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ECM Strategy Step #2: Envisioning Your Future Needs

Previously, we talked about the first step in creating a new ECM strategy – assessing your current state. Now it’s time to look ahead. Not just to next year, but to three or five years down the road.

Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be 30 billion devices and over 7 billion people and businesses, all communicating and negotiating with each other. That means an enormous amount of information will be flowing into and out of your company. It also means managing that information – curating it, making sense of it and disseminating it – will become more daunting than ever.

Today we’ll document your future vision, the next step in developing a winning ECM strategy that will handle that load.

Why document the future state?

It’s tempting to take the current state document, fill the holes and call it done. But a future state isn’t just a “fixed” version of what you have now.

Your company’s strategies, business processes and more have changed since you put that solution in place. So just repairing the current solution is like pumping air into a tire with a big hole in it.

We now have a good handle on what the current solution does and how well it does (or doesn’t) work today. Now we need to look at the capabilities, people-processes and technology that will let us adapt to change today and tomorrow.

So before we’re tempted to start writing up technical requirements, let’s define what the new ECM strategy needs to accomplish.

What needs to be envisioned?

No matter what else we want to accomplish, the new strategy has to address the business’s overall goals going forward. So again, let’s review those use cases we identified, this time looking three to five years ahead. Will your ECM:

  • Curate/disseminate information as a competitive differentiator?
  • Better manage information assets and improve operational efficiencies?
  • Harden infrastructure and ensure regulatory compliance?
  • Foster innovation in products and service delivery?

For each use case that applies, here are the kinds of questions we need to answer.

  1. Empowering the Digital Workplace
    • Have you prioritized how you will streamline antiquated processes with the new solution (e.g., digitize paper)?
    • Will you allow departments to personalize the new solution for their specific needs? How – by self-service or IT request? What business processes and change control are needed to allow this?
    • What improved insights into your information do you hope to gain? Why?
    • What business processes or digital journeys can be changed immediately?
    • For all these, how do you plan to train your users?
  1. Governing in the Midst of Change
    • How will the future state affect your organization’s structure and function?
    • How and who will govern curation and dissemination of your information assets?
    • Are you planning to restructure your governance policies? What about deployment topologies to support the information life cycle?
  1. Your Future Information Ecosystem is Changing
    • What information do you want to share beyond your “firewall”? And with whom – customers, employees, partners, vendors, auditors?
    • Will you avail yourself of flexibility and savings with cloud infrastructure? If so, how will it impact the architecture of the future?
    • Which ECM systems will remain in your future state? Which systems will be decommissioned?
    • When do you anticipate rationalizing your storage media? How can the future state help address this?

Is your future state the final blueprint?

Recall when we documented the current state, we noted the manual “gaps” in existing processes and technology. In our future vision, we can plug those holes, but you are doing your organization a disservice if this is your only objective. Planning for a next generation information ecosystem capable of achieving your future initiatives and strategies requires a comprehensive plan for change to ensure that the effort does not wear out your users or disrupt your business.

The future state documents the capabilities you’d like to have and how they will address:

  • Finding new value in your information assets despite the increases in volume, velocity and variety of information.
  • Enabling new digital business journeys and processes that can help everything run smoothly.
  • New user experiences that can meet the demands of highly consumerized users.
  • Multi-organizational ecosystems that allow you to abstract and integrate with entities beyond the systems that are in your control.
  • A technology platform that can transform your organization’s information landscape to align with your future strategies.

Eventually, we’ll create the actual blueprint for change, but that’s jumping ahead. Next week, we’ll tackle Step 3, the gap analysis between your current state and your future vision.

To learn more about aligning your ECM strategy with your business’s goals, download our whitepaper below.  

ECM Strategy Paper


By |2017-11-15T21:24:51-05:00February 11th, 2016|Enterprise Content Management|0 Comments

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