August 27, 2009 - According to Gartner, Inc., picking the correct business focus is the most important first step to successful content management and information governance.
Gartner said ECM consists of a vision and framework for integrating a broad range of content management technologies and content formats across the organization.
“ECM is expensive, which is why a low percentage of knowledge workers in an organization have access to ECM,” said Toby Bell, research vice president at Gartner, in an announcement. “It's also too hard to justify the system for everyone based on unclear return on investment (ROI) or other success measures.”
Gartner states that the number one mistake organizations make is failing to take into account just how profound a change in users' work practices the content management system will make. Rather than taking shortcuts and jumping right into the vendor selection process, Bell recommends that organizations spend six to nine months in the planning and vendor selection process.
Gartner analysts said it is critical that organizations take a total cost of ownership (TCO) approach using a five-year time frame. Initially, organizations should expect software licensing costs to account for between 5 percent and 20 percent of the TCO over five years. 
Gartner has identified six tactical approaches to help organizations save significant costs in content management:
1. Pare down to the essential content: Eliminate old or duplicate content before standard ECM, business process management and content-enabled vertical application implementations. 
2. Include a policy implementation when you develop a content architecture: A policy about documents takes the form of rules and metadata that allow some automatic categorization and expiration of content. 
3. Include a content service provider and open source in your strategy: Content service providers are vendors that extend beyond software offerings alone and offer consulting, implementation, outsourcing or other services. 
4. Leverage your Web channel: Organizations must stop wasting money on manual data and content transformation between customer-facing channels and instead put in place a structured and unstructured master data system.
5. Explore the green benefits of an electronic workplace: Organizations can explore various green initiatives, such as moving to electronic forms and storing records electronically, eliminating redundancies (50 percent of archived paper documents are duplicates).
6. Get out of the e-mail business: Gartner believes that the hybrid on-premise and hosted e-mail services model will become increasingly popular for organizations, whereby some users will use Outlook Web access "in the cloud" at a low price.

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