ECM Challenges for Caribbean Organizations

Once a Caribbean organization decides to deploy an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, the biggest challenges it will face are continuity of connectivity, change management, and cultural adjustment.

This is the second article in a three-part series. Read the first part here.

  • Continuity of Connectivity. Currently, there are gaps and inconsistencies in the level of internet infrastructure in the Caribbean. If an organization is completely reliant on digital, and “the pipe” goes down, that organization is stuck in the water. Fortunately, reliability is improving markedly.
  • Risks in Change Management.  Changing an organization’s business processes introduces risks. The two greatest risks of technology deployment are (1) not completely and thoroughly understanding current processes and (2) failing to leverage your technology investment to transform that process. In particular, mistakes are made when manual processes are digitized for digitalization’s sake.Here’s an illustration. Let’s say you install a scanning solution—a “scan, store, retrieve” technology—that allows you to take any type of paper document, run it through a scanning machine, and create a readable, retrievable PDF document. The point is not that you now have a digital copy of the document; the point is, how are you going to use that digital document to improve your business operations? A scan-store-retrieve solution isn’t enough unless you leverage the ability of the end user to be able to more efficiently and productively interact with that data and glean the information that they need.
  • Cultural Adjustment. Caribbean organizations also face a couple of cultural challenges that could impact their ability to successfully implement ECM. The first is an inherent fear, particularly among older members of the community, that technology offers no control, or that the information in an ECM, because it is in an electronic format, is less secure than paper documentation. One way to combat this misconception is a public information campaign.Another cultural phenomenon in the Caribbean that impacts technology adoption is the “brain drain.” Unfortunately, the Caribbean suffers from a perception that the government and business environment is a bit archaic from a technology perspective. Those who have this perception can point out old monolithic institutions running on manual processes and using big stamps on six-part purchase orders that require multiple signatures—the modus operandi of US businesses back in the 1970s and ‘80s. Needless to say, the younger generation of Caribbeans coming out of university with technology skill sets tend to leave the islands and go to the United States, Canada, or elsewhere to make the most of their highly valued skills. If more technology were deployed locally in the Caribbean to modernize business processes, this bright, talented, younger generation could more easily be enticed to stay and contribute to the digital transformation of Caribbean organizations and the growth of a stronger, technology-focused segment of the economy.

NEXT in this series: “Considering ECM in the Caribbean? Here’s some advice.

Authored by DeAnn Zufall

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