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Many Unhappy Returns? Re-Connect Your Justification and Evaluation Criteria

When you go to a conference, do you attend the case study sessions to hear about successes achieved or disasters experienced? You may say you go for the successes, but be let’s be honest: we all go for the disasters in the same way we all go to NASCAR to watch the collisions. (“Poor sucker! Sure am glad that’s not me!”)

The truth of the matter is that many information management disasters share a single fault that has nothing to do with how well the solution actually performed. Specifically, it’s a simple yet fundamental disconnect between the metrics used to justify the purchase and the criteria used to assess its effectiveness – if indeed its effectiveness is measured at all.

Think about it: most of the work at the beginning of a project has to do with analyzing the economics associated with expanding or replacing a content or process management solution – but after the fact, most of the work has to do with people’s discomfort with having either to change the way they work and/or to work with someone else in a new way than before.

Ironically, many such solutions are installed precisely because organizations want people to change their business processes and/or to collaborate better with each other. But they spend so much time up-front on the dollars and cents that they never get around to the specifics of those desired changes, and the complaints inevitably roll in far too late to do much about them.

We’ve heard it a thousand times: “I wish I knew before we implemented that we would have to spend so much time on the process, but I can’t afford to stop and go back now.”

The other irony is that once solutions are put in place, they usually are not subject to post-mortem cost-benefit analyses. It’s almost as if the attitude is, “that money is spent already, so what does it matter?” So the question of expense, which so dominated the conversation at the outset, often never again gets raised, leaving qualitative experiential anecdotes to frame the ultimate evaluation.

If this sounds familiar, then give me a shout [617 383 4655] – I have a way to keep this from happening and would love to chat with you about it. That’s what I’m here for, after all!

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