Owning Your Enterprise Content Management Solution
Are you either considering, or have recently deployed, an Enterprise Content Management solution? Here’s something to think about beyond the software, hardware and professional services…who will own your system after it is up and running? Most document management solutions provide the functionality to transform areas in your organization that presently require repetitive manual labor. Fully taking advantage of these systems requires both knowledge and skill. You can rely on an outside source for doing this, but that can become expensive. Ultimately, you can maintain a fuller and more personalized control of a system if you designate an employee to become your ECM guru.
What type of person is right for this position?
Well, that depends on your ECM solution. Assuming it is designed to allow code free, point and click configuration, what you need is a logical, process driven person. Someone who can help document your current processes and assist in designing new, more streamline and efficient ones. Beyond the design and documentation tasks they then need to be able to turn your vision into reality. This requires having a deep understanding of the ECM solution, understanding its capabilities and how to design and configure it.
Where to get that knowledge.
Many manufacturers and solution resellers provide in-depth training for system administrators. If the manufacturer offers classes at their offices, consider making the investment to attend. Not only will you receive instruction directly from the source, but you will also most likely get to meet some of the people who designed the systems and wrote the code behind it. In addition, you will meet other system administrators, such as yourself, whom you can share experiences with. Making contacts such as these are invaluable.
Join a community.
Most manufacturers now have user communities that you can join. This provides an environment where users can share ideas, collaborate on solutions and learn from one another. Participating in forums allows you to share your thoughts and issues, and receive suggestions from your peers who may have experienced the same or similar problems.
Leave the really hard stuff to the professionals.
Don’t expect your system administrator to be able to do everything. For the tough tasks such as HTML forms, PowerShell scripting, custom widgets and reports rely on an outside expert. This is what they do for a living and can complete a complex task in a fraction of the time that your system administrator can. Most likely, they will also add functionality that you would not have thought of based off of their industry knowledge.
Also, don’t underestimate the importance of a consultant. Bring in a system expert can help open your eyes to the vast potential of your system. This investment can pay huge dividends down the line. Work to create a series of projects and workflows throughout your organization. This will provide a long-term, strategic direction for the company and provide a road map for your administrator.
Empower your system administrator.
Once you have taken all of the steps above, provide your administrator with the power to make things happen. By facilitating an environment of progressive change, your system administrator will feel emboldened on moving forward and assisting others, solving their problems and improving efficiencies.
Install a test system.
Finally, you will want to invest in a test system. As you continue to expand your ECM solution throughout the organization, you will begin to realize the importance that it brings to your business. Over time, most ECM users have recognized that the system has evolved from a single focused application, to a mission critical solution. It is important to treat it as such. The use of a test system allows your administrator to work through initial versions of a design and refine it before deploying.
Curious about how an ECM can impact your business? What are your experiences as a system administrator, or assisting your system administrator? Let us know in the comments!