Enterprise content management (ECM) solutions help your team collaborate and communicate more effectively, access key information faster and reduce workflow interruptions.
In today’s world, digital document management is key. But how do you know which vendor and system is right for you?
Here are three practical ways to ensure you choose the right vendor and system for your organization.
Finding A Vendor
At this point, the ECM solutions market is about 30 years old, and it’s best to look for a system with a large installed base, as that indicates the system has proven itself in the marketplace. It also means that the vendor has seen many use cases and received significant feedback, which tends to result in a better product. At the same time, there are also some legacy ECM systems on the market, built on outdated architecture, and that’s not good, either. Your ECM solution should last you at least 10 to 15 years, so you want to make sure the system is able to carry you into the future.
Ultimately, you want a balance of experience and cutting-edge technology. If you choose a new vendor that has only worked with a couple of hundred clients, the vendor probably doesn’t yet understand the full breadth of the technology and what’s needed for ECM success.
Asking The Right Questions
When you’re choosing a vendor, find out how long they’ve been in business, check their customer history and see if their financial reports are available.
Vendor certifications are also an indicator of their quality. An ISO certification, for example, helps ensure the safety, reliability and quality of goods and services, including ECM software. These types of certifications give you a sense of a vendor’s internal process, so that you know to expect a certain quality from their software.
Make Sure You:
- Choose an ECM system with a large installed base (software) and future-proof architecture.
- Assess the vendor in terms of company stability, certifications and other qualifications.
- Look for scalability in terms of functionality and number of users.
Finding A System
The first step in choosing a system is for your IT department to conduct its due diligence to understand the technology the ECM software is built upon and make sure it’s compatible with your IT infrastructure.
To choose a “future-proof” system, make sure that the architecture itself is using the widely adopted standards of the Internet and today’s applications. In order to integrate your business applications, they must share components that allow them to communicate with each other. The most modern, future-proof architecture supports that level of integration.
Architecture has many dimensions, drawing upon a variety of different technologies. The types of technologies you’d be looking for today would include web-based applications using HTML 5 and a service-oriented architecture (SOA). It’s also important to choose a technology that supports a wide variety of platforms that your organization uses, like tablets and mobile phones.
Of course, technology is a moving target, and future-proof technology from 15 years ago is no longer future-proof. That’s why it’s important to choose a vendor that keeps adapting to stay with that moving target. When you look at how a vendor has evolved over the years, how well they’ve kept up with technology is also a good indicator for the future.
For more information on how to select a system to meet your operational and financial needs, look for Part 2 of this blog in the near future.
Ready to learn more about successfully implementing an ECM solution at your organization? Read our free e-book, An ECM Insider’s Guide: The 7 Factors For Success.
Learn more about enterprise content management.