Surviving the Ascent to
EIM Maturity

There are companies out there for whom Engineering Information Management is a critical component of a well-oiled machine, then there’s the rest – the majority. It seems like an uphill struggle – an uphill struggle while carrying 10 O&M manuals down the hall, while being pushed and prodded at every step by Engineers who want version something of the drawing Frank did last Tuesday… or was it Tom on Friday. Never mind, you know which drawing it is right?

As the volume of content grows, that hill becomes a mountain and the ascent requires not just determination but the right tools and support from the right people along the path. Why bother though? What’s the goal you’re trying to reach at the top?

We like to call that distant goal at the summit ‘EIM Maturity’. It might sound like a euphemism for an aging workforce but is simply the idea that you are already passionate about – achieving excellence in information management.

There are seven summits that must be surmounted on the journey to EIM maturity. With a bit of luck – and several billion years of geology – this happens to coincide with the fact that the world’s seven highest mountains form the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge. Each of our seven challenges to EIM Maturity correspond to one of the seven mountains, a nice little analogy allowing us to add some pretty mountain photos to presentations. These challenges can be captured in seven words, Organization, Control, Process, System, External, Compliance and Strategy.

Standardizing processes and/or introducing cultural change is not quite the same as climbing the highest mountains on seven continents. You won’t need to be as physically fit and you probably won’t get as cold but the metaphor does serve to describe the journey you are embarking on and the need to be prepared for what’s to come.

If you’re sitting at base camp in Everest with a Canada Goose jacket, a woolly hat and a sturdy pair of boots you got on sale from Walmart and plan on reaching the summit today then sorry, I’m not holding your hand on the climb. I’ll take your photo and tag you on Twitter as you disappear into the clouds though so at least there’s a lasting record of your attempt.

Every climber needs the right tools, for the right summit and the right conditions to succeed and in this analogy your organization is the climber and the tools are the software and processes. We know it can be a scary journey ahead but just as it’s important that you ask the mountaineering expert for advice the same applies to reaching EIM Maturity. You don’t need to do it alone. Share your experiences and your plans, warn others of the dangers ahead on particular routes and when you yourself stumble and fall – don’t be afraid to admit that your original plan wasn’t quite right. It’s not dangerous to stumble on the ascent, but it is dangerous to keep stumbling and ignore the warning signs without learning from what you’ve experienced so far.