Don’t Make Me Think: The End User’s Guide to ECM


Too much work tired sleepy young woman sitting at her desk with books in front of laptop computer isolated grey wall office background. Busy schedule in college, workplace, sleep deprivation conceptECM is not a glamorous or exciting topic that gets people chatting around the water cooler. It is however, an incredibly powerful and underused tool that benefits the end user (that’s you!) as well as the organization. Instead of implementing Band-Aid solutions like G Chat (I still love you G Chat!), more companies need to take a step back and examine the root of the problem they are experiencing. At first glance, an issue may simply appear to be a ‘communication’ problem that could be solved with a chat tool, but upon further examination, it’s actually a systematic breakdown of workflow, communication and file sharing. Did I just blow your mind?

Increased Productivity = More Time for Happy Hour

When things aren’t as efficient as they should be, it makes my head explode. Once I had a computer that was so slow I used to waste an average of 20 min EACH DAY waiting for it to load or close pages (yes, I counted). This inefficiency morphed into 3 stages for me: annoyance, humour, and then anger. At first I was annoyed because my desire for instant gratification I’ve come to expect regarding technology was not satisfied. That quickly switched into a hopeless despair that became funny because it was like a Seinfeld episode I couldn’t escape. Lastly, I got mad. The systems and tools I was given to do my job were making me increasingly inefficient. I was unable to perform my role to the best of my abilities because of crappy tools.

Unfortunately this situation is not unique and it takes a toll very quickly. Would you like sitting in the doctor’s office while he or she stared at a computer for 5 minutes waiting for your file to load? Of course not, it’s a huge waste of time. So why do so many companies stay married to horrible technology that doesn’t work properly, and let their employees (the actual end users) suffer? It’s vital that in today’s extremely competitive business landscape, companies need to invest in systems and tools that allow their employees to be as efficient as possible. The gains are enormous (plus, no aneurysms) and when people are able to perform at their highest capacity, great things happen.

I Say Compliance, You Say Defiance

Working in insurance taught me the value of keeping paper trails, but the most important lesson was the seriousness of mistakes. Legal requirements are in place for a reason, which is what I learned the hard way when I filed a document incorrectly. Let me set the stage. Imagine a room with about 30 massive, identical filing cabinets (we had to keep paper copies), one newbie and a vague set of instructions. As you can imagine, I thought I filed everything correctly, but alas, I made a dumb mistake. A few months later we were audited and I had to spend an entire day trying to find a file that should have taken me no more than 5 minutes. The sad reality is that this situation isn’t unique; it happens every single day, in every single office. Human error is the reason that automation and established workflow processes benefit both the end user and the organization.  Had there been a system in place (and assuming I could read and follow basic instructions), my stupid end user mistake never would have happened. Was it my fault? Absolutely. But, even when I thought I was doing everything correctly, I still made a mistake. After this situation it’s no wonder companies are starting to realize the value of ECM systems that actually take the end user experience into account. Make it simple so I can’t screw up your files, I’m begging you!

Round Up

Excellent ECM makes our everyday lives more productive and generally more awesome because by being more efficient, we can get things done faster and have a semblance of work life balance (you remember that, right?). Companies that implement a useful ECM system are investing in their employees and respecting their hard work by giving them the best tools. Luckily, organizations also gain from better ECMs so it’s a win for everyone. Now with all this free time, you can join me in watching Alone and worrying about who will get eaten by a bear. 


Tagged: ECM, SharePoint, Automation, Compliance, Records Management

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