Attacking ECM complexity

In my last post I discussed the inherent complexity that develops as ECM systems are used for an increasing range of business applications, and more importantly, as they are shaped by growing numbers of users and groups with differing perspectives. Another source of complexity is technology itself.

The term ‘Enterprise Content Management’ was developed to try to describe the result of the convergence of a wide range of previously distinct technologies – document scanning, records management, document management, workflow, collaboration, archiving, etc. This convergence was a result of technology and market maturation, and the fact that these technologies generally addressed common business needs and dealt with the key digital files (i.e. content) that have value to enterprises.

Enterprises need to treat content in standard ways and make it available to their users irrespective of technology. Since all of the component technologies cannot realistically be re-written, they must be made to work together. This need was the genesis of the Open Text ECM Suite released today.

On the face of it, adding more features increases complexity. However, sharing resources and services counters that. Making available a better tool also reduces the necessity of warping a simpler application to serve a requirement for which it is not suited.

ECM Suite not only provides a wider range of capabilities, but also updates the interfaces of some core elements, especially including the new version of Open Text Content Server – version 10. This version (of a product once called Livelink) includes a modernized interface, which is simpler. When you are trying to drive user adoption, simpler interfaces are better if they enable users to learn how to use a system quicker. But simplification can remove things that veteran users have come to rely on, and you need to guide them through the changes as I discussed previously.

I’m looking forward to the new things that are now enabled with the Suite. I’ll be embracing reduced technical complexity while accepting potentially greater operational complexity. Other people have other perspectives (video).

Syndicated at http://conversations.opentext.com/

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