Tips for Preparing Your Content for a New Enterprise Content Management System

The benefits of an enterprise content management (ECM) solution include improved control of corporate data, greater protection of proprietary information, as well as making business data actionable. An effective ECM strategy will help reduce expenses by improving efficiency and productivity throughout your operations.

ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT ECM?

If you’re considering implementing an ECM solution for your organization, you need to create a detailed plan before you begin, to ensure a successful installation and launch. Here are some questions to ask as you’re creating your plan.

  1. What content should be included?
    The simple answer is, eventually all of your organization’s content could flow through your ECM system, so the information can be properly archived and easily retrieved later in a suitable format.  But honestly, this may not be realistic or cost-effective.  It’s important to break down what could be added today, what could be added in future iterations, and what probably will not be added. 
  2. What platform should you implement?
    The answer to this question is two-fold because ECM includes both hardware and software. On the hardware side, you need to determine if an on-premise server or off-site cloud system (or a hybrid of both) will best meet your current needs, as well as provide the flexibility and scalability needed for growth. To determine the best software to meet your needs, your options will include generic document management programs, as well as industry-specific programs. If you’re in or do business within a regulated industry – such as higher education, insurance, financial services, government, healthcare, and some commercial industries like food production and transportation – you’re most likely going to need a system that meets industry-specific requirements. Our innovation specialists at Van Ausdall & Farrar can walk you through all of these decisions to recommend the right outcome. 
  3. What do you want to get out of the effort and expense involved?
    The generic benefits of ECM – improved efficiency and productivity; lower costs – apply to any type of business with enough activity to justify the investment. To ensure you obtain the maximum return on your investment, you should understand the features available in a system that specifically apply to your core operations. For example: 

    Do you need a system that features information governance for records retention and data disposition and digital signatures? 

    Would features like mobile access and collaboration tools be valuable?

    Are workflow management and archiving important to your business?

    The more you know about your needs going into your ECM implementation, the more you can get out of it.

  4. How will you break the ECM installation into manageable chunks?
    You’re probably already using some departmental or enterprise-wide business management applications, so a natural step-by-step integration process will occur as those apps are connected to a centralized ECM platform. Your priorities and internal operations will also influence the rate and scope of your system’s deployment. A flexible ECM solution will scale as needed, so you can control the implementation process to meet your needs. 
  5. How will your ECM system be maintained?
    Choosing a vendor to install and maintain your ECM system is as important as choosing the actual system you want to use. The most important factors to consider in your vendor decision-making process are the overall experience the vendor has with the system you choose, as well as their specific experience in your industry, especially if it’s regulated. We recommend you consider a vendor that is a full-service business technology provider – with decades of experience, if possible. Your vendor should also have a top-tier roster of IT professionals to provide the needed training and ongoing support services, which will continually help you maximize the productivity and cost-saving opportunities ECM provides.  Hey, wait a minute.  That’s us!

After you’ve created your plan, you’ll be in a much better position to take the next steps toward obtaining the many organization-wide benefits of an ECM solution.

ARE YOU READY FOR ECM?

If you’re not sure whether or not your company would benefit from ECM, click here take our Technology Strength Assessment. In just 10-15 minutes you’ll see where you can improve your company’s productivity, as well as where you should start focusing your attention to make those improvements.

Regardless, we stand ready to help you with any questions or concerns along the way.  We are preferred technology partners for various platforms and are ready to help you make  ECM a reality for your business.