Forrester Research offers much wisdom when it comes to the successful deployment of enterprise content management (ECM) systems, in particular, the project management of ECM implementations. In their report, “Programs, Not Projects: Iterative ECM Deployments Drive Higher Satisfaction Levels,” Forrester offers project management strategies that ensure high ECM user adoption.
Here at M-Files, we’ve surveyed our clients about their experience with our enterprise content management solution and they’ve reported a 98% customer satisfaction rate. Since we’re striving to bridge the gap for the last two percent, I thought it would be interesting to share and elaborate on three recommendations from Forrester’s report regarding the deployment of ECM systems with high user adoption and satisfaction.
- Have a business case. Forrester asserts, “Satisfaction rises when success metrics shift from technology-to-business driven.” We find that users—who usually feel the pain from not having ECM in the first place—are often ignored when enterprise IT drives the implementation. It then follows that these users who are ignored in the process of ECM deployment are unlikely to adopt the system. Forrester notes that tackling deployments with an iterative approach, and importantly, partnering with business sponsors, fosters user adoption. I would venture that the majority of M-Files clients purchase the solution because they have a specific business “pain”—such as a paper-laden process or the inability to locate documents from a client site. Our high user adoption rates stem from the fact that we’ve been able to solve these very tangible business problems.
- Make governance clear and inclusive. Typically, an ECM governance plan provides a framework to define roles, responsibilities, procedures and processes for users who work with the ECM system. Forrester warns that “lack of coordinated governance” was among the top challenges facing ECM programs. I suspect that what this challenge reveals is that the surveyed organizations didn’t appoint a cross functional steering committee with members of both IT and the business units. I’ll wager that IT built a system “for” the user without “including” the user. Forrester mentions an organization with an unsuccessful deployment who realized they went wrong by, “taking an academic approach to deployment with little user engagement.” The good news is that the firm is now rethinking their ECM governance to focus on adoption and better alignment with the business.
- Client-Focused Deployment. Agile software deployment is a set of methods and tools in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaborations between cross functional teams. In a nutshell, Agile promotes adaptive, client deployments because iterations of product deployments are shown to the client. The beauty is that the user isn’t forced to use an ECM implementation in which they have no say. The user becomes part of the requirements development process and participates in the review process. Forrester quotes a survey respondent who acknowledges, “In the shift from waterfall to Agile, the ECM project teammates place themselves in the shoes of the end user, which helps them rethink their adoption challenges.” Agile is growing in popularity, Forrester cites that 65% of survey respondents have begun to use some aspect of agile approaches. Moreover, Agile brings a user-centric perspective to ECM deployment that will increase user adoption and ensure system success.
If you are interested in learning more strategies to increase M-Files adoption, check out my blog post: “The ECM Tipping Point: Increasing User Adoption.”
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