While he’s the first to admit that he doesn’t do business “by the book,” many would say this is exactly why Richard Branson is one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’ve recently read, “Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way” and I also follow Branson’s blog, and a consistent theme throughout his writings is a unique outlook on business and its integration with the greater public good. What I find so fascinating about him is his drive to innovate and his quest to build the next level and next generation of a variety of products and services.
While some of his ideas seemed to be based on those inspirational posters you see hanging in conference rooms—others are quite practical. It occurred to me that some of his advice is quite applicable to implementing or growing information management within organizations. For this blog post, I’ll be using some of Branson’s advice to help illustrate how you can take your ECM deployment to the next level.
Approach your enterprise content management holistically
Anyone who follows this blog knows that we write about the integration of people, process and technology. When Branson writes about his holistic approach to business, he’s drawing on the theory of Gaia Capitalism which is the integration of people, finance and new markets—all for what he proposes is for the greater good.
The lesson we learn here is interdependencies matter. Using the integration of people, processes and technology as a framework for enterprise content management works because holistically you need all three aligned for successful ECM deployments—hence the greater good of both information management and the organization. This holistic methodology should also be applied to the management of your structured and unstructured content. It shouldn’t matter where it resides—it should be integrated, accessible and viewable as a whole.
Challenge the status quo
Branson encourages us to, “Challenge the accepted wisdom and encourage your staff to do the same. Look at things from the point of view of the customer.” In retail banking, one of the biggest client complaints is long lines for teller access. When he developed Virgin Money, Branson built branches to look more like living rooms than banks. There are tables with newspapers, comfortable seating and Wi-Fi. By changing (and challenging) the traditional branch environment, the long lines—or the perception of lines—disappeared.
So how do you change the status quo for information management? From a 30,000 foot level—I think that change starts with the way organizations approach information management, which means articulating an ethos. I suggest that this ethos should be, “what else?” You’ve invested in ECM and you’ve digitized most of your paper—what else can you do you to make internal staff, partner, suppliers and clients happy? Can you automate your accounts payable (AP) process so that your time-to-process goes down and you have greater visibility into cash flow? Can you implement mobile information access so that offsite employees have access to information and participate in workflows? Can you integrate your ECM solution with your CRM system so that sales can have a holistic view of all client information?
Information management is never “done”—there are always efficiencies to be gained, standards to be upheld and analysis to be conducted. Here at M-Files, we challenged the status quo of old-fashioned ECM, so I’m throwing down the gauntlet. I’m daring you to move those ECM fence posts and challenge the status quo!