Home > ECM > 10 questions to spot a real ECM expert

10 questions to spot a real ECM expert

(Originally posted in InformationZen by George Parapadakis on July 24, 2009)

Imagine the scenario… You are at a conference, it’s lunchtime and you are waiting your turn at the finger buffet. The person next to you says “hello” and introduce themselves as an “ECM expert”. Are they? Can you call their bluff? Here are some questions you can try…

1. What does ECM stand for?

“Electronic Content Management” – Oh, that kind of expert… Let me explain…
“European Congress of Mathematics” – Definitely an expert, wrong field!
“Enterprise Content Management” – Good start, continue talking…

2. What was ECM called before it became ECM?

“Web Content Management” or “Knowledge management” – They are a vendor. Take a step back…
“Document Management” or “EDMS” or “DMS” or “EDRMS” or “Records Management” – Hm… ok, these are acceptable, we’re on the right track
“It didn’t really exist before, it evolved from a number of technologies” – Correct!! This could be an interesting conversation!

3. Tell me a couple of big ECM vendors

“IBM, FileNet, EMC, Documentum, OpenText, …” – Yes, that’s good
“LavaSoft, Hummingbird, Tower, Total Recall, … “ – Maybe they had a clue, about 10 years ago…
“Doculabs, DocScience, DocumentBoss” – Wrong planet! Must have seen these names twittered somewhere…

4. Is BPM part of ECM?

“That depends on which vendor or analyst you are talking to” – Hm… true enough, but not really an expert answer: They are thinking about the software tools
“What is BPM?” – Never mind, is that sausage roll nice?
“Process and documents always go hand in hand in an organisation” – Great answer! Get them to tell you more, you may learn something!

5. What is AIIM?

“The main association for the ECM industry, I’m a member.” – You are in good company!
“All about imaging and microfilm” – How close are they to retirement???
“Isn’t that a toothpaste?” – Yes it is (ahem) More orange juice?

6. Where do you keep your most important documents?

“We make sure they are stored in a secure repository, as soon as possible” – You are already into a deep and meaningful relationship with this expert.
“I hand them over to our Archiving department – It’s their problem” – Houston, we have a problem!
“Under my mattress” – Houston… never mind…

7. Why is an electronic document better than paper?

“I don’t know, our legal department keeps telling us we have to keep papers for compliance” – Smile contentedly, you just opened up a sales conversation!
“Because it’s quicker to move around the organisation, you can share it and you can back it up” – By George, they get it! You are preaching to the choir…
“It isn’t! – If I don’t see a piece of paper with a signature, I don’t trust anything!” – Oh dear, not your expert. Ask if they are divorced…

8. So, is email a record?

“eMail is just a medium. It’s the content inside the email that will determine if it’s a record” – Pitch Perfect! You found a visionary!
“Not sure, we archive all our emails, just in case” – Ouch! Explain why they should pray, never to be sued for anything
“No, we make sure that all email is deleted after 20 days” – Oh dear… Better not tell them anything. Ignorance is bliss!

9. What is the most critical component of an ECM implementation?

“The software and the vendor, you need a strong relationship” – True, but by no means the most critical. You are talking to an IT generalist.
“Executive Sponsorship” – yadda, yadda, yadda so they’ve read the book.
“The user” – Bingo! They’ve done this before and they have the scars to prove it!

10. How long does an ECM project last?

“We had ours up and running in 2 weeks” – Ah, yes, and what does it do exactly?
“ECM projects go on for years before they deliver anything” – Sorry, you have a project management issue, don’t blame ECM!
“ECM is a journey, not an event – it evolves as the business changes” – Perfect. You have found your ECM guru! Suggest going out to dinner….

Have a great weekend!

(for @skjekkeland and @sanoojk who asked for it, and @zoernert who challenged me ;-). TGIF!
Inspired by: 10 Questions for Social Media Experts)

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  1. September 24, 2011 at 8:50 am

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