How to choose right vendor and enterprise content management (ECM) system
How to choose right ECM vendor and system
Enterprise content management (ECM) solutions can help your teams collaborate and communicate more effectively, access critical information faster, and reduce workflow disruptions.
In today's world, digital document management plays a key role. But how do you know which provider and system is right for you?
Here are three practical ways to make sure you choose right vendor and system for your organization.
With ECM solutions that are about 30 years old, it is best to look for a system with a large installed base as this shows that system has proven itself in market. It also means that vendor already has many use cases and has received significant feedback, often leading to product improvements. At same time, there are some ECM systems on market based on outdated architectures, which is also not good. Your ECM solution should be at least 10-15 years old, so you need to make sure your system is future proof.
At end of day, you need a balance of experience and cutting-edge technology. If you select a new vendor that has only worked with a few hundred customers, vendor may not yet understand breadth of technology and what it takes to make ECM successful.
Ask right questions
When choosing a supplier, find out how long they have been in business, check their customer history, see if their financial statements are available.
Supplier certification is also an important indicator. For example, ISO certification helps ensure safety, reliability, and quality of products and services, including ECM software. These types of certificates can give you insight into vendor's internal processes so you know that their software is of a certain quality.
Do your best to:
The first step in choosing a system is for IT to research technologies on which ECM software is built to ensure it is compatible with your IT infrastructure.
To choose a future-proof system, make sure architecture itself uses widely accepted Internet standards and modern applications. To integrate your business applications, they must share components that interact with each other. Most modern forward looking architectures support this level of integration.
Architecture has many aspects and relies on many different technologies. The types of technologies you are looking for today include web applications using HTML 5 and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). It is also important to choose a technology that supports different platforms such as tablets and mobile phones.
Of course, technology is a moving target, and what was designed for future 15 years ago is no longer future-oriented. That's why it's important to choose a provider that constantly adapts to your fitness goals. When you look at how vendors have evolved over years, how well they keep up with technology is also a good indicator of readiness for future.
Be sure to follow these guidelines when investigating and evaluating digital document management systems from various vendors.
Just as your system architecture should be future-proof, your ECM solution should be able to grow with your company, in other words, it should scale in terms of functionality and number of users. Don't make a decision based solely on your current needs, try to imagine your future needs and choose a system that satisfies those future needs.
You can start small, using ECM for one department, multiple workflows, and multiple document types, and end up with an ECM solution across entire organization. When deploying ECM to other departments, system must be robust enough to serve all other users without performance loss.
Because you are distributing ECM to other departments, you may find that you need certain features that you did not expect. If you run out of capacity and capability when you scale your system, you will soon have to start from scratch. That's why it's important to have a comprehensive plan for ECM and consider use cases, scenarios, and capabilities you might need, making sure vendor you're considering has tools to support you.
Please don't do this:
It's best to check with vendor to see if product or service is available as an on-premises installation, a cloud-based application, or both. Many organizations are not ready to move all document management to cloud, but are interested in cloud as platform of future. If you're not ready to move to cloud today, but plan to be in cloud five years from now, solution you choose today should support that and provide an easy and straightforward way to move content to cloud. Otherwise, trying to migrate from on-premises ECM to cloud is often very costly.
Consider your total cost of ownership (TCO)
Another mistake some organizations make when choosing an ECM system is that they don't consider total cost of ownership (TCO). The initial purchase is only a fraction of cost of system. Fixed costs such as upgrades, upgrades and training may also apply. If you don't think about total cost of ownership, you might be in trouble in two or three years.
For example, some updates or upgrades may not be covered by a service agreement, or you may need toBe sure to reprogram settings every time you update your system. This can cause headaches and additional costs, adding to total cost of ownership. To avoid such surprises, you should ask questions in advance to get a complete picture of total cost of ownership.
If you take a strategic approach to ECM selection and implementation (considering scalability, hosting options, and total cost of ownership), likelihood of a successful implementation increases and you get a greater return on your technology investment.