ECM 2.0 using the Emergent Approach


Read an interesting post over at infovark. They say that the quickest way to achieve Enterprise 2.0 is to use an Emergent Approach. Essentially the idea is to make the technology accessible and less restrictive. This leads to viral acceptance pattern.

Viral Acceptance

I have seen this occur in the Enterprise with three different applications over my career. The first was Lotus Notes. After IBM acquired Lotus, they threw in Lotus Notes licenses in a lot of deals. Another that has followed a similar viral spread is SharePoint. As previously pointed out, this can lead to a big problem for an organization.

Andrew Chapman shares Microsoft’s response to this dilemma in a recent post. In short, Not our fault. They are absolutely correct. Microsoft provides the tools for an structured deployment, and even recommends that approach. If people don’t listen, they can’t be blamed, can they?

Do you want to make money? Find a way to centrally manage all the disparate SharePoint sites effectively before Microsoft does.

The third viral application? eRoom, yet another collaboration tool. Why did it never spread as far as SharePoint and Lotus Notes? Simple. eRoom has never been given away quite like those two.

CM or ECM?

James McGovern mentions that he has never seen ECM deployed in a complete Enterprise deployment, basically calling his experience more with Content Management, not ECM. I am not surprised. There are very few large organizations that have done a full deployment. infovark describes the phenomenon quite well in the aforementioned post. I have dealt with the difficulties on several projects.

While there are some best practices to help reach the complete level needed for an Enterprise deployment, there are precious few Enterprises that have the patience, vision, and leadership to get there. It is definitely a process. infovark has a different approach, the Emergent Approach.

The Making of ECM 2.0

So, lets see. We want to make ECM viral to accelerate acceptance. I think that the approach needs to be tempered a bit. To enable ECM in the 2.0 world, we need to make it accessible and less restrictive. That doesn’t mean completely unfettered access. However, a delicate balance needs to be reached. Users need to be able to access the systems easily, setup new workspaces at will, and be able to control the areas that they create.

Meanwhile, IT needs to manage resources. Legal needs to be able to manage records. Management needs to be able to enforce policies. How do we balance all of this? Maybe we don’t.

Maybe we just need to make ECM more transparent to the organization. If it underlies all of our systems, then users can use all of these viral applications while IT, Legal, and Management can make sure that the content is properly controlled.

I know I have probably hacked the definition of Enterprise 2.0 to death here. However, from what I can tell, it isn’t a single definition, but a new mindset. Of course, if you back-trace things in the world of corporate IT, I’m sure we are well beyond 2.0. God, I love marketing.