Folders and departmentalization are the enemy of collaboration.
There I said it, straightforward and to the point… and while this is no great epiphany, it brings to the forefront the constant crusade of Enterprise Content Management (notice I said Enterprise, not electronic)… What exactly is the point of sharing?
So many organizations claim they want to “collaborate”, “centralize”, and make things “easier” but when it comes down to actually putting things in place, they balk like a little leaguer pitching to a steroid pumped up hitter. WHY?
FEAR… fear of the work it will take, fear of failure, and fear of confronting organizational inefficiencies/entrenched co-workers and leadership.
So how do you confront these fears and conquer them? Here are a few tips:
Fear #1: ECM takes work and will change the way we think
- If you don’t put the necessary planning in, you will fail. So if you don’t want to plan, don’t even touch SharePoint.
- Create a project plan and be ready to adapt it, as ECM is iterative.
- The intended use of folders is for security encapsulation, not nested classification. Users will need to let go and adopt metadata instead of searching around in folders for hours to find what they are looking for.
- Break out of departmental ownership and move towards functions. ECM is all about the “We” not the “Me” and collaboration cannot occur when “departmental team sites” are hiding the content everyone needs to functionally act upon (it will even be buried from the department itself!).
Fear #2: It will fail
- Use phases to ensure that what you put in place is governable before adding more features and functionality.
- Pilot! A well run pilot will identify any requirements that got missed and allow you to make adjustments before going live.
- Make mistakes and avoid disasters! If you planned properly, you will have a framework that may need to be adjusted as requirements change… but this is far better than not planning and having to remediate the entire environment.
Fear #3: Everyone will hate it and hate me
- Stakeholder buy in is critical and does not have to be confrontational. You must demonstrate how the SharePoint implementation adds values for those involved. If a leader states that they want it one way, but 99% of everyone else needs it a different way… demonstrate the efficiencies gained for the majority.
- Get an advocate at the top level who will push for doing things the right way.
- Point to industry best practices/standards and a strong governance plan as the basis for your implementation so it is not you against them… but them trusting that the ECM team followed best practices.