Where Software Meets Recordkeeping 

We’ve seen far too many well-planned EDRMS projects fail. Here’s a sample of our observations:

1)    IT and RM have to work closely together. When these two critical players work independently, rarely is the project successful.

2)    Top-Down Works, Bottom-up fails. A well-meaning RIM professional can make a compelling case for user adoption, but unless the incentive is pushed down from the very top of the organization, users will never take the project as seriously as they’ll need to in order to realize the needed level of adoption.

3)    No Roadmap = No Success. EDRMS projects are complex, and they require a fundamental change in the way the organization conducts its business. A clear roadmap is essential for ever stakeholder to be on the same page. Who will do what? What is the project accomplishing, and how? What will be the impact on the users?

4)    A strong RIM Operator is essential. Someone has to drive this “vehicle”. Who? What do they have to do, both before and after implementation? Do you know what you need to know? Few RIM professionals have successfully made the change to EDRMS administration – can you?

5)    Measurements have to be applied. There has to be a way to measure your progress, and to tell how successful the project is once it is fully implemented. Clear, unambiguous measures are needed. Without clear measurement metrics, you’re driving blind, and likely to eventually crash.

  • Lack of Focus on Soft Stuff. By “Soft stuff”, we mean cultural change (attitudes), and organizational change, and how these changes are managed. We estimate as much as 75% of a successful EDRMS project should be focused on soft issues. And these issues have to be settled before the software is installed, in order to realize a successful implementation.

  • ​Lack of software understanding. Buyers of EDRMS software rarely understand the recordkeeping capabilities and limitations. There are nearly 200 such features. There are no books to buy that will educate you on these capabilities. There are only vendor training courses, which are not enough. And it’s a monumental challenge for a RIM Administrator to get sophisticated EDRMS software installed on their computer, then self-learn it to the needed level of expertise. It’s nearly impossible for the RIM Administrator to make good decisions about project implementation if they do not sufficiently understand the product’s recordkeeping capabilities and limitations. The vendor’s products are generalized in nature, and need to be substantially customized and configured in order to meet the organization’s specific recordkeeping requirements.

  • Lack of Measurement. How do you know if your EDRMS project is successful? There has to be a way to quantify the system so you know if it’s successful or not, and the degree to which it’s meeting your requirements. Historically, there has never been a means of measuring the efficacy of EDRMS systems. Without such a measure, the prognosis for a successful outcome is extremely poor.

An EDRMS project sounds straightforward to implement. Install the software. Load the File Plan. Train the users. Conduct a pilot. Roll it out. But most all such projects fail. The underlying Document/Content Management system continues on, but the recordkeeping never seems to happen. In some projects, the paper records are tracked by the EDRMS, but no recordkeeping is applied to the electronic records, which is what we set out to accomplish.So why so much failure? RIMtech believes that all of the common points of EDRMS project failure roll up to one of the following three broad, over-arching problem areas: