You’ve got an idea of what your ECM strategy should be, and now it’s time to make the changes and implement a new program. Where do you start?

An ECM program shouldn’t be disruptive once it’s in place, but the implementation process can be a bit of a disturbance, particularly if your organization isn’t ready for the change. Before you get started on the project, take a step back and look at how you and your team plan to manage potential disruptions.

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Where can disruptions occur?

Introducing a new ECM program may be disruptive to your IT environment; you’ll likely see effects on hardware, software and your network. If you’re strategic about your ECM solution, though, these effects can be positive (i.e. reduction in storage footprint with repository consolidation and data compression, etc.). Positive or negative, though, there will be changes, so anticipate a transition period.

Equally (or arguably more) important to consider are disruptions to employee activities. A new ECM program may alter processes or introduce new workflows altogether, changing routines and interactions. Employees will likely need training on how to use a new application interface and may need to become familiar with new search procedures.

Has your team considered these changes?

What does effective change management look like?

Planning for potential disruptions can be the difference between the success and failure of your new ECM program. The best defense against a failed implementation is to create a comprehensive change management strategy that addresses effects on both IT environment and employee activities.

Is your company culture receptive to change? The answer to this might be “no” – and that’s OK. It’s a best practice (no matter how sure you are of your organization’s cultural readiness) to anticipate resistance, at least on some level. New applications and processes take time to adjust to, especially if an entire team needs to get on board.

An invaluable first step in a new implementation is to be upfront about why this change is taking place. Why are you introducing a new ECM program? What benefits will employees see? How will they be trained? Anticipate the questions employees will be asking and make sure you’re communicating the benefits of adopting a new technology and what training resources will be made available.

Successful user adoption should be a top concern – especially for ECM, which has many stakeholders in any organization. Content management solutions will have bearing on every employee in your organization to some degree, and it will undoubtedly have enormous importance to leadership. The goal of a new ECM ecosystem should be to increase operational efficiency in alignment with business goals, so ensuring proper execution and adoption is a must. Effective change management that aligns technology with people is going to be key to realizing a next-level ECM environment.