The ECM industry has evolved rapidly in recent years, alongside the content types we manage and the technologies we implement. As we mentioned in our partner feature, M-Files’ solutions have kept abreast of these evolving demands. Their system provides cloud content management that supports integration and migration between platforms, and uses artificial intelligence to automate and expedite workflows within the system, in addition to an array of other features.
These advances are significant for the ECM industry. However, it is crucial that we support stakeholders’ technical understanding of these products as we elicit requirements because they may not fully understand the capabilities available to them. We recently encountered this issue in our work with a client who chose to implement the M-Files platform.
During the vendor selection process, only higher-level stakeholders met with M-Files and saw product demos, so we found ourselves simultaneously explaining the platform while eliciting requirements from the rest of the team. Sensing that many stakeholders lacked knowledge of the product and its capabilities, we arranged vendor training sessions for them while we finished our first round of requirements.
This training was a “light-bulb” moment for many of these stakeholders. While we initially focused on helping them understand how they would interact with M-Files as the end users of a repository, with its metadata features and much more, they had not fully grasped the some of the administrative features available to them. This new understanding helped stakeholders identify even more requirements needs.
For example, while we had integrated M-Files approval workflows into our requirements in some ways, stakeholders recognized additional ways to implement them, such as in the approval process for board meeting minutes.
Another key area of concern for the client was the document retention process, in which each document needed review and approval for deletion after its designated retaining period. In light of the stakeholder’s new understanding of the administrative features available to them, we identified and created new workflows to facilitate this process.
After stakeholders had a better technical understanding of the M-Files platform, we were able to revise and improve our requirements to more completely meet their needs. This experience revealed an important consideration for the elicitation process as the landscape of ECM, and the tools it utilizes, evolves: to ensure that we build complete requirements, we must help stakeholders understand the technical capabilities of the products we deploy.