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Content is King: Tips and tricks for electronic content management

Overcome the obstacles to create a solid SharePoint ECM strategy that contributes to business growth. B

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: SharePoint Insider: Tips and tricks for electronic content management:

Increasingly, easy access to critical documents, e-mail and records is absolutely vital to business growth. In a world where all information appears to be at our fingertips, companies are beginning to require their employees to have access to a range of enterprise content.

This means that IT shops not only manage all types of content but also deliver it in a personalized way. When you implement an electronic content management (ECM) vision and strategy, here are some tips to bear in mind to make it effective:

1) Align content strategy to business strategy: ECM benefits can be difficult to quantify, but they are critical to understanding long-term business survival and strategy. What is the value of a report or metric that provides important insight to initiate a strategic decision? It depends.

How can you measure the ability to deliver the right information at the right time for the many decisions made as a result of ECM and the resulting bottom-line profits? There are tactics you can use to get a pulse on success. More often than not the value of ECM can be best understood by imagining the risks of doing business without it.

2) Define success: Establish before and after metrics for what a successful implementation looks like. Perform a baseline analysis and quantify results when possible. How does faster access to information help your company? Respond to customers with better information? Respond in a more timely fashion? Does it drive revenue for you?

3) Establish effective policies and procedures up front: Regulatory compliance cannot be met with technology alone. It requires effective policies and procedures to ensure compliance. It is a recommended best practice to establish and communicate clear policies and procedures for governance of content management systems. These may include:

  • Systems operating procedures
  • Security and access procedures
  • Operational procedures
  • Disaster recovery procedures

4) Train users: In order to increase adoption, be sure to train employees—and not only on how to use the tools and access data but also on the tangible benefits of SharePoint. A platform like SharePoint presents easy-to-use information directly to people where they work, collaborate and make decisions. The tools can shift the way that people work—for the better—but the culture change that occurs can be cumbersome if you do not train employees properly beforehand.

5) Design intuitively: The more intuitive the user interface is, the easier it is to use. And the better your user interface, the more your users will like using it. That will increase their satisfaction with the work that you have done. The more your employees feel that they can control their environment, and that the things they do are actually working, the happier they are.

6) Assemble the project team and choose the right adviser: Off-the shelf solutions do not exist—for all practical purposes—and having a trusted adviser is a valuable resource. Choose a professional services vendor who can bring a broader view and show the overall architecture necessary for total employee empowerment. That’s what it’s really all about.

7) Obtain stakeholder support: Make the new way of accessing information worthwhile for all levels of users. Reward the team for adoption, and measure the outcome. In addition, having management buy-in is key to corporate culture change. Simple managerial acknowledgement goes a long way toward rewarding the collaborative effort. Management needs to care. It needs to want to participate in the portal. A sound ECM strategy is becoming necessary in corporations around the world. Integrated platforms such as SharePoint provide information workers with secure access to data as well as information integration so that companies can have a single point of access throughout the enterprise and beyond.


About the Author

Paul West is a co-owner and co-founder of SharePoint360 LLC, a SharePoint consulting and hosting provider. West has extensive experience with SharePoint architecture and implementations. He has been working with SharePoint technologies since the Microsoft SharePoint release in 2001.

This was last published in February 2010

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