ECM for the Masses: How SharePoint 2010 Delivers On The Promise
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has been a buzzword floating in the enterprise. Yet its promise of integrating proven methods and tools to capture, manage and deliver relevant information to an organization has yet to be realized.

Microsoft unveiled SharePoint 2010 yesterday at the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas and its enhanced ECM capabilities look very promising.

People First, Process Second, Tool Third

Ryan Duguid, Senior Product Manager in the Microsoft Office Business Platform Marketing Group, led a 1-hour presentation showcasing how the promise of ECM can be effectively delivered by SharePoint 2010.

The session kicked off with Ryan analyzing a wide array of typical information workers that would have varying content management needs ranging from legal compliance, understanding business value to providing organizational transparency. He described that existing ECM tools are either antiquated or too complex for everyone in an organization to embrace.

An interesting statistic he raised is that “over 50-60% of ECM implementations fail”, caused by focusing too much on the technology. Organizations undervalue the relevance of understanding the pain points of their users and identifying key business needs prior to deploying an ECM solution.

Why SharePoint 2010?

Empowering users is what sets SharePoint apart from other ECM platforms. Its ease of use and tight integration with existing Microsoft toolsets like Windows and Office provides a low barrier to entry that can engage users to participate in ECM.

In addition, in this climate of tight corporate budgets, SharePoint is cost effective considering that it is an enterprise platform that can deliver solutions above and beyond ECM.

Lastly, its seamless integration with complementing SharePoint tools like social computing, business intelligence and search can be compelling for enterprises to invest in the platform.

We’re in Vegas But We Still Can’t Achieve ECM Nirvana Magically

Before jumping on the ECM bandwagon, Ryan stressed that proper planning is key to success. Identifying both organizational and user requirements is paramount in defining an ECM roadmap.

Next, engaging the users throughout the implementation can support the definition of information architecture, content taxonomy and compliance requirements. In addition, a relevant adoption plan needs to be in place to appropriately train users to show how organizational ECM strategies and toolsets work together.

Lastly, business metrics should be defined to quantify the return of investment  (ROI) of an ECM solution.

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ECM in SharePoint 2010 is to remove barriers #spc09: See more SP Conference Picks on Meetdux.com

Key SharePoint 2010 ECM Features

Ryan demonstrated key SharePoint 2010 features namely:

  • Document ID: This new feature generates a unique identifier for every document uploaded. With this feature, a document can be tracked even if it's moved.
  • Metadata: SharePoint utilizes metadata in organizing information with features such as tagging, ratings and keywords. A paradigm shift in traditional hierarchical file and folder structure.
  • Document Sets: Documents can now be grouped together in sets that can be worked with as one logical unit in SharePoint 2010. Content types can be created for a document set. This feature would be perfect for project environments where related project documents can be grouped as a set. It can also be downloaded as a single ZIP file.
  • Search: Search in SharePoint 2010 has been greatly enhanced and streamlined. Queryless search is available and can be very useful for rich media content like photos and videos.
  • Records Management: Records Management has greatly been improved and streamlined by allowing users to declare a document as a record. A schedule can be defined to transfer these declared records to the Record Center. Auditing metadata are such as expiration, author, hold, etc. are available.
  • Social Computing: Apart from effectively organizing information, SharePoint 2010 enables users to define social relationships and relevance of information with My Sites which allows them to see the tags of their posts, their jobs, what they are working on, posting messages and interacting with their colleagues.
  • Integrating External Platforms: SharePoint 2010 has various tools to bring various platforms together. SharePoint Designer, Business Connectivity Services (BCS), External lists can integrated as external data sources into SharePoint.
  • Ease of Use: Tight integration with Office 2010 allows content from an office document on the desktop to interact with SharePoint 2010 making it very efficient for users. Web publishing has been simplified with a rich and familiar authoring experience. It has reduced clicks to publish content and it truly empowers everyone to be a content author.