Diversity at the ECM Workplace

Informed Group notebook

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Just the other day I was driving home from the office reflecting back at events that happened in the last few days and weeks. As always driving home is one of those precious moments where I can sit back and reflect. Sitting in the car in traffic, it finally dawned to me.

For a couple of days already I was trying to put finger on something that bothered me. I had been working on multiple engagements over the last few weeks. Some only related to EMC Documentum. Some only to Microsoft SharePoint and some included both. All were in different industries. If you wouldn’t know better, there was nothing they had in common. But there was.

Implementing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions has always had the label as being difficult in user acceptation. That is, if you talked to users who didn’t have the passion for managing documents but only wanted to focus on just doing their jobs. It has always been different for the Information Management Department. Managing documents is their life and they loved it. They had the tools at their hand to use versioning, renditions, approval statuses, classification, check-in/check-out and all those other features that come with tools like EMC Documentum.

With Microsoft SharePoint the coin flipped. While implementing ECM suffered from poor user acceptation, SharePoint did not suffer from the same. SharePoint made the user happy. And, in the eyes of many information management professionals, made a chaos out of it.

Either way, someone wasn’t a happy camper. Nowadays we can solve this easily, but before we get to this, there is more to add. Back to my engagements.

What dawned to me in that drive home was, that the real challenge that these engagements have in common is called diversity. Diversity at the ECM Workplace and specifically the inclusion of different types of people in a group or in an organization. However, not primarily because of race or culture. But diversity in digital mind-set.

What I mean with this digital mind-set is the attitude of someone with respect to the open mindedness to new ways of working, the pace of technology adoption illustrated by their classification in an adopter category (Innovators, Early adopters, Laggards etc.) and whether they are digital immigrants or digital natives.

At each of my engagements our clients are implementing ECM solutions that are to be used by a variety of personas. However, the persona doesn’t fully explain the level of the digital mind-set that an actual user may possess. Too often personas are too generalized at the level of roles.

It is this Diversion at the Workplace that needs to be taken into account for the successful implementation of ECM solutions. It is not only about liking SharePoint or Documentum from just the user perspective. It is also about providing a platform where people from all different digital mind-sets find a way to do their work in this new age. Some parts can be solved by early education and training. Some parts require in-place guides and reminders. It will differ from client to client. It is not industry bound. It is not per se connected with age. It will be different for each solution.

Here at Informed Consulting, we call this “Connecting People to the Enterprise”. Delivering solutions where the people demands and the enterprise needs go hand in hand.

As part of Connecting People to the Enterprise, we also have developed a product that helps delivering Diversity at the Workplace. It’s called SPA4D, a SharePoint App for Documentum.

The nice thing about being able to leverage the powers of both SharePoint and Documentum with our SPA4D solution is that it is supporting the need for diversity with its Seamless Editing feature. In a nutshell, it provides the native SharePoint way of editing for content that remains under control of Documentum. For digital immigrants that are struggling to keep up with the pace of technology change, such a feature is a game changer.

Back at my engagements, I saw relieve when we explained that they were not alone and we had a cure. With SPA4D you are able to easily connect easy collaboration with Enterprise control.

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