Users Declare Independence from ECM

July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! In honor of the day in which Americans celebrate their independence, we thought we would talk a bit about users declaring their independence from their ECM systems.

A while ago, Dan Anderson, CEO and Co-Founder of SeeUnity, wrote a piece about users wanting to be “unchained from the enterprise.” We have also talked a lot in the past about cloud and the ability for users to interact with their content on the go. As experts in ECM integration, synchronization, and migration, we have seen often the kinds of use cases where organizations are looking for a solution to allow their employees to work from business trips or at home. In certain industries, like legal or government, there are a lot of security factors involved with letting their users work remotely. So, they have a lot to consider when a user wants to work remotely.

Why users declare independence from their ECM

There are a few reasons why users want to flee their document management system and thrive on their own. Commonly, we have seen users that just want to be mobile. Another common reason for declaring independence is that the users feel that the ECM or DM they are required to use is too complicated to use. A problem that arises when users feel this way is that content begins to live outside of the repository of record. This can cause additional security issues when concerning sensitive data. Last, users might declare their independence simply because they are untrained in security or information governance initiatives. When they are completely naïve about something, there is a good chance they will be doing it wrong.

But what happens when your users declare independence?

Well, empower them! Don’t let your IT department become a foe of your users. Implement solutions that will make users’ independence easier, while still creating allies between them and IT. Something we suggest as experts is creating a bi-directional synchronization between the system they want to work in and your ECM or repository of record. In recent cases, users want to use OneDrive to access their ECM or DM content while on the go. Unfortunately, the organization they work for doesn’t seem to have a secure way to synchronize content back and forth between their ECM/DM to OneDrive.

This is where we come into play. We can help your IT department securely allow users to synchronize their content between the two systems. This way it is a win-win situation for all those involved. Another benefit to this is that you make your organization competitive against others. You will have the tools and knowledge in place to offer mobile working to any incoming personnel.

What else can you do?

Another thing you can do is implement easier ways for users to interact with their content. Perhaps the use of a SharePoint intranet for internal collaboration is of better use than users working directly in DM. In this case, we can use our Fusion Content Integration to surface DM content into a SharePoint intranet to make it easier for users to work. Often, users are fed up with the complexity of the user interface of their ECM system, and they want an easier way to interact with their content. So give it to them!

You could also consider a system migration. Yes, they are time-consuming, costly, and stressful, however, if you’re ECM is still living in the 90s, your users will be begging for a new system. Survey how your users feel about the system, what parts of it they hate or love. Then evaluate other systems to give them what they really want. Contact migration experts, like SeeUnity, to get their take on the situation. Then decide which path is best for you.

Don’t forget to train your users on the importance of why the ECM is implemented in the first place. More than likely, in an industry like government or legal, your ECM is meant to protect your data from outside sources. Provide training to new employees and refresher courses to make sure everyone is within compliance of the organization’s rules.


Independence is far from the worst thing in the world. However, organizations must be vigilant to not let users completely overhaul processes that deal with security. It is in your best interest to work with your users and figure out how to best address their needs for independence. Give them the opportunity to have some choice in how they interact with their content. Create an alliance with your users, and work together to find the best solutions for everyone. Let us remember what independence brought the United States! A little bit of war in the beginning, but 200+ years of innovation, unity, and baseball!

Posted on: July 5, 2017