Document and Records Management Still Lags

Enterprises are still struggling to manage theirunstructured information effectively despite a high penetration rate ofenterprise content management solutions, according to the results of a newstudy released by Butler Group last week.

Written by Butler Group analyst Sue Clarke, ?Document andRecords Management (DRM)? found that although ECM (also known as electronicdocument and records management, eDRM or simply DRM) has a market penetrationrate of more than 80 percent, more than 40 percent of organizations plan toinvest in new systems or expand their current toolset in the next two years.

?This means that many organizations that have already implementedDRM are considering deploying a different product, either because the firstimplementation was less than successful and did not provide the businessbenefits expected, or because their requirements have evolved and their currentsolution can no longer address their needs,? Clarke wrote in the report.

Many businesses initially chose DRM systems as pointproducts to solve only one or two specific problems within the organization andfailed to put in big-picture products that effectively manage all corporateunstructured data, which can add up to 80 percent of an organization?s datapool, according to the report.

To make deployment a success, business needs?more than ITneeds?should power DRM implementation, Clarke told Baseline.

?DRM has to be driven by business requirements, rather thanan IT need, to reduce storage,? she says. ?It is only business executives andmanagers that understand the business requirements of the organization. It isvital that DRM is implemented to address the business requirements of an organization,or it will not deliver business value?[meaning] end-users will not buy into thesystem and will not use it, and it will not address the business issues facedby the organization.? 

Major drivers on the business side include informationmanageability and speed of information discovery, elimination of duplicationsand errors caused by ineffective versioning, and centralization for the purposeof data protection and disaster-recovery efforts, she says.

Clarke believes it is crucial that leaders on the businessside work closely with technical staff throughout a DRM implementation toensure their needs are adequately met.

?There are stages [in the DRM implementation model] that canonly be carried out using business, rather than technical, expertise, such asbuilding the file plan or classification system, and also deciding what legacyinformation needs to be imported into the DRM system,? she says. ?These twotasks can be combined, and there are specialist classification solutions thatcan automate much of this process and save the organizations many months ofmanual labor. The selection of a suitable product to achieve this is an areawhere technical and non-technical executives must work together.?

 Additionally, shebelieves users must also be involved in order to minimize resistance to change.

?It can be difficult to persuade end users to adopt a newsystem, particularly if this involves changes to their business practices,? Clarkesays. ?It is important to consult with end users to see how they create,access, process and use information, and discuss how their current processescould be improved. If a user?s main contact with information is through asingle application, then examine how a DRM system could be used seamlessly bythe user and discuss where tasks could be automated. If end users believe thatthey have a real say in how the system is designed, they are more likely toembrace and use it once it is implemented.?