9 Enterprise Content Management Challenges and Solutions

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak

About: Haissam is a digital software product manager with 15 years of expertise in developing enterprise content management solutions. His core capabilities encompass digital transformation, document management, records management, business process automation, and collaboration.

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Organizations face critical enterprise content management challenges while trying to effectively manage their content and streamline their workflows to enhance productivity and unlock the full potential of their content. Most ECM software is equipped with advanced capabilities to help overcoming these hurdles.

Typical enterprise content management challenges include a lack of strategy, digitizing documents, automating processes, controlling the expanding volume, securing information access, minimizing information silos, integration with legacy systems, and eliminating low-quality data.

Overcoming these challenges by implement ECM best practices and following up with the latest trends enable organizations to unlock the value of their content, which may increase operational efficiency, productivity, agility by responding to changes faster, securing critical information, and complying with various rules and regulations imposed by industries and governments.

In this article, we will discuss the top enterprise content management (ECM) challenges and how to solve them in order to maximize the value of your most valuable asset.

ECM challenges

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Challenges

Achieving an effective ECM implementation is difficult and does not happen quickly, which is why a large majority of implementations fail. However, if done correctly, organizations will reap enormous benefits from it.

Typical enterprise content management (ECM) challenges are:

1- Lack of unified best practices

The lack of unified practices is among the top ECM challenges organizations face.

If there is no enterprise-wide ECM strategy, individuals will often apply what they see as correct, resulting in information that is poorly managed and making locating and collaborating on it nearly hard.

Without universally accepted frameworks, organizations often find themselves navigating through a maze of conflicting approaches, industry-specific recommendations, and evolving technological landscapes.

This lack of unification results in inconsistent content classification, metadata tagging, storage architectures, and retrieval techniques, which ultimately reduces interoperability, raises the risk of data loss, and makes collaboration more difficult.

To address this challenge, ECM professionals must take a proactive approach by clearly defining and standardizing process that promote effective content management.

A solid enterprise content management plan will specify how content (structured and unstructured) should be managed from creation to disposition.

2- Reducing content silos

Did you know 52% of organizations have 3 or more ECM/DM/RM systems, and 22% have 5+ systems.

In many organizations, most departments and teams have their own content repositories and systems to manage their content. As a result, valuable information becomes isolated within these silos which makes it inaccessible to other employees who may need it thus affecting effective collaboration, knowledge sharing, and overall organizational efficiency.

This diversification of content storage not only limits visibility and access but also leads to redundancy in content, lost efforts, and duplicate work. To address this challenge, organizations must prioritize breaking down information silos and try to eliminate them as possible by adopting a centralized application and having integration with the main other systems available in the organization.

3- Manage information growth

According to Statista, the total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed globally is forecast to increase rapidly, reaching 64.2 zettabytes in 2020. Over the next five years up to 2025, global data creation is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes. More than 80% will be unstructured data.

This in itself is a significant challenge that companies must carefully plan for in order to effectively handle. Only the essential and important information should be saved and stored in order to reduce processing time, and storage costs, and ensure excellent quality.

4- Securing content

We all have sensitive content that only authorized individuals should have access to, and the corporate world is no exception.

To reduce data breaches and retain a good reputation, sensitive information such as customer information, employee information, and financial reports should be safeguarded, and only authorized persons should have access to them.

It is simple to grant rights to authorized individuals and withdraw access from others when using a document management system via IRM policy. Most of these solutions provide granular control over the types of permissions and a full audit trail displaying all activities performed on each document which will allow you to control the information security risk management,

5- Regulatory compliance

Most businesses operate in a regulated industry, and noncompliance with such rules and regulations can cost them money in the form of fines and penalties.

Being GDPR or HIPAA compliant, for example, necessitates the adoption of a whole lifecycle from creation to deletion.

Making certain that unneeded documents or personal information are deleted in accordance with their retention policy, and eventually automating this process, will ensure full compliance.

In addition, it makes sure that information that needs digital preservation are managed properly.

6- Automating processes

Although automation has several advantages, like greater effectiveness, less manual labor, and enhanced precision, there are still a number of obstacles to overcome before it can be successfully implemented.

One of the main points to overcome is the resistance to change that will be imposed by your employees specially the older generation. They are used to manual paper work to complete a specific process and most of them will try to resist changing how they operate daily.

From my experience, the inability to overcome the resistance to change from key stakeholders in your organization will jeopardize the success of the ECM initiative. That is why part of your job is to explain the business value behind automating document centric processes and how this will help their department achieve greatness in addition to providing effective training, communication, and ongoing support.

7- Integration with Legacy Applications

Organizations are still dealing with legacy applications that make integration with other systems impossible. Typically, they will manually collect the required information from these programs and input it into others. Employees typically find this to be a time-consuming and monotonous process.

This can be automated using RPA technology, and robots can complete the same precise procedures that your workers do. As a consequence, errors will be reduced and accuracy will improve.

8- Metadata and taxonomy management

Designing and maintaining consistent taxonomy and metadata structures that are in line with the organization’s content needs and business objectives is difficult.

Having trouble finding and organizing content due to inconsistent or poorly formatted metadata can result in information overload and decreased productivity. When it is inaccurate or lacking, search capability might be ineffective, making it more difficult for consumers to locate relevant content when they need it.

To address this challenge, organizations need to clearly define an enterprise metadata management process for metadata creation and maintenance. It should be simple enough to encourage employees to make use of such power techniques to easily locate information and classify them according to the types.

9- User adoption and change management

User adoption and change management are the most critical enterprise content management challenges that you will be facing during any initiative. This has to do with employees resisting the new way of work which include new technologies and tools that they lack the confidence to use in their daily job.

To overcome this challenge, you should effectively train all related employees on the new technology, providing support and documentation, and providing incentives for encouragement.

Remember, your employees are your most important asset, taking care of your employees will help you implement the changes that you are foreseeing to improve the overall business operation performance.

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