ECM Life Lesson #1: Focus on user experience

[fa icon="calendar"] May 15, 2017 2:05:56 PM / by Jason Cassidy


It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles your ECM has. An ECM that users just won’t use is a wasted investment—a very large investment. There are a few simple ways every organization can ensure that its ECM isn’t ignored in favour of competing environments:

  1. Be realistic about change management strategies
  2. Don’t force users to learn new interfaces
  3. Don’t allow competing environments
  4. Ensure that every “save as” is pointing to your ECM

Real World Solution

A key part of managing a digital culture is devising a strategy to ensure that people are aligned with corporate objectives. This means providing an ECM technology simple enough for employees to use, but one complex enough to deliver archiving, retention, version control and workflow features. These information governance capabilities are essential to meet stringent compliance requirements.

When an international financial services organization turned to Content Suite from OpenText to help it apply information governance to its data, the investment company assumed it had done all it could to deliver the best possible user experience to its employees. Content Suite on its own, however, was not enough—they needed something more to help achieve long term success of its digital enterprise strategy. Shinydrive Suite helped drive a modern digital workplace experience and remove barriers to adoption.

Evangelize ECM

ECM best practices prescribe the need for a change management strategy when implementing ECM solutions like Content Suite. For this international investment firm, the strategy involved a big launch that generated a lot of momentum. The decision to implement Content Suite came from the top of the firm, with some key executives evangelizing the benefits of information governance. The rollout was deemed a success, so the implementation team moved on to other projects. The ECM project consequently lost support and lost momentum.

Although there was a strong community of Content Suite “supporters”, adoption became difficult in those areas of the company where users wanted to “wait and see” how ECM performed.

Change Management

Building an effective user experience was critically important. For that reason, the company added 3 OpenText interfaces to Content Suite: Outlook, Explorer and Web Client.

“We thought when we had installed Content Server and added the extra interfaces that we had covered all our bases in terms of ‘user experience’,” said the Executive Director of Information Technology.

“What we discovered, however, is that just the addition of a new “save as” tab pointing to Content Server presented a change in human practice which was difficult to satisfy. We were asking people to change the way they had used Microsoft Office to use Content Server. That was a significant barrier to adoption.”

The addition of any new interface requires users to change their behavior. With Shinydrive Suite, users are not presented with a new interface to learn. Rather, employees use Microsoft Office and every program as they always have. When a user saves a document, they use the "save as" that is native to the program. In the background, the “save as’ points to Content Suite or your preferred method of storage. Allowing users to work as they always have, prevents adoption from becoming a barrier to utilizing the corporate ECM.

Making Users Care About ECM

No matter how successful an organization is at building support internally for ECM, the cold truth is that most employees just don't care about things like information governance, metadata requirements and the long-term benefits of properly storing data. What they care about is getting their job done in the easiest way possible. For that reason, this financial services company had difficulty in garnering user support of the ECM beyond its Legal team and its Risk & Compliance department.

“Shinydrive Suite was just what we were looking for in terms of a solution that could help us bridge the gap between corporate requirements and end user reality. What really got us excited is that Shinydrive Suite hides the fact that you are using Content Server. Adoption is no longer an issue. It is built-in to our user experience.”

Topics: Customers, Adoption, Shinydrive

Jason Cassidy

Written by Jason Cassidy

Jason has been solving digital enterprise technology challenges for over 20 years and is transforming the digital landscape from traditional ECM to modern Content Services.

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