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How to deliver ECM initiatives if the Cart is before the Horse? February 18, 2016

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Electronic Records Management, Enterprise Content Management.
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BSI standard PAS 89:2012 (Enterprise content management – Code of practice) defines the process of embarking on an ECM initiative as below.

bsi-ecminitiatives

Naturally, this cyclical process makes sense, much like deciding the dish, identifying the recipe, sourcing the ingredients and then preparing the dish.

However, over more than a decade of working with ECM initiatives across UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman (effectively the GCC minus Saudi Arabia), the de facto ECM initiative process more or less follows as below.

gcc-ecminitiative

Now this becomes an interesting case of almost buying the ingredients, deciding the dish, creating the recipe and then preparing the dish. While this may enable you to definitely end up having a dish, it may not be the right one as you can only have a dish as per the ingredients and not the one you wish to have.

In the case of an ECM initiative, this leads to a misalignment between the requirements and the technologies, leading to either an expensive initiative or a failed one.

None of the above is unknown, plenty of material has been written on how to roll out an ECM initiative. This article aims to guide organizations that may have adopted the above approach to achieve better outcomes, i.e., if the cart is before the horse, train the horse to push!

Iterate Deliverables

Do not even attempt to eat the elephant in one bite. By eating one bite at a time, the organization is able to gauge the effectives of the current implementation, manage adoption and change and gain a better understanding of ECM practices and technologies.

 Avoid Customization

While ECM technologies do provide a platform to customize, it is best to avoid customization. Custom requests always tend to end up in a perennial loop as different stakeholders tend to want the same function in different ways. If business objectives can be met without customization, completely avoid it. Most ECM technologies are configurable to meet your objectives.

Manage Change

Since one has had to cut corners and make the best use of the bird in hand and not the two in the bush, it is imperative that change is bound to occur. Prior to engaging in disparate and individual changes, this could be the opportunity to revisit your change management by adopting the BSI recommended process. Where prevention hasn’t taken place, one surely needs to cure.

Leverage Human Capability

If my mother can learn to use mobile phones starting from Nokia to Blackberry to Android, your users can learn to use the solution the way it has been configured with the available technologies. I’ve seen my dad shift from doing his accounting on books to doing it on Lotus 123 spreadsheets. Having realized that his job and career are at stake if he didn’t learn the new technology, he put in extra effort to learn it. It also helps you to identify your resources who are ready to adapt and progress. As long as business objectives are met and business rules are followed, people can be taught to learn new systems and most users shall end up learning it, sooner than later.

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Why I drifted away and then got pulled back to AIIM? February 7, 2012

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management, Capture, Electronic Records Management, Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Content Management.
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While the credit to my foray into unstructured information management; namely DMS and ERM must go to my erstwhile mentor, Mr. P Vidyasagar, I would credit my knowledge mostly to AIIM. Ever since I stepped into the world of AIIM, my knowledge in the world of ECM, ERM and BPM have only been on the increase.

However, pretty soon, after the initial thirst, I realized AIIM was more technology-oriented. With me being more into Information MANAGEMENT than information management SYSTEMS, I found myself drifting away from AIIM. If it wasn’t for my continued interactions with Bryant, I may have even left AIIM.

Then suddenly, AIIM announces a survey for a new information management certification and before I could say Rip Van Winkle, they launched the Certified Information Professional program. One glance at it and I was at once, both excited and nervous. This is what I wanted to be, yet, this is where I was not. A mirror that left me glad for reflecting my aspirations while honestly letting me know there was some journey to go.

However, the real importance of this renewed AIIM struck me when I came across Cheryl McKinnon’s blog post, “New Challenges for 2012: Putting People First” and I saw this picture:

And my expectations from AIIM were all satisfied in one look. From the early days, I have tried to stay technology and vendor agnostic right through my career. The flip side of this is that I don’t understand codes any more. I don’t pay attention to Application Servers, Content Servers, Web Servers, etc. SDLC or Scrum doesn’t matter to me. But, when you want to plan, search, capture, store, process, dispose information, my antennae go up.

I am your quintessential information manager, I repeat.

I am not your information management technologist, I emphasize.

So, what I want to offer my customers is this in their information management, exactly what they want:

And what does the AIIM CIP cover:

Yes, there are gaps I need to fill and yes; information management is not a one-man show. However, for now I am confident AIIM and its CIP is a path that can take me where I want to go.

In UAE, We Love Our Paperwork! January 31, 2012

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Capture, Electronic Records Management, Enterprise Content Management.
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I am someone who rarely bookmarks web pages. However, in September 2011, I could not resist but bookmark a very interesting article. And when it’s titled, “UAE paper use among highest in the world”, how could an aspiring Information Management professional resist.

In football, UAE would have been proud to be on the same status as Italy or Spain. At 200 kg per capita annual consumption of paper, this is not a statistic we should be proud of sharing with them. The significant factor here, though, is that UAE’s consumption is increasing at an average of 5-6% while those of North America and Europe are reducing at 1.8%. We may soon find the world following our paper trails.

The intention of Go Green is very much evident in the visions of the leadership of this country and is reflected in this historical resolution by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and the launch of the ambitious Masdar City by under the leadership of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Yet, when it comes to implementations, most organizations have taken a backward step with layoffs and budget cuts in their ECM programs citing recession as the reason.  Businesses are still to realize that paper-related costs are not limited to your A4 bundles but also in storage, safety and logistics and it’s a case of being Penny Wise and Pound Foolish.

As an AIIM Ambassador and its Professional Member since 2009, I am extremely disappointed with myself that UAE’s paper consumption is on the rise, especially since document management technologies have been around for around 2 decades. One look at the comments section of this article highlights that the general public is in a cure mode of recycling rather than the prevention mode of adopting DMS or ECM systems.

It is time for the ECM community in the UAE to come together to promote the business and social advantages. Then again, with direct vendor presence from leading players in the domain like IBM, OpenText, EMC, HP (Autonomy) et al, why do I not find enough education or awareness campaigns in the market?

Perhaps, and this is my speculation, is that this is because the UAE is more represented by License-pushers and pure technocrats. The management of content from a business perspective is a gap found wanting in this market.  We need more Enterprise Content Managers and less ECM license salesmen.

Until then, UAE will continue to love its “paper” work.

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