What’s the WOW factor of your ECM system?


Reinoud Kaasschieter

November 14, 2014

There are three responses to a piece of design — yes, no and WOW! WOW is the one to aim for. (Milton Glaser)

Description of the axes and attributes of the Kano ModelDoes this sound familiar? An ECM project that is less likely to succeed? A system which gets a lukewarm reception? A project which doesn’t meet the business case? A system that the users just want to avoid? Then it is very likely that your new system doesn’t have the desired characteristics which makes it hot. The system doesn’t make the expected benefits tangible. Now is the time to be more critical about the demands and wishes you want to fulfill with your ECM system. By trying to determine which features of the product really do matter.

Most of the ECM projects that I am familiar with, start with long list of demands, wishes and other requirements. The system to be built has to meet all those requirements. Well, maybe not all requirements. The list is divided into necessary (must haves), very desirable (should haves), fun (could have) and future requirements. But such a subdivision does not give you insight into that particular set of requirements that makes your ECM system a success. Cause: users often take all those necessary requirements for granted and they won’t get excited about the new system.

Professor Noriaki Kano from Japan has developed a model that tries to identify the properties of a system leading to greater user acceptance. This model is mainly applied in the online world. A website should be, for example, so attractive that the visitors of the site will not navigate away but stay and eventually buy stuff. A good website will have features that tempt the visitor to stay on the site.

Prof. Kano divided the requirements into three groups: basic needs (Must-be Qualities), performance needs (One-dimensional Qualities) and delighters (Attractive Qualities). We should focus especially to the last needs: those requirements that lead to satisfaction, to enthusiasm and eventually will result in users using the ECM system with content.

The Kano model helps you to divide functionality in order for you to know which ones you should in any case (basic needs), which ones are indispensable for acceptance (performance needs) and which ones will provide the WOW-experience (delighters).

All systems must have at least the basic functionality built in. They won’t result in extreme satisfaction, but will account for extreme discontent when not present. Base requirements for an ECM system are, for example: the availability of the system, documents can always be found, content is never lost.

Fulfilling the performance needs can result in more satisfaction if they’re present in sufficient quantities, if not leaving the users dissatisfied Examples: usability (though that’s difficult to measure), good response times, the right reporting capabilities.

A common mistake is that there is too much attention for the basic needs or performance needs. But does meeting those requirements result in the proper level of excitement for your users, that they become so excited that they want to put in extra time and effort when using the system?

The delight-functionality makes the difference, this is the WOW factor! If these needs are not present, there is little to worry about, because people don’t actually expect them. But by bringing them in, you’ll transcend expectations and surprise your users.

My advice is: go out and look for the WOW factor of your system. Don’t forget the other needs, which are the foundations, the base, of the system. But make sure you identify the WOW factors. You and your supplier will get a clearer picture what your ECM system is really about.

I would like to know what you particularly like in the ECM systems you use. What do you want to have in order to do exactly those things that move your organization forward? How do you ensure that your organization operates effectively and efficiently with ECM? Let me give you some hints:

  1. Using the familiar user interface of Microsoft Office for accessing the ECM system. Users can easily find their way into the document management system. E.g.: the seamless integration of Microsoft Office with SharePoint.
  2. Unlocking the ECM system through mobile apps. Your users can access current files and documents anywhere and anytime. E.g.: the mobile platform of Open Text.
  3. Knowing what’s really contained in your documents. Extracting knowledge from documents and making new discoveries with this knowledge. E.g.: the extensive and substantive text analysis capabilities of IBM Watson Content Analytics.

Is there something more you would want in your ECM that I may be missing out on?

Please feel free to drop me a note to take the conversation ahead!

Drawing CC BY-SA 3.0 by Craigbrown via Wikipedia

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