An enterprise content management (ECM) program of any complexity requires some kind of formal governing body -- called variously an ECM Team, Center of Excellence, Center of Expertise, etc. -- but it’s hard to know where to begin.

This article should get you started by providing short answers to the following questions: What should be the goals of your ECM Team? How should you stand up your ECM Team? Where should the ECM Team live and how should it operate? What -- exactly -- does the ECM Team do?

1. What Should be the Goals of Your ECM Team?

The ECM Team typically serves several purposes, primarily:

  1. To develop ECM as a core competency. It can help your company focus organizational (line-of-business and corporate) attention on content as a strategic asset, and raise your ECM maturity from laggard to majority or leader status -- whether measured against your own ECM requirements or also against the maturity and performance of your peers and competitors.
  2. To increase the ROI of your ECM investments. It can help you wield your limited time and money more effectively to gain the benefits of increased process efficiency, increased revenue and reduced risk.
  3. To transform the organizational architecture. It can create linkages across functional and geographic areas. It’s particularly useful if your company is expanding from a regional into a national or global organization.
  4. To do better knowledge management. It can help you share expertise and experience, codify institutional knowledge, and connect people across the organization around a discipline or competency.

Identifying a handful of goals for your ECM Team is probably an obvious step. But most organizations don’t take the next important steps of clearly prioritizing, articulating and then measuring and monitoring your ECM program against them.

2. How Should You Stand up Your ECM Team?

In most cases you should start with a lightweight team dedicated to ECM governance. If you’re reading this you probably have an ECM project planned or underway, with a project core team. Members of this project core team can form an interim ECM steering committee until a more permanent body can be established.

In the first phase, members will work only part time on ECM, while still having their main jobs. Then -- if there is enough ECM work and a solid business case -- you will transition to a permanent body with dedicated ECM roles to fill and resources to fill them.

3. Where Should the ECM Team Live, How Should it Operate?

Where the ECM Team should live depends a lot on your organizational context. It depends on such factors as: