Yesterday, Joe Shepley wrote an incredible post on the simple fact that No One Cares about Compliance. While an overstatement, it is true. When it comes time to invest the money, organizations don’t care.
Sure, everyone sees the need, but they don’t do it. It is too hard, too expensive, and prone to failure. There are too many project with a better promise of success. If those things weren’t true, everyone would be compliant and conferences like ARMA would be celebrations of success, not spent drowning sorrows in beer.
Yesterday, Joe shared some realities from his time in the field. I’m going to do the same.
Reality in the Field
Most of my compliance projects have been for the U.S. Federal Government. Directives come out of the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA) all the time dictating that agencies create Records Management programs. Do you know how many successful electronic Records Management projects I have seen fully deployed?
I know that there are some isolated incidents of success, but that is far from the norm. What typically happens is that they try Records Management in phase 1 and the project fails OR they decide to do it in phase 2, which is cancelled.
I once worked on a Records Management project for an international consulting firm. It was a Documentum project. We got it setup on AIX, synced all the users, worked out all the performance tricks to make sure that content could readily be accessible worldwide. Then it stopped, and failed. Why?
Because the head of Records for the organizations spent a ton of money creating a complex Records Plan that was too complex for users. The project tanked and a new person was brought in to head the project.
It is too hard to do Records Management “right”. Heck, it is almost too hard these days to do it at all.
Candy AND Aspirin
Cheryl McKinnon is, at times, brilliant. She wrote a post several years ago discussing the need for features that people want versus features that organizations need. Termed Candy and Aspirin, it essentially states that systems sold as Aspirin don’t appeal to people. People want Candy and don’t seem to get motivated to buy Aspirin unless the pain is unbearable.
Even then, imagine if you had to give shots to three parts of your body to fix a headache. You’d decide to suffer through a lot more headaches, wouldn’t you?
When I have to give my dog medicine, he rejects it. If I cover it in peanut butter, I have to watch my fingers. The medicine is not only invisible, it takes no additional effort to consume.
To solve the compliance problem, which isn’t going away, we need to cover our medicine with candy. A nice chocolate coating perhaps. Good features with necessary medicine built into the foundation, invisible to the end user.
Start at 30%
What do we do? How do we not only make normal Content Management projects successful, but the ones with Compliance concerns? How do we go from 0% of our requirements deployed to 30% to 80%? When can we be sure enough about success on phase 1 that we not only get approval readily but are confident that sentencing compliance to phase 2 isn’t a death sentence?
We start with the Candy. We make it easier. Sure, everyone WANTS collaboration but too many organizations don’t make collaboration easy.
So let’s make Collaboration easy. Then, we add the compliance behind the scenes, not in front. We make it easy, cheap, and a natural addition to the services.
Then maybe people will care.