There has been talk of creating enterprise content management (ECM) platforms for years. They typically do not live up to the hype or expectations. The upfront investment typically required dooms most projects before they deploy their first business solution. It has reached the point where if an organization wants to implement ECM I typically walk away if I cannot persuade them otherwise.
That doesn’t mean that the need for ECM platforms don’t exist. Given the ever increasing creation of content today, it is even more important to be able to rapidly solve content-centric problems without creating numerous content silos. What is needed is an alternate approach to gaining the benefits of an ECM platform without forcing a big-bang approach to ECM with its large upfront investment.
The answer is to pick an ECM system the same way an organization picks a database system. Choose based upon the system’s ability to scale and meet the needs of the organization. An open API (application programming interface) allows the exposure of content services that can be used to add content capabilities to other applications and to build new solutions. Being open allows an organization to move forward without worrying information being bound to that system forever.
It starts simply enough. Your company needs a system for managing its contracts process. The finance department goes out and purchases a contracts system. Being forward thinking, they pick one that is cloud-based so they don’t have to maintain the infrastructure. Things are going well until…
- The ability to track supporting documents from within the system is identified shortly after launch
- After finance loads supporting documents, those documents are now stored in multiple locations
- Nobody knows which version is the current version any longer
- Groups outside of finance need access to the contracts but licenses are limited
- Contracts need to be linked to their CRM and ERP records but nobody can figure out how
The contracts process may be working well but information is trapped in a system that is closed-off from the rest of the organization. The only way to have information everywhere it is needed is to duplicate it which leads to complications in managing information.
Reston, VA – January 12, 2016 – At the end of last year, TeraThink was awarded a new contract by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide complementary financial management services to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), Associate Chief Financial Officer for Financial Systems (ACFO-FS). TeraThink will be providing expert level support for incident management as well as SAP-specific training with the ultimate goal of creating operational improvements and efficiencies within the Financial Management Modernization Initiative (FMMI) environment. The TeraThink team will deliver superior software development and effective training resources with proven implementation methods including SAP ASAP, Agile, and traditional waterfall programs. Todd Barber, Managing Principal with TeraThink said, “This award is a testament to the excellent value brought to USDA by the TeraThink Team over the last few years. We are extremely proud to continue our ongoing support at OCFO and look forward to the further development of their people and systems.”
TeraThink was awarded a prime contract to provide System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) support services to EOUSA for their budgeting and payroll forecasting system, USABudget. The solicitation was released on GSA Schedule IT70, open to all businesses (large and small) on the vehicle. TeraThink proposed an approach that integrated traditional project management activities, including project planning and scheduling, with Agile principles for SDLC execution.
I used to be part of the “non-believers” when it comes to agile software development. I’ve since converted to an agile evangelist of sorts, and appreciate the significant benefits the agile approach has to offer. While my own conversion was not so easy, I’ll explain the transformation, what I consider to be the key program management benefits associated with the agile approach, and a few challenges that I think still remain.
Over the past two years, organizations of all types and sizes have adopted the agile methodology for the delivery of projects in some or all of their programs. While many are recognizing successes and tangible improvements from agile software development, many others are either struggling with their implementation of agile practices, or are simply not reaping the benefits that they could and should. In our experience, there is no “one size fits all” agile approach or implementation, and it is important for organizations to recognize that fact and adjust how you use agile to fit your programs and your processes. Also key is setting realistic expectations and defining specific goals for your agile adoption, and not simply expecting agile to solve every challenge or struggle you have in your software development process. Through your agile implementation planning, we encourage you to be cognizant of a handful of common pitfalls that we have seen contribute to marginalizing our clients’ agile implementation success.