Avoid These Pitfalls to Maximize ECM ROI

Throughout this series* we have explored many facets of the ECM investment decision, particularly how to maximize cost savings and capitalize on the many benefits of ECM that extend well beyond cost reduction. Now that you are well informed to make a wise ECM choice, let’s discuss what you can do during implementation to maximize the returns on your ECM investment.


*This is the fifth article in a five-part series: Moving Beyond Cost Reduction as a Driver for ECM Implementation. Be sure to check out the previous four articles:


Here are some of the implementation pitfalls that could prevent you from realizing the measurable gains you expect:

  1. Ineffective change management. One of the most common pitfalls of any transformation process is ineffective change management, particularly absence of a plan, lack of executive leadership, or a team that’s not fully committed. It is imperative to thoroughly evaluate the current state versus the future state, including processes and people, prior to creating a plan. Be ever mindful that people drive this train—the people that do the day-to-day operations as well as the people at the top of the org chart; all need to have buy-in and embrace the vision. 
  2. Poor documentation. If you attempt to roll out an ECM solution without properly documenting the processes and the administrative functionality, critical knowledge will be lost and, ultimately, valuable time will be wasted. Although team members may receive multiple days of training, we’re only human, and time away creates gaps in our memory. Plus, everyone can benefit from having documentation to refer to for an occasional reminder or reassurance that they are following a process correctly. 
  3. Unrealistic timelines and rushed projects. Taking a simplistic view of ECM can kill your investment, dead in the water. Many organizations fall victim to rushing the process, devaluing key steps or skipping them entirely, and trying to complete implementation “in record time.”  When you shortchange the process, you end up sabotaging yourself and your investment in your ECM solution.
  4. “Zombie creep.” Another common pitfall—and my personal pet peeve, in fact—is allowing old, dead processes (and one-off things that need to be done) to creep into a redesigned ECM solution. Significant time is devoted at the beginning of implementation to carefully studying and documenting a process, getting rid of redundancies, and creating a streamlined and automated process. This beautiful end state can be adulterated by a poorly vetted team member that insists on doing it the way they’ve always done it for the last 20 years. Combating this ‘zombie creep’ requires strong leadership at the top, including making sure all team members have clear direction and at the end of the day are held accountable to honoring new processes.

I hope you have enjoyed this series on “Moving Beyond Cost Reduction as a Driver for ECM Implementation.” I encourage you to revisit all five articles for inspiration as you evaluate ECM solutions and consider the transformation potential they offer to your organization.


Authored by Dale Hopkins

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