Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Examples of guiding principles as components in an ECM strategy

This post will be very short, as it is just meant to provide some examples of guiding principles for an ECM strategy (to support a conversion on Twitter). I might explain these in more detail later on:
  • Be open by default
  • Integrate ECM capabilities into the daily workflow
  • Allow all types of content to be managed
  • Manage content throughout its life-cycle
  • Manage critical content as other assets
  • Ensure there is one version of the truth
  • Make content accessible in every context it is needed
  • Different content needs to be managed differently (one size does not fit all)
  • Share links to content, not the actual content


  1. Where do these principles come from?

    Your principles appear to encapsulate very simple solutions to very complex problems.

    For example, your principle "Ensure there is one version of the truth" may not work for certain classes of complex problem where multiple sources may help to increase confidence in the content.

    If you are designing a solution to business problem that is simple enough to be addressed by the one-version-of-truth pattern, you probably don't need a principle to tell you to do this. Surely the place you need to enforce a principle is where the simple and obvious solution doesn't work.

  2. Maybe you need more background in ECM to understand why these principles are needed and how they can help.

    The principles are guiding, meaning that they describe a course we should try to follow - when possible. Much of the reason of the existence of these "simple" guiding principles is to help us avoid all the "simple" mistakes made when focusing on single problems and solutions, mistakes that cause unnecessary complexity. They are expressed in a simple way because they stick much easier, and thereby the probability that people will remember and follow them is higher.

    To quote Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, "Simplicity is a virtue". IKEA is a business that is managed and operating according to seemingly "simple" principles. The principles do not help IKEA to solve all their problems, but the principles help them to avoid a lot of unnecessary problems. This allows them can focus on solving those problems which are really complex.

  3. I would be very suspect of any solution to any problem that allowed for more than one "version of the truth."

    The more "versions of truth" that exist in the organization the less "deterministic" the outcomes will be, and probably the more dysfunctional the organization will be as well.