Check the most common challenges in Enterprise Content Management and find out where you can save costs and improve efficiency.
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The rapid growth in the amount of information being produced within companies and how it’s being managed is impacting directly on business efficiency, employee productivity, IT infrastructure complexity, and most importantly, turnover. Understanding where your company is today and getting a clear view on your internal processes and information structure is key to determine what are your problem areas and where you need to invest in the future. But confronting the skeletons in our own closet can be tricky.
This is why we compiled the six most common challenges in Enterprise Content Management so you can face your organization’s darker chapters and pinpoint what may be damaging your business communication, hampering collaboration or slowing down processes.
#1 – Decision making is daunting and based on incomplete information
Research shows that employees spend an average of 20% of their time looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues for help with specific tasks. What does this figure look like in your company?
Can you easily locate business-related documents and retrieve updated information? If you answered “No”, chances are business critical documents in your organization are dispersed across over folders, paper files, email accounts and even shadow IT systems, all of which are slowing down the collaboration and information flows.
Such a scattered framework makes a different set of facts available to different people. Combined with lack of communication between colleagues, this leads to decisions based on incomplete or wrong information. If not now, eventually it will reduce efficiency and productivity, suppress innovation and affect business turnover.
#2 – Poor customer service due to dispersed information
Today’s rising customer demands require supporting platforms that effectively coordinate knowledge, content and resources in a flexible way. The ultimate goal is for all employees to gain a 360 degree view of prospects and customers and deliver best-in-class experience.
Inefficiencies are often caused by dispersion of case information over CRM systems, paper files and email folders. With no digital end-to-end processes, problem solving is not formally managed, case progress is not transparent and it’s impossible to measure KPIs. All these get in the way of customer satisfaction and loyalty, damaging your business reputation.
#3 – Inefficient and non-compliant storage of data and documents
Increasing regulation and industry compliance policies are frequent motivators for companies to store documents electronically and automate their records retention schedules. Do you still maintain a paper-based storage system for long-term archiving? Are you able to meet audit requests or legal discovery requests in the event of litigation?
You either have no digital archiving system in place, or it’s not effectively supporting business and user requirements. Access to critical digital content, such as core business information or assets for industry specific regulation, is neither immediate nor secure, and you cannot provide clear information on the trail of who requested, accessed, and viewed which information at what time, and under which specific conditions.
#4 – Manual processing of incoming communication
Decisions are made based on information that is available at any given time, but too often, that information can be sitting in someone’s inbox, or in paper mail waiting to be opened, photocopied or physically distributed.
You have a considerable influx of paper documents which are an important part of your (digital) processes, but no way to automatically digitize all incoming information streams (paper mail, email, fax, etc.) and assign them to each process. You try to establish end-to-end digital processes but there’s still a dramatic amount on manual digitization and classification of structured documents, e.g. invoices or reports. These manual tasks are error-prone, slow people down and waste valuable time that they could allocate to more imperative jobs.
#5 – No access to meeting insights and decisions
Board and staff meetings often result in decisions that affect multiple departments and operations. Both attendees and other colleagues may need to review meeting minutes in order to verify that a planned action is in accordance with a decision, or to gain insight into the historical development of a specific issue.
Are you able to easily access meeting-related documents, such as files about a particular topic or materials that mention a specific person or position? Or are they mainly stored in the attendees’ email boxes?
If meeting documents require people to print agendas and addendums or you need IT involvement to provide colleagues’ exceptional access, you’re just increasing the effort for everyone involved and not optimizing the real valuable outputs of the discussions. Preparing, managing and storing meeting documentation is as overwhelming and time-consuming as searching for information from past meetings. And there’s no way to ensure confidential information is viewed only by the authorized persons.
#6 – Document disorganization in quality management
Document control is central to quality standards (e.g. ISO 9001) and a critical function for companies doing businesses in regulated environments. When it comes to quality management, document disorganization can easily result in serious financial and human consequences, such as plant shutdown and unemployment for responsible parties.
Does your Quality Department have a structured way to manage quality documents and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), from creation to disposal? Very often Quality Managers struggle with version management for documents, not having formal procedures for review and approval or with the absence of a transparent and auditable way to review cycles for digital documents and distribute approved versions to colleagues.
About the author
Tom Laureys is Solution Director ECM at Amplexor based in Belgium. For the past 10 years, Tom has been helping clients across industries find the right technology to effectively digitize their business processes and improve collaboration and productivity. His combination of strategic thinking and expertise in a range of platforms - from Alfresco and Documentum to SharePoint and Office 365 – grant him the capacity to capture new trends on the market and turn them into solutions for our customers.