I was really happy last week to see that the long-awaited British Standards Institution Code of Practice (PAS 89) for ECM has been made available for public comment and review.
I say long wait because myself and others first contributed to its drafting in 2009, and I am impatient, but that is how long these things take. The reason for my happiness is that the goal of PAS 89 is to provide guidance to project, business, and technical managers who are beginning, or have ownership of an ECM project. I strongly urge you to take a look and add your thoughts to the discussion.
So now we have CMIS (for Interoperability) and (soon) a BSI Code of Practice for ECM. Add to that the continued development of BPMS and BPEL for Business Process Management and Moreq2010 for Records Management and things are starting to come together better for ECM practitioners.
That is not to say that all these initiatives have universal support, but they have much more support and much more chance of acceptance than previous attempts. More importantly I think finally have the basis for commonality, something of a level playing field when we discuss ECM, a term that -- let's face it -- has come to mean anything to anyone.
So to be clear, if you are a buyer of ECM (Document and Records Management) technology, you should insist on business process management functionality that's (wherever possible) BPEL compliant, and a repository that's CMIS compliant. Yet as subscribers to our ECM advisory service know all too well, not all vendors have matched their enthusiasm for these standards with commensurate technical support in their offerings.
To be sure neither standard represents a silver bullets. Nonetheless they will likely help save you major headaches in the future should you come to change suppliers. This in and of itself is a huge step forward for our industry.
Likewise, though not a standard as such, I highly recommend that you make use of the ECM3 Maturity Model (via here or here) and undertake a simple assessment of your organization, where it is at now and where it needs to be in the future. Thousands have already done so and feedback has been extremely positive.
PAS 89 may not be finalized yet, but it too makes for a great introductory document to ensure that both business and technology get on the same page from the get-go.
These days there is simply too much content flying through our organizations. We will never get it all under control, but a common understanding of the problem and the potential solutions available -- alongside avoiding vendor lock-in -- can certainly help in the battle.