As available technology rapidly evolves to support business needs, many organizations struggle to manage their growing volumes of information, including emails, documents, instant messages, video, and web content. Too often, content exists in a state of unmanaged chaos – residing on file servers, hard drives and other computers throughout the enterprise – preventing a business from accessing and utilizing information efficiently.
The IQ Business Group (IQBG) is a leader in providing strategy, planning, and implementation of Information and Content Management Solutions across the enterprise.
We provide award-winning enterprise content and records management (ECRM) strategy and planning services designed to improve productivity, reduce costs, and enhance compliance. In our work with leading vendors, IQBG also provides implementation and governance services to help organizations implement new systems, migrate from old platforms, or just optimize their existing investments.
IQBG staff includes some of the world’s leading experts in ECRM technology. Additionally, our several AIIM Fellows provide deep expertise in all aspects of information and content management, from technology to records management and retention schedules.
The following specific solutions fall within the focus of IQBG:
Enterprise Content Management
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) strategies capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.
ECM is working properly when it is effectively “invisible” to users. ECM is a collection of infrastructure components that fit into a multi-layered model and include all document-related technologies (DRT) for handling, delivering, and managing structured data and unstructured information. The five ECM components and technologies were first defined by AIIM as: capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver.
- Capture involves converting information from paper documents into an electronic format through scanning.
- The Manage category includes five traditional application areas:
- Document Management (DM);
- Web content management
- Records management; and
- Workflow and business process management (BPM).
- Store components temporarily house information that isn’t required, desired, or ready for long-term storage or preservation.
- Preserve involves the long-term, safe storage and backup of static, unchanging information.
- The Deliver components of ECM present information from the Manage, Store, and Preserve components.
Keys to a Successful ECM Implementation
Anticipation of and response to potential ECM challenges go a long way in ensuring a successful implementation. Often these challenges can cause organizations to become paralyzed for fear of choosing the wrong system. While ECM goals may be expressed with clarity (e.g., to audit-proof records, to enhance collaboration), ECM challenges are generally more vague and elusive. For example; what does “user acceptance” mean? An organization knows that user acceptance is important, but may be unable to predict the aspects of a system that would trigger internal resistance.
Three major factors to successful ECM implementation will be examined in greater detail here: first, the elusive user acceptance; second, the need to find solutions to minimize the burden on IT; and third, the need to find a solution that meets diverse organizational needs.
1-Maximize User Acceptance
Perhaps the most critical factor in ECM success is how well a system is embraced by its users. Even if every other ECM goal is met, any system that fails in this regard will have limited success. On the flip side, users will extol a system that they perceive as streamlining their workday, improving their productivity, and making their jobs easier.
Systems that require minimal training and enable workers to proceed on their own will ultimately be embraced. Familiar and intuitive interfaces will also enable users to accept the system as something that is merely an extension of their current workload rather than an entirely new procedure.
2-Minimize the Burden on IT
Every solution will no doubt have some bumps in the road to user adoption, but the best fit will be one that minimizes IT input and empowers users to integrate the solution into their own work schedules. If the ECM solution requires extensive IT involvement, professional developers, or consultants to set up new sites and workflow processes, resources will be diverted from achieving an organization’s optimal efficiency.
Providing a solution with a manageable learning curve and minimal IT reliance is therefore critical.
Perhaps one of the most difficult IT bottlenecks is in the area of Web updating. Finding an ECM solution that enables non-technical personnel to take control of their department’s Web properties will minimize IT time expenditures, and give those departments a new confidence to view their Web properties as an opportunity rather than a burden.
Besides empowering users to be self-reliant and minimizing IT support calls, centralized deployment enables the IT department to manage the system consistently across all areas using common tools and deployment models, an equally important time savings for IT.
3-Meet Diverse Organizational Needs
While the initial requirement for ECM development may be limited to a single business function or process, it makes sense to choose a solution that is scalable and could potentially meet wider needs down the road.
With a well-integrated solution, such as starting a records management initiative that performs the double duty of immediately ensuring compliance but also getting users accustomed to the system, the organization is free to ease its users into the content management process.
Another reality of an organization’s IT environment is the multitude of applications that are already in place to support different business processes. An ECM solution that integrates easily with a company’s existing applications using industry standards will ultimately have the best chance of success.
Lastly, it is important to have a customizable solution without excessive deployment costs or IT/developer training. While an out-of-the-box solution will handle most functions, organizations will need to build functionality that is specific to their vertical or compliance requirements.
Electronic Records Management
Electronic Records Management (ERM) is the field of management responsible for the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposal of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions.
Records management has gained increasing prominence over the past few years. From high-profile court cases to new legislation and regulations, it has been dragged from the archive basement, where it traditionally resided, into the spotlight. ERM systems have also matured, gaining in functionality and depth, with adoption of these systems spreading from government and regulated industries to all types of organizations, across all sectors. Yet even with this new high profile, it is not at all clear who is responsible for the management and preservation of the corporate memory or for the increasingly sophisticated mechanisms now available for managing records.
Records Management is the practice of maintaining the records of an organization from the time they are created up to their eventual disposal. This may include classification, storing, securing, and/or destruction (or in some cases, archival preservation) of records. Most information is created digitally and stored on personal computers, network drives and PDAs, reaching terabyte storage levels and beyond. It is vital that organizations understand that information and records are assets of the organization, not the individual, and as such need to be managed actively and properly.
The incorporation of Electronic Records Management systems and practices provide structure, consistency, security, and control over these records. Benefits include:
- Retention and disposal rules
- Security and access controls
- Digital rights management
- Information sharing
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 set new or enhanced standards for all US public company boards, management, and public accounting firms. The onus was put on corporations to retain electronic communications, and subsequent laws provide stiff penalties for failure to comply.
Email remains the major communication tool for conducting business. With the sheer amount of incoming information, organizations must manage, archive, and dispose of emails according to their business policies. The vast quantities of emails held in inboxes, sent folders, and deleted items folders put the organization at risk and adversely impact the performance of its email servers.
Today’s organizations are attempting to force-fit legacy and outdated “paper based” processes and apply them to email content, resulting in duplicate repositories, exception handling and a general lack of consistent business processes. Email management is not about managing a single event nor is it a standalone application; it is an integrated approach of managing the full lifecycle of email and its contents:
IQBG Email Management Solutions centrally capture emails created and received by employees. Duplication of emails at time-of-capture reduce overall storage costs. Use of a classification scheme to manage this content, retention periods and access controls can be applied to manage emails. Metadata associated with the emails can be captured to allow this information to be managed and retrieved. Audit trails ensure compliance and accountability for legal proceedings. IQBG’s largest customer is currently capturing over 70 million emails a month.
Whether it is an on-premise instance or managing your organizations’ emails in a cloud environment, IQBG can enable you to minimize cost of operations and optimize system performance. Contact us for more information on IQBG’s Email Management Solutions and Services.