Everything You Wanted to Know About ECM, But Were Afraid to Ask - VeBridge

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Everything You Wanted to Know About ECM, But Were Afraid to Ask

A colleague sent me an email after reading my Pain to Profit white paper. The first line was very satisfying. He said: “I read through your white paper and it made me want to flowchart and optimize my office operations.” He followed up with the following questions:

  • I assume ECM is your software package?
  • What are the competing software packages to your ECM?
  • Why is your software better?
  • Why can’t my IT department do this by developing something similar?
  • Why can’t my staff do the process redesign and optimization?
  • Does it integrate into any ERP system?
  • How scalable is it?

VeBridge Document Imaging AssessmentWow! What great questions! I figured, if he has these questions he’s probably not alone. Hence, this follow-up blog. I’ll address each of his questions in as agnostic and succinct a manner as possible. I had a lot to say about a couple of topics, so I’ve written a couple of companion, drill-down blogs to support these answers.

I assume ECM is your software package?

Funny you should ask. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a strategy. The strategy encompasses several disciplines. These are:

  • The collection of as much content as possible that supports business transactions in a single repository supporting all of the organization’s mission critical operating software, like finance, human resources, ERP, etc.
  • Conducting rigorous Business Process Reengineering analysis on all processes in order to optimize the processes in the context of the tools available through ECM software.
  • The use of rule-based workflows to eliminate human touches, streamline processes and provide standard auditable treatment of similar work flows.
  • Identify complex decision processes that require more of a case management approach and audit them using Business Process Management tools.
  • Assorted records management functions, such as governance and retention management.

In order to achieve the strategy, you need software. My position is that the software products that label themselves “ECM” are simply collections of integrated tools that support the collection, integration, workflow, automation and content management associated with an ECM strategy. So, yes, ECM software is a big part of the mix.

What are the competing software packages to your ECM?

There are dozens. I won’t mention the mom-and-pop or immature newbies, but the ones you will find in the Gartner magic quadrant are OnBase, Perceptive, EMC, FileNet and a couple of Microsoft products. We are expert at implementing OnBase.

Why is your software better?

It’s not. (Please don’t ever tell Hyland I said that!) It’s just different. I believe that any organization, with the help of their technology partner, can either have a huge success or a colossal failure implementing any of the magic quadrant ECM products. This is not my personal opinion. It is supported by facts. The Project Management Institute, in a 2009 study, determined that 68% of technology projects were either cancelled (24%) or “challenged” (44%), leaving only 32% successful! We see the same rate in the world of ECM. There are still too many “old-school” companies who take the easy approach to implementation. They tend to follow one of two paths:

  • Implement the system the same way with every customer, or
  • Automate existing processes in the absence of observation and thought.

These approaches will almost always fail. The key to success is to take the time to truly understand the people, process and technology, and start the simplification of the process from the ground up. The old adage is true, if you automate a flawed process; all you will have is an automated flawed process!

The message here is that the software choice is the easy part…finding the right technology partner to deliver game-changing process improvement is the challenge worth significant study, due diligence and effort. It’s also important for the technology company to do their due diligence. I don’t believe that VeBridge is the right fit for every organization considering ECM. We have referred several organizations to other technology firms.

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