many organizations. Where in the past, content management was
deployed to meet departmental needs, in certain niches within the
organizations, it is now being recognized as an enterprise-wide need: An
infrastructure investment rather than a niche application. If you look at ECM
for enterprise deployment, it makes sense to offer all the functionality of ECM
as a shared service.
thinking of an ECM as a series of shared services, let’s not think only of the
technology services (infrastructure) but human capital role services as well.
What I mean is it is easy to see the technology services such as content
capture, repository, discovery, compliance, and business process management
services but what about ECM solution requirement gathering, solution design,
process modeling, and project management services just to name a few. And don’t
forget about ECM support services like technology administration, governance,
management processes/practices and others.
like the sharing of the technology provides cost-effectiveness, sharing of the
intellectual capital of the human role and support services provides that same
benefit and more:
- Leverage experienced resources and
proven methodologies to help guarantee successful solutions.
- Assist customer resources who may not have
experience designing and implementing solutions
- Better positioned to support corporate
and data governance
Faster Time to
Market of ECM Solutions
- Jump start idea generation for the
business solution and the technology implementation and keep each group from
“finding their own way”.
- Expertise to drive business process
What is an ECM COE?
ECM COE is a cross-functional team with a permanent formal organizational
structure. It has defined tasks, roles, responsibilities and processes for
support and promoting the effective us of ECM across the organization. It is
staffed with employees from the organization itself, although some roles or
functions might be insourced or outsourced. The ECM COE is tasked with driving
the proper use of ECM technologies throughout the organization, making it
available in the appropriate forms to business users.
What does an ECM COE look like?
start off and say there is no universally accepted standard for ECM COEs, as it
will vary from organization to organization. Also there is also no “silver
bullet” for implementing an ECM COE within an organization. Each organization
has its own vision, mission and goals for a COE and there is the organization
culture that has to be embraced as well. ECM and IT governance maturity also
plays a big role in how that organization will be structured. I would like to
suggest instead of “what does an ECM COE look like” we take it from a different
angle. Let’s look at the mission/vision and goals of a mature ECM COE and
briefly talk about the key characteristics found to meet their goals. The key
characteristics that will be briefly outlined below are derived by the use of
an ECM COE strategy map approach levering the Norton and Kaplan Balance Score
Card Framework. My intent is to dive more deeply in future posting on each of
these characteristics but for now we are going to keep it at a high level.
COE Vision Example
maximize shareholder value by leveraging specialized technical resources,
competencies, and infrastructure across lines of business, providing solutions
to infrastructure and business problems through world class research,
architecture design and the utilization of business process management, and
content management technologies.
COE Goals Example
discussed above the key to a COE success is providing both technology and role
based services to accomplish the following:
Utilize ECM COE Services
to enable high value solutions
·Provide proven methodologies and resources for
·Identify opportunities for appropriate use of
·Use the right technology to solve the problem,
not the hammer looking for a nail
·Integrate the business process and the
·Match the scope of the solution with the
Faster time to market of
ECM enabled business solutions
·Positioned to quickly respond to
- Ever-changing business environments as
they introduce new products and services
- Changing technology demands
·Remain agile from a technology/product
Enable data and
corporate compliance programs
·Corporate Governance Compliance
- Ensure that Corporate Compliance
(Records Management) is addressed around all ECM technologies
- Support Data Governance by embracing
corporate taxonomies across all ECM technologies
Ensure ECM effectiveness
across the enterprise
·Provide shared repositories
·Develop and leverage reusable services
·Broker partnerships within the enterprise
·Provide governance and best practices
·Develop synergies of concentrated talent
·Stay in front of the trends to provide
·Partner with business lines to prevent false
ECM COE Characteristics Example
what are some of the characteristics in a mature ECM COE to meet the above
goals? This is where the Kaplan and Norton Strategy map comes into play.
Without getting in to a great amount of detail (saving that so I have something
to blog about later), this framework has you focus from various perspectives to
meet your goals.
achieve the COE vision/mission how must we look to our business lines?
perspective is a little different than the other two we will outline in this
blog. Remember ECM technology does not provide any value. It is the application
of the technology in a business context that provides the value. When answering
this perspective question above, three of the four goals outlined were derived.
