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26 Tips for Client Success in Content Management

4 Jan, 2011 By: Laurel B. Sanders, Optical Image Technology imageSource

26 Tips for Client Success in Content Management

The constant advancement of content management technologies coupled with ongoing innovation and new tools to solve specialized problems makes it challenging to keep up with change – and figure out what your clients’ best need.  From enterprise content management (ECM) to electronic document management (EDM), business process management (BPM), business intelligence (BI), EDRM (electronic document & records management), records and information management (RIM) and more, technology increasingly resembles “acronym alphabet soup.” As last month’s issue described industry acronyms in depth, let’s now do some alphabetical step work, whereby advising your clients of 26 standard steps can help ensure their business success.

Whether your clients are scanning files for historical reference, providing document access via a customer portal, or automating routine processes, by teaching them useful steps meant to strengthen their business, you simultaneously will create the same result within your customer relationship with them!  From A to Z, count the ways:

A to Z Step Work
Align business and IT goals. Some of the greatest project failures result from a mismatch. IT’s role is to support business objectives but often resources are stretched. Educate each other. Negotiate.

BUDGET carefully. Software and hardware alone don’t represent Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Customizations, disaster recovery planning, training & testing carry costs. Plan accordingly.

Collaborate with department managers. Keep enterprise goals in mind, even with a departmental project. Think globally, otherwise projects will have to be reworked later, which is costly.

Document business processes carefully. Diagram the steps in each process. Know where processes and documents intersect. Look for duplication that can be streamlined or eliminated.

Evaluate project goals against the company’s 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year vision. Know where the company & various departments want to be in the future. Does the project support those goals?

Fight to do things right the first time. It’s better to take on a smaller project and do it well than fail to meet end goals. Pick a painful process first or one where automation will produce substantial ROI.

Gauge employee readiness for change. Resistance can lead to sabotage. Don’t keep employees in the dark about project goals. Show employees how the company will help them to succeed.

HIRE outside services when additional time, skills or resources are needed. If there are too many slowdowns, hiccups or delays, your project will miss deadlines; won’t be taken seriously and may risk irrelevancy.

Involve the staff. Understanding, improving, and automating processes requires knowing every aspect of the business. Getting to the bottom of how things really work requires everyone’s help.

Judge no one. No company can embrace every scheme for improvement, however management needs creative ideas. If ideas are squashed it may silence the voices the company needs to reach stated goals. Be a good listener.

Keep nothing that isn’t essential. If there isn’t a regulation requiring a document to be kept, and it isn’t important for legal, historical, or business reference, get rid of it.

Learn from peers & colleagues. Check with others who have implemented similar solutions. What advice do they give from experience? What would they do differently?

Maximize efficiency wherever possible. Is similar information collected for multiple departments? Are more people involved in a process than necessary? Can forms or steps be condensed or eliminated?

Notify the provider immediately  when expectations aren’t being met. Most problems result from miscommunication, not poor technology.  Address problems while they’re small. Don’t let them fester.

Orchestrate efficiency with smart integration. To recycle meaningful information wherever it has value, information technologies must be connected. Maximize the use of stored information.

Prepare staff for change. Make sure there is a training plan / program in place.  Communicate early with employees to allay concerns. Remember, the company’s success depends on employees’ success.

Question how things are done and make improvements. Just because something has been done a certain way for years doesn’t mean it’s still relevant. Automating poor processes makes them faster –but not necessarily better.

Review goals regularly and make adjustments. Even though it’s important to stick to the stated vision, sometimes things are discovered mid-way that demand rethinking. Schedule periodic reviews.

Start small (but think big). Even though technology projects should be designed with enterprise goals in mind, focus on small successes and build on them. Set realistic, achievable goals. Employees will value that.

TEST test, test. Whether employees are scanning documents, automating routine processes, or mechanizing a retention program, make sure it works. Testing is relatively cheap. Fixing things later is costly.

Understand the needs of everyone on the team. Encourage ideas for ongoing improvements. Plan face time as a group so diverse needs and possible solutions can be discussed. Keep an open mind.

Verify what you think you understand. Restate goals along with next steps. Clarify who is responsible for what, on what timetable, and required resources. Put expectations and deliverables in writing.

WORK diligently toward stated goals. Internal demands can distract staff from project goals. Give staff the time and resources they need to stay focused. If company resources are too thin, speak to your vendor or other qualified help.

Xerox (or copy) no more when applicable. Capture digital information at the start of the information cycle–upon creation or receipt–not at the end of your processes, saving costs.

Yield to cost cutting with great caution. If you budget hardware, software, integration, upgrades, and staffing needs carefully–and put all expectations in writing–there shouldn’t be a need to cut.

ZERO in on success. Mark milestones. Frame the first shredded file. Hand out t-shirts when ROI is achieved. Show appreciation to encourage repeat performance. Celebrate!

Fight to do things right the first time.

Laurel B. Sanders is the Director of Public Relations & Communications at DocFinity Software by Optical Image Technology. At www.docfinity.com or 814-238-0038  X253.


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