January 29th, 2007 | Published in Google Enterprise
How do you measure the value of a CM / DM system? Do you measure it by its purchase price? The time it takes to deploy? The cost of maintaining it over time? Or do you tend to measure it more subjectively - do you calculate the benefit to your organisation in terms of its potential efficiency and productivity in time saving and document location?
Whichever way you calculate the value of your systems, your users may have a very different view of the world and ask just one simple question: What Can It Do For Me? And the truth of the matter is, if what is on offer is not as effective, as quick, or as easy as their current behaviours of ringing around to find documents or duplicating work, then users will feel underserved and adoption will undoubtedly suffer. Which of course will have disastrous effects on value, whichever way you calculate it.
This was just the case with the Hampshire Police, here in England, who spent £11m (well over $20m USD) during 2 years in their customization a much needed records management system aimed at making the working lives of county's police more pleasant and productive. But, it missed simply because it was just too difficult to use and too time consuming to learn how to use. So the net result here was that officers just simply chose not to use the system, leaving a large hole in the budget and even larger one in the deployment calendar.
There is a lesson to be learnt from this cautionary tale, and in this case the calculation of value and the route to success would have been: Usability = Adoption = Value.