6 Enterprise Content Management Best Practices for Deployment
Although deploying enterprise content management is a big undertaking, companies can follow best practices to avoid common pitfalls.
A well-thought-out enterprise content management (ECM) system can increase an organization’s efficiency by optimizing workflows, making documents easier to find, and more. Before deployment, content managers should consider key elements of their organization, such as its long-term goals, content lifecycles, and specific security, compliance, and user needs. Whether an organization is deploying its first ECM system as part of a digital transformation initiative or migrating from an existing system to another, the following best practices can enable successful deployments.
1. Start with a content strategy
An ECM deployment should start with a plan. Content managers should consider their organization’s long-term goals when determining which ECM features, such as AI and machine learning algorithms, to include in the plan.
Organizations can combine these plans with digital transformation initiatives, which can benefit businesses that want to digitize documents. Digitization can transform paper documents into electronic documents. Digital documents are easy to find, use and process compared to physical paper. For example, the project could aim to implement a system that can scan paper records and use AI with optical character recognition to collect data on customer contacts or contract expiration dates. The system can then make this data searchable or initiate a customer engagement or renewal process.
Ultimately, a content strategy depends on an organization’s specific needs and vision. Content managers without a strategy could be wasting time and money on systems that don’t benefit their organizations.
2. Consider the content lifecycle
A content lifecycle is a multi-step process that business documents go through from creation to retirement. Content managers should examine the workflows and processes within their organization’s content lifecycle to decide how an ECM system could optimize them.
Key content lifecycle questions to consider include:
- Do documents have to go through creation or approval workflows?
- Do the documents require digital signatures?
- Should external applications process content before migration? If yes, for what reason?
- Do business rules automatically remove content from the system to reduce clutter and redundant, stale, or trivial data?
An ECM system can provide all of these features and more. The above questions help organizations find a system suitable for a specific content lifecycle that can optimize document workflows and save employees time. Content managers should define the content lifecycle, system integrations, and workflows before choosing a system.
3. Build security in from the start
Organizations manage documents containing sensitive information from employees and customers, so they need ECM systems with built-in security measures to prevent cybersecurity attacks such as data breaches. When content managers design an ECM strategy, they need to consider which measures are most likely to protect their organization’s information.
Whether an organization stores content on-premises or in cloud environments, it can use tunables to improve content security. For example, security features can limit who can access content by document or content type, keeping sensitive information in fewer hands. Additionally, systems can encrypt data in motion and at rest.
Content managers need to build security in from the start. However, they must balance security measures so that they can protect information without hampering usability.
4. Focus on user experience
Additionally, organizations should tune performance during development and early deployment to ensure that users can quickly find relevant content in the system. An ECM system’s search engine should retrieve the information employees need without frustration. While full-text search improves the findability of content, tweaking with metadata, synonyms, and predictive analysis can optimize the search process and its results.
5. Build in compliance
An organization’s specific compliance needs vary by industry and location, but all ECM systems must follow compliance guidelines.
Some organizations may need to comply with government standards and regulations such as ISO-9001, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, or GDPR. All organizations must comply with eDiscovery and litigation retention requirements.
If an organization needs to provide documents in response to a subpoena or other court order, it must ensure that users and automated data-purge processes cannot delete those files. Other information that organizations may need in this scenario includes content metadata, user access and editing audit trails, and possibly multiple versions of document changes.
Before deploying ECM, content managers should speak with their organization’s legal and records management teams, as well as any other compliance professionals, to find out what compliance requirements the system must meet. respect.
6. Consult the developers
ECM deployments are complex projects that serve multiple business teams. Companies should therefore involve developers when planning the deployment. Often developers use Agile methodologies to release features in small increments. This approach can limit the risk of rework for ECM deployments, as each iteration and sprint allows developers to make changes and learn from user experiences and feedback.
These best practices can help content managers deploy a system that meets their organization’s specific workflow, user, security, and compliance needs. Deployments of ECM systems without a plan can require costly rework or significant, unplanned changes.