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East or West, ECM is ECM

I’m halfway through a week of meetings here in Hong Kong, and today I was struck by the fact that, different though the landscape is than what I’m used to back in Boston, there is much I find familiar.

There are cars, trucks, and buses – but they drive on the left side of the road. There are street signs and neon signs and stop signs – but they are written in Chinese as well as English. There’s a subway system with color-coded multiple lines – but it’s very quiet and kept swept clean.

And there are issues of information management and user adoption and compliance – but those are pretty much what they are at home.

I tell you this because the sit-downs I’m having with folks in academia, government and industry here in Asia are confirming my long-standing suspicion that the keys to success in ECM, BPM, and all the other ‘M’s are universal:

  • business needs must be clearly understood to ensure a sound technology decision is made
  • human factors are more important than technical functionality to maximizing value
  • controlled and standardized vocabularies are vital to both findability and interoperability
  • having policies is the best policy

This isn’t to say that there aren’t differences between East and West, or even between from Hong Kong and Singapore and Malaysia. But as far as I can tell, these manifest themselves more in the details than the broadstrokes – just as they do in departments of an enterprise rather than the overall operation.

So perhaps it’s not that different after all!

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