The “ECM effectiveness across the enterprise” goal was and indirect goal coming
from the next perspective.
satisfy our business lines, at which COE process must we excel?
answer this perspective question the following process/plan objectives were
innovative ways to leverage ECM technologies
Expand COE services use
within the enterprise
Develop/Enhance/Deploy reusable COE services
Develop best practices
strategy for ECM enabling business solutions
Timely Delivery of COE
Provide corporate ECM
Quality delivery of COE
Provide Cost effective COE
Broker partnership with
owners of ECM technologies outside the control of the COE
Interlink with Corporate
Learning and Growth Perspective
achieve my COE Vision, how must my organization learn and improve?
perspective question is addressed with the following objectives:
ECM trends, services, and products
Provide for the expansion of
ECM proficiency within COE
Promote ECM Technology
awareness for the Enterprise
Promote the awareness of the
COE strategy and measurement throughout the COE
we have looked at a COE vision, goals, and strategy objectives of a mature COE
organization. So what do you do with all this information? In future blog
posting my intent is to drill down into each of the objectives in the context
of the example organization to show you how each of these objectives had a
cause and effect relationship with the goals described. I will talk about what
measurements and targets were put in place to ensure the objectives are being
met. My intent is to show you the value of taking a measurement based approach
when establishing an ECM COE.
Where do I start in building an ECM COE?
this high-level information is a good starting point if I am an established ECM
COE. What about building a COE organization? In the next blog I would like to
address that thought through a 5 building block approach.
Develop an Staff Plan to
deliver and maintain the COE Services
Identify and develop key
Identify key success
this building block approach I will link it back to the perspective strategy
objectives outlined above to drive home the point of the importance of
developing the COE strategy and measurement as you build the organization.
today blog we have talked about the importance of an ECM COE organization model
in a successful ECM Shared Services journey. Now with that said many companies
believe that having an ECM COE in place will guarantee ECM program success and
enable ECM business value. That logic can be flawed. Establishing the ECM COE
is just the first step but the real key to success is the measurement of
results and the continual improvement of processes and methodologies to drive
the result needed to meet your objectives and vision. The approach outlined in
this blog and future posting are based on measuring the ECM COE organization to
show success and areas of improvement.
feedback is greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you find this
information helpful or have questions.
Hi. My name is Ian Story. I'm an IBM customer, advocate, user group president, and in my spare time, I also work for a Fortune 100 financial institution (and prior to that a Fortune 100 manufacturing company). In both my current and previous job, I manage(d) teams of folks that do(did) enterprise content management (ECM), here in Seattle, WA. I'll be posting from time to time on the blog here at the IBM ECM Community, as I've been involved with IBM, and before that FileNet, ECM for nearly 12 years. That surely doesn't mean that I know everything, or even anything, when it comes down to it, but frankly, that's part of the reason I'm excited about this community - the opportunity to learn from each other. But enough about me (if you really care, you can see more on my profile, here at this "easy to remember" url)...
One of the things that I've always heard from my peers, at user group meetings, etc. is that we need to have a forum where the community can work together - whether it's to ask questions of each other, share best practices, influence product direction, or just generally network and get to know each other. For a long time, people have gravitated toward other grass roots communities to do this, whether filesite.org or IT Toolbox (both of which you can find linked from this community in our bookmarks section), as there hasn't been a place to have these types of discussions at IBM. Sure, there used to be some IBM/FileNet mailing lists, but those seem to have died out over time, and it's nearly impossible to find them, more on that in a future post perhaps. Well, now there is a place for these discussions, and you've already found it, since you're reading this!
Now that we've got this great shell setup, with places to share bookmarks, forums to post questions and have discussions, a place to setup your profile/join as a member and connect with others, RSS feeds, etc. - the key thing is that we need participation from people just like you in the community. Your "todo" if you want this to become a valuable resource is to join the community, go out and post some of your favorite bookmarks, post a question or two in the forums, etc. Don't be bashful, I'm sure that you have something you'd like to know about ECM, a problem that is bugging you, or a useful tip to share!
Get out there, add the ECM Community as a favorite in your browser, setup your profile, post some content, and go for it! I would love for my next blog post to be about all the great threads we've got going and casting light on some questions people have asked that are impossible to answer (we'll then get some IBM folks on here to answer them if need be!)...
That's it for now, until next time - when in doubt, reboot :).