Mastering Enterprise Content Management

From Personal to Information Development

At LoQutus, personal development is important. I started off as a .NET developer and quickly got started with SharePoint development. Like with process automation, I soon had the feeling that there was more to our projects than just SharePoint. It was process thinking and more challenging integration questions that caught my interest. As I gained more experience, I came to see business analysis as a way to better explore the business side of the story. I felt I could be of great value to business stakeholders by translating their needs into useful designs.

Combining both SharePoint architecture and business analysis led me to Enterprise Information Management programs. Those programs guide customers through their information development journey. Because of my hands-on experience in SharePoint development, I already had a lot to offer with regard to Enterprise Content Management. However, LoQutus offered me the opportunity to take an AIMM course in the matter. And even though I had already gained a lot of practical experience with content types, taxonomies, enterprise search, etc. I have taken a giant step forward by taking an Enterprise Content Management Master course. It has taught me a lot. I started as an experienced ECM, but broadened my scope thanks to MIKE 2.0 and by adding program and change management principles. Conversations with colleagues confirmed my belief that I was heading in the right direction.

The course also allowed me to get certified as an ECM specialist. I had to take an exam, which I passed. In order to receive the title of ECM Master I had to complete a case study. In this blog post, I would like to elaborate on the case study and show you how different the approach taken is. It differs from a classic ECM technical approach by focusing more on Enterprise Architecture (As Is vs To Be, future state and road mapping) and change management, i.e. by adapting your ECM program to the customer’s environment and making sure they are involved and ready to begin their information journey.

The Case

GreenPowerOps was founded in 2010 after the privatisation of a government agency and a new commercial agreement between several companies to cooperate as a new entity across international waters. GreenPowerOps consists of a group of researchers and scientists who represent a broad spectrum of the energy industry. They all share experience wit nuclear and petroleum-based energy and have started to explore alternative forms of energy including biodiesel, algae, clean coal, wind and solar energy.

GreenPowerOps realises it has not yet tapped the potential of its corporate knowledge base. Too much content is stored away in local divisions. Despite the presence of a corporate network, content management is fragmented. It is basically an incoherent collection of the various systems inherited from the companies and individual groups that formed GreenPowerOps.

The IS director has asked you to take leadership of the ECM team. She has asked for your help, because you are the only business analyst with ECM expertise within the company. You report directly to the IS director.

The IS director is pleased with the work done so far, but now faces what she hopes to be the final hurdles presented by the board. She is asking you, the business analyst leading this ECM project, how GreenPowerOps can modernise the technology already available and manage the necessary changes before actually implementing them. In order to complete this assignment, you will have to:

  • Describe a new way of dealing with content, specifically in order to modernise the customer RFP response process.
  • Describe a new way of dealing with content within the GreenPowerOps content delivery process.
  • Explore training and development needed throughout the roll-out.

My submission

GreenPowerOps is a global leader in knowledge of alternative energy. It has to address customers RFP’s in time and provide qualitative responses. In the past months, a lot of time and effort was put into developing an ECM program to address several of the flaws in today’s RFP response process. The current RFP process is slow, takes too much local effort and focus, is mostly paper-based and produces static reports which are not always up to standard. To address these issues, the ECM program discusses three topics: optimisation of the RFP response process, a new content delivery process and a training strategy.

The new RFP response process consist of 5 high-level process stages:

  • Global base: provides every RFP response with the best expertise
  • Local refinements: makes sure local particularities are taken into account
  • Double-check: allows for additional quality control
  • Customer review: allows customers to give feedback on draft documents
  • Delivery: highly interactive reports are delivered through community sites

This new RFP process is based on a new knowledge management process which features a central Knowledge Base (KB). This makes sure both local and global experts have efficient search experiences as well as great collaboration experiences. Thanks to high quality KB content, GreenPowerOps will be able to us a different billing model.

The new content delivery process is based on the concept of “customer communities”, which are used tot deliver RFP response reports. This content is very dynamic and enables easy integration of KB content, fast responses and reviews by customers and higher turnaround for GreenPowerOps.

The training strategy for the ECM program mainly focuses on the cultural change which is needed to support internal and external communities. With regard to cultural change and communitisation, the following paragraphs are worth considering:

"Deal with the sceptics. Make them part of the “double check” group. Make them part of the test team and development cycle. They will continue begin critical. Hear them out. Respond. They will eventually see that they are being heard, take pride in it and push the program further. You will not be able to convince all sceptics. It will, for example, be hard to convince those whose position disappears. Talk to them. Make sure they feel heard. Empathise with them."

"Specific training needs to be provided for the communitisation of GreenPowerOps employees. Most of them will be responsible for activating and supporting the RFP delivery communities for customers and the internal KB. This requires different soft skills and a cultural change which can only be the result of a gentle transition. Make everyone see what communities are. Let employees use Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn during working hours. Let them be part of other communities and let them participate during working hours. Determine how much time they can and should spend in those communities and what they can and cannot contribute. Let them feel the benefit. Then acquaint them with the thinking process of communities. Give them time to see the benefit for the customer. Make them see the new reality. Then find out which of the (key) users are up for the challenge of activating a community. Use one or two customers as test cases. This will be part of the training and change process.

By Sebastiaan Mindreau