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Friday, August 31, 2007

Managing Content is a Collaborative Effort, But...

7:20:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg , , No comments
Efficient collaboration is critical for succeeding with Enterprise Content Management. Consequently, collaboration services and tools are also natural components in an IT infrastructure that is to support ECM. But even though collaboration is a natural part of ECM, it does not necessarily mean that collaboration tools and services should be purchased and implemented as part of an ECM suite.

The main reason to be cautious when choosing and implementing collaboration technologies is that an enterprise should strive to create a collaborative infrastructure that supports basically any kind of collaboration need within the enterprise. Providing the right users with the right collaboration tools can help to improve the productivity for any kind of activity, from ad hoc activities to very formal and structured processes. Collaboration in an ECM context is however content-centric by nature - a process that requires two or more people to create or use content to accomplish a business objective. This means that an ECM suite might provide collaboration services and tools that are optimized for ECM, but not suited for other situations and contexts that require efficient collaboration and support from collaboration technology. So, collaboration services and tools must be chosen and implemented in a way that makes it possible to collaborate with anyone, anywhere, at any time, about anything (ubiquitous collaboration).

Secondly, the same kind of reasoning as for Basic Content Services (BSC) can be applied for collaboration services. BCS can be seen as a less costly and less complex alternative for enterprises that don’t need or cannot afford to buy an expensive and complex ECM suite. Even if they start with BCS, it does not stop them from extending their content infrastructure at a later stage with more advanced content services such as workflow automation. A similar approach might need to be used for collaboration services and tools – to start out with implementing a basic set of collaboration services that are generic and needed for any kind of collaboration and then extend the infrastructure where and when it is needed. Purchasing them as parts of an ECM suite is the opposite strategy.

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