Considerations and Best Practices for your Next ECM Project

By: Aaron DeLong, Rob Beckman & David Lim
Electronic Content Management (ECM) projects and solutions require strategic and practical planning for the rewards to be realized. By establishing a plan early in the project life cycle you can get off to the right start and guarantee a better return on your investment.

AXIA’s Top Ten Considerations for your next ECM Project:

  1. Implement a structured data governance system for all impacted parties (from low level to high levels) in your organization to ensure the most important and highest-quality data is captured and maintained.
  2. Identify all types of documents you want to capture and the groups who will be using them.
  3. Document workflows for each document, including normal and exception processing.
  4. Identify the different ways these documents will be consumed (internal, mobile, web).
  5. Identify document retention policies with legal and business representatives.
  6. Start small with a Proof of Concept (PoC) and work your way up to the big stuff.
  7. Understand how back-file conversions will work with new workflows and the added value in doing so.
  8. Determine the single system that will be utilized as the “source of truth” to ensure synchronization of document metadata and decrease labor inefficiency by having to manually input extraneous information.
  9. Identify information that needs to be redacted for internal and external consumption.
  10. Scan documents that hold the most value/ROI for the business, such as most retrieved, furthest from retention expiration, etc.

AXIA’s Best Practices for Implementing an ECM Business Solution for your Business

  • ESTABLISH A DATA GOVERNANCE BOARD: By including broad membership – from executive to staff level, technical to business – this will allow you to develop a plan that can work for everyone in the organization.
  • IDENTIFY ALL OF THE DOCUMENTS YOUR  ORGANIZATION  GENERATES: Invest the time to include all of your internal and external documents. Consider how you’d classify inbound documents, and don’t forget a miscellaneous document type for odds and ends.
  • SPEND THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND DOCUMENT WORKFLOW: This can give you an opportunity to identify areas to optimize while you are implementing an ECM solution.
  • IDENTIFY AND UNDERSTAND HOW DOCUMENTS CAN BE CONSUMED TODAY AND TOMORROW: Consumers no longer only want to view a PDF document on a website. Now, expectations include viewing and accessing documents on mobile devices and more.
  • DOCUMENT RETENTION & POLICY ARE KEY: Every business needs to have a  retention policy in place, and should strive to adhere to it. Remember, a good ECM solution can make your retention process almost automatic and provide proof that stands up in court and helps prevent legal issues.
  • ECM IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT: Everyone wants to start off as fast as they can to get a quick return. However, the proper foundation needs to be in place for your ECM to reach full potential. You will learn as you go through a PoC and this will allow you to deliver a better setup for your business.
  • STREAMLINE PROCESSES: Converting your old files to the new system can help you streamline processes and clean up old file cabinets, but keep in mind that the new ECM system has to be designed to accommodate this.
  • DETERMINE THE  MINIMUM  AMOUNT  OF  INDEXING  INFORMATION:  Evaluating and pre-determining the minimum amount for indexing information, and which system will be the ‘source of truth,’ is necessary for your ECM system. This is important because too much manually entered metadata increases opportunities for error and the complexity of recasting metadata when business rules change.
  • IDENTIFY REDACTABLE INFORMATION: Resources internal and external to your organization may have access to your documented information, so identifying what needs to be redacted for external consumption is important and build into your workflow.
  • PLAN YOUR TIME ACCORDINGLY: Scanning backfile information can be time consuming, so be sure to figure this into your schedule. Start by scanning the most valuable information first before you try to complete the whole backfile.

    Download the full version of our ECM Considerations and Best Practices HERE.

Contact our ECM experts at or 877-292-5503.



About the Authors

Aaron DeLong is a Senior Project Manager, Senior Business Analyst and Solution Architect with professional experience since 1998. Aaron differentiates himself by providing a 360-degree perspective on information technology:  as a trusted advisor maximizing the value of IT in client organizations, as a staff IT professional working to deliver value through technology, and as a finance and warehouse operations manager leveraging technology to meet department and business objectives.

Aaron’s combination of technical and functional knowledge along with an ease of communication in both circles make him very well suited for roles that include elements of requirements analysis, prototyping, CRP, data conversion, training, documentation, and project/program management.  In addition, Aaron has had past success in core technology roles including interface design, enterprise data architecture, data warehouse design, supply chain systems analysis, and test management.

Rob Beckman is a Senior Program Manager, Senior Project Manager and Solutions Architect with decades of professional experience. Rob has worked hands on for small companies in various capacities and also as a director in a large corporation leading large teams of technical people and turning around under preforming teams, which include teams of: system administrators, database administrators, IT asset management, procurement, application developers, helpdesk, and desktop support. 

Additionally, Rob’s expertise includes a wide-range of industry experience delivering solutions for public and private industries, M&A activities, full SDLC experience with custom and commercial systems including selection, prototyping, architecting, migration and support for software applications.


David Lim is a Business & Technology Leader, Program & Project Manager, Product Owner, Senior Business Analyst and Scrum Master with a Lean, Agile and Entrepreneurial mindset. With expert solutions delivery focus, David excels in his ability to perform at multiple levels, leading strategic, cross-functional, business-facing and technical initiatives.

David is able to handle both strategic and tactical work at multiple levels of complexity, while also envisioning, planning, communicating and executing creative solutions to business processes and systems problems. He utilizes a variety of applied methods while leading and developing team members and actively collaborating with key business stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.