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The Why? The How? And the What? (of Document Management)

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Guest post by AIIM Chief Evangelist John Mancini

I’ve been “doing Document Management” at AIIM for more than two decades.

Perhaps admitting that is the first step on the path to my ultimate rehabilitation.

But seriously, I’ve been thinking a lot about DocuWare’s blog post from last month about the document management “not now” problem -- Why “Not Now” is the Wrong Document Management Choice – in the context of my two decades at AIIM.

Truth be told, the “not now” issue has been a persistent challenge for document management, and one that has bugged me for a long time.  And the more I think about that issue, the more I think about Simon Sinek’s TED Talk and book, Start With Why.



Here’s Sinek’s core point … 

“Every single organization on the planet, even our own career, functions on three levels:  1) What we do, 2) How we do it, and 3) Why we do it. Every organization and individual knows WHAT they do. For an organization, these are the products they sell or the services they offer. For an individual, it is their job title or roles. Some organizations and individuals know HOW they do what they do. These are the things they feel set them apart from their competition; the things they think make them special or different from everyone else. Very few people and very few organizations can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do. ‘Why’ is a purpose, a cause, or a belief. The ‘Why’ is about our contribution to impact and serve others.” 

Sinek believes that when we communicate, we most often communicate from the outside-in, and usually stop short of ever getting to the WHY.  So when I think about how we as an industry communicate about document management, it usually goes something like this:

WHAT?  “We are a software company.”

HOW?  “We provide software to help you capture, manage, control, preserve, and deliver the content related to business processes. I know it sounds complicated, but trust us.”

WHY?  “Because it’s good for you.”  Or if we push it, “Because you can reduce the cost of X process by Y%.”

Why How What.pngSinek believes that the key to successful communication – and I think one of the keys to overcoming the document management “not now” problem – is to start with a more emotional WHY and then move outward. Think about brands like Apple and Nike and how they approach the marketplace.

To the extent that we have talked about the WHY of document management, we usually do it in the context of cost savings for some particular niched process. And while that’s great – not every enterprise IT solution can make that claim! – I would like to challenge us to think bigger and more emotionally.

I would argue that there are a number of bigger WHYs about document management that are not fully understood.  Here are just a few – I’m sure there are more.

WHY Document Management?  It frees your people – your most important asset – from the manual drudgery of their jobs.

WHY Document Management?  It provides a consistent platform for individual employees to self-improve and automate their own processes.

WHY Document Management?  It gives you a place to start on the journey to Digital Transformation.

WHY Document Management?  It is critical to keeping your customer’s information private and secure.

WHY Document Management?  In a Digital Age, It’s the central nervous system of your business.

What do you think? Anyone want to offer a WHY?

Let us show you the Why, the How, and the What with a personalized demo of DocuWare's all-in-one ECM solution. Schedule your personalized demo today

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