Choosing the right enterprise content management (ECM) solution for the company can be a difficult and overwhelming task. There are a number of providers out there with similar features and functionalities.
The key is finding the solution that addresses your specific needs, preferences and budget. You need to carefully analyse each ECM solution – how it can streamline current operations, enhance document security and reduce costs.
In this post, we provide a list of things you need to consider when choosing the best ECM solution for the business.
First things first: What is ECM?
Enterprise content management or ECM offers an efficient way to store, manage and share all company content. It takes a holistic approach to information management and:
- Organises all data into one central and secure document pool.
- Improves workflows enabling staff to easily set up and access all documents.
- Enhances document security with specific access levels for employees plus a record log of who accessed the information and when.
An ECM solution also helps convert paper documents to digital format, so they can be easily tracked, managed and controlled.
So what things should you consider when choosing an ECM solution?
If your company has decided that it needs an ECM solution, and you’ve been tasked to find the right one for the business, here are the top 10 things that you need to consider:
1. Alignment with business objectives
Choosing an ECM solution is an important company investment. This is why it should help your business move forward and achieve its overall objectives.
- What does management and the rest of the business expect from the solution?
- How will it impact current processes and workflows?
When analysing a specific solution, make sure its features and functions can add value to your current operations.
2. Ease of use
Like any other software or platform, to maximise adoption across the business, the ECM solution needs to be easy to use and perform at expected levels for individual users.
- Is the solution easy to use?
- How much training do the staff need so they can use the ECM properly?
Even with minimal training, staff should be able to improve productivity and easily access and manage the files and documents they need.
3. Ease of integration with existing systems and applications
Sometimes, the longest and most stressful part of any implementation, is the integration with the existing IT environment. The right ECM solution needs to integrate seamlessly with your existing systems and applications.
- How much configuration is required to ensure that it works with existing systems?
- How much time will the IT team spend on managing the ECM integration on an ongoing basis?
In other words, your IT or development team should not be spending a lot of time and resources just to make the ECM work within the current network. An ECM which requires little or no programming would be best, as it should provide you with enough compatibility across a wide range of systems and applications.
The ECM should be able to grow as your company and needs grow.
- Is it flexible enough to adjust to increasing workflow requirements?
- Is it able to scale with the addition of new staff members as the business expands? Can you add more features and capabilities to support future needs?
That way you aren’t basing your decision on your current company size and needs, and your ECM is future-proof.
5. Cloud readiness
Storing data in the cloud can provide numerous benefits to the business – including increased scalability, accessibility and security.
- Is the solution cloud ready?
- How secure is the solution?
Consider a cloud-based ECM so you can easily access and manage documents within a secure private or public cloud. The keyword is secure - so you need to review the provider’s security measures and protocols.
Nowadays, people are increasingly accessing documents and files through their laptops, phones or tablets - and your ECM needs to keep up.
- Can staff easily access the required information anywhere, anytime across different devices and platforms?
- Can staff upload and edit documents on the go?
This is especially important for companies who manage a remote and mobile workforce.
7. Automation and digitisation
Of course, your ECM solution should be able to automatically capture, process and store paper documents into a digital format.
That way, you can:
- Minimise the human error of manually processing files,
- Increase the accuracy of documents; and,
- Improve productivity with easy access to any needed information.
And it will free up a lot of physical space, too.
Is the ECM solution secure? Security is an ongoing concern for many businesses – especially if the data is stored in cloud servers.
Your ECM needs to be able to:
- Grant individual and group access levels and permissions
- Do regular automated back-ups
- Monitor document usage
- Provide total visibility and control
It might be worth asking about measures and procedures in the event of a data breach.
Complying with regulatory requirements is a constant struggle for any business - and unfortunately, the regulations around digital data are getting more and more complex.
That is why it’s essential that your ECM solution is flexible enough to adjust to any record-keeping and security requirements.
10. Provider experience and support
It’s important to consider the experience, expertise and track record of the ECM solution provider so that you can work with them more as a partner than just a product vendor.
- Does the vendor or provider specialise in document management solutions?
- What about training and ongoing support?
You need to carefully consider the service and support to be provided before, during and after implementation. This includes a training program for all staff at all levels of technical skill.
If you'd like to make sure you choose the ECM solution that is best suited to your business, download our comprehensive ECM Checklist.
KYOCERA Document Solutions provides document management solutions with ECOSYS technology to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) and minimise the impact on the environment, while delivering greater productivity, reliability and uptime.