The right enterprise content management solutions can go a long way toward streamlining your business operations and ultimately increasing productivity and profitability. Enterprise content management, or ECM, basically describes a set of methods, strategies and tools designed to optimize the organization and storage of all the documents and other content that a business relies on to complete its ongoing processes. An effective enterprise content management strategy doesn’t always come easily, though. If your organization is interested in optimizing its strategies for managing content, these seven tips should help make it a little easier.

1. Communication is Key

It would be virtually impossible to execute an effective ECM strategy without a great deal of communication, which becomes more complex and difficult the larger an organization is. There’s no way to achieve your enterprise content management goals without the support of every team member, though, so communication must be constant. And even after everyone has the information they need, reminders and refreshers are always helpful. New communication efforts are also necessary whenever updates or changes are made.

2. Consider Change Management Theory

Change management is a set of theories about the most effective approaches to taking organizations, teams and individuals from a current state of being to a more desirable prospective state. One of the goals of change management is to motivate the individuals, teams and organizations in question to want to achieve that goal for themselves, rather than feeling as if they’re forced into it for no good reason. People and departments must understand the benefits of this new ECM strategy, and have all the knowledge and training they need to be effective, even if that knowledge may seem like common sense that doesn’t need to be communicated.

3. Define and Measure Key Performance Indicators

Without a clear outline of what your organization is looking to achieve, and an effective system to monitor whether that is actually happening, it is virtually impossible to know whether your ECM is effective. Monitoring of key performance indicators can be built into your ongoing ECM processes as long as the data is routinely maintained and reported, resulting in better long-term achievements.

4. Make an Ongoing Commitment

In order to maintain an optimal enterprise content management system, it’s necessary for the entire organization to commit to this goal. Failure to be consistent in your ECM practices can have very serious results, including regulatory noncompliance (and resulting fees and penalties), the risk of litigation and loss of business to competitors. Everyone within the organization must understand what is at stake and be onboard, particularly the leaders who are responsible for organizing and communicating with large teams of people.

5. Get Everyone Onboard to Make it Work

Implementing a new enterprise content management strategy can be difficult and expensive, and may seem like a lot of extra work at the beginning for managers and team members alike, but there is much to gain. The new initiative can only work if everyone understands what they and the entire organization have to gain, and if they act accordingly. Getting everyone involved and keeping them engaged is essential to effective ECM.

6. Look Ahead, but Remain Grounded in the Now

It’s important to be very strategic and calculated when planning and executing your new ECM strategy. Your organization must look at the big picture and consider where it wants to be several years from now, but before any of that can happen, there must be a plan for what’s going to take place over the next year in order to begin achieving those long-term goals. Investing in professional enterprise content management services can be very helpful during this planning stage, because the experts have seen what works and what doesn’t, and can help create a game plan that’s sure to work.

7. Technology is Important, but it Isn’t Everything

Technology is an essential component of all enterprise content management solutions, but without effective planning and execution, it can be very limited. It’s important to consider how that technology will fit into the enterprise, where to begin, what functions and tools you require, who will be responsible for managing the technology and how it’s going to be implemented.