It’s not good enough for today’s successful organizations to just implement an an Enterprise ContentManagement (ECM) solution and hope for the best; it takes time – time to plan, time to adjust, and especially time to choose the right vendor. In fact, when companies fail to take the necessary time needed to accurately choose the best vendor for them, more than half of those large ECM projects fail.
This goes to show that one of the most cost-effective, positive, and beneficial steps you can take when implementing a new Enterprise Content Management system is to not rush through the process of choosing a vendor. According to AIIM,, the most important thing businesses can do is take time to plan, and that includes considering the vendor, the solution, the offerings of an ECM, and more.
To ensure that your organization’s ECM implementation will be a success, the following are six points in order of importance that you need to consider:
1. Gather Requirements – Before anything else is done, you must be sure you have gathered a full list of your organization’s needs to be addressed by the ECM solution you will choose. To the extent that you have time and resources available to do so, you must define your requirements. ECM is a huge product category, and ECM vendors provide a very wide spectrum of products and product categories. It is vital for a prospective end user to define and understand what functionality is needed before it can be matched with vendor capabilities.
2. Choose the Best Vendor for Your Organization – It can take a considerable amount of time to research vendor options, inquire with their customers, and to converse with potential vendors, but it must be done to ensure your ECM implementation isn’t doomed to failure. Four of the most important questions to ask every potential candidate include:
a. What kind of ongoing training and support do you provide?
b. What is your technology platform, and how scalable is it?
c. How much do you know about our industry?
d. How much do you know about our line-of-business applications?
3. Choose an ECM Solution that Integrates Easily with Your Third Party Applications – It is absolutely critical that the solution you choose is able to easily be integrated with the systems,programs, and applications your organization is currently using. If you want a solution that is going to meet your needs and deliver the expected benefits, it must integrate seamlessly with your ERP system and other critical applications.
4. Ensure You’ll Receive Plenty of Post-Implementation Support – It’s vital that you know and understand how your post-implementation support will work, even though the focus of an Enterprise Content Management System is typically on installation and configuration. Be sure to meet with technical support staff and build a relationship with support personnel, which can really save you time, money, and frustration in the future.
5. Be Sure You’ll Use What You Will Pay For – It won’t make too much financial sense if you are planning on implementing a solution for a specific department, but are paying for an entire massive software suite upfront. Will your organization use the entire suite, and will it still be cost-effective to do so? The ECM you choose should be flexible – you want a solution that will be able to help you maximize your investment not just now, but in the future as well. You want to be able to use it for multiple departments if necessary too, if you are planning on purchasing an entire suite. You will need it to easily accommodate your organizational changes through time.
6. Ensure that the Chosen ECM has Flexible Deployment Options – This applies to both in the cloud and on-premises applications. You will want the solutions integrator to have a proven approach when it comes to helping organizations switch between these two options (cloud and on-site) as needs change through time. You may also want to consider whether a potential solution can accommodate international locations and multiple offices as well, if that is something your organization may need now or in the future.
When choosing an Enterprise Content Management solution, above all else, you will need to make sure you spend the required time needed for thoroughly investigating all of the above points and options.Choosing the solution that will not meet the needs of your organization is a costly mistake, and the best way to ensure that yours won’t become one of the 50% that fail is to not rush through the process of finding the best solution for your needs and your organization not just for now, but for the future as well.