How to choose an Enterprise Content Management Solution

Most organizations are looking for ways to start transforming their business into a more compelling, agile, and effective one by increasing the dependency on digital technologies and incorporating them into as much departments as possible.

One of the solutions that are highly on demand nowadays is ECM and choosing one has become a difficult task due to the competitiveness nature of the market. A lot of available solutions are promising the best experience and the most ROI so let’s see what are the main criteria you should look for when searching for an Enterprise content management solution?

Integration with 3rd party applications

One of the most important points to consider when searching for an ECM solution is its ability to integrate with legacy applications being used in your organization.

The ability to make use of the data stored in legacy applications is very important and beneficial and the ECM solution should give you this flexibility with minimum development efforts.

You should always look for an ECM solution that provides an API to interact with its data store.

Integration with Enterprise File Sharing and Synchronization (EFSS)

A lot of employees are using EFSS solutions such as Dropbox, Box, or NextCloud to exchange documents internally (between departments) or with other organizations and the ECM solution should have the ability to allow to send documents directly to your preferred EFSS application.

Taking it to the next step, it would be an added value also if two ways integration is available allowing documents to be created automatically in the ECM repository when uploaded into the EFSS application.

Multiple ways to import documents

The number one communication tool in any organization is the Email. To take advantage of that, the ECM solution should, for example, have plugin available for Microsoft Office to make it very easy to import emails to the system.

Importing documents to the system should be in two modes:

  • Single Entry: one document at a time
  • Batch: The ability to import and update documents in batches. In the construction industry, the batch importing documents is very essential to save time.

Powerful BPM Module

Automating processes in your organization should be your top priority to increase productivity, reduce costs, and changing the way of how you do business.

Some ECM in the market are providing powerful BPM tools in order to allow non IT employees in your organization (Subject Experts) to automate their processes by visually designing their workflows and forms. Usually such vendors have a higher license price but it is totally worth it.

Deployment Options: On-premise, Cloud, or Hybrid?

One of the main point to consider when searching for an ECM solution is how your organization is going to setup/use the system.

Each of the above mentioned deployment options have pros and cons and depending on your organization requirement, you should chose accordingly. For example if you need integration with legacy applications or more control over your data, you should chose the On-Premise option.

In the construction industry, the On-Premise option is extremely important because the internet connection usually in a project in the desert is not high enough so they need an intranet compatible one.

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Mobility

Unstructured data is only useful if it is readily available. In today’s society, more and more employees are accessing documents through a mobile device as opposed to a laptop or desktop computer.

Your ECM solution should have its most important features accessible on Mobiles & Tablets i.e. downloading documents for offline usage, search for documents, etc.

Flexible Security & Encryption

Securing the organization’s content is top priority and an ECM solution can be extremely helpful in minimizing the security breaches but it takes two to tango! A powerful security model coupled with a good content administrator will make sure that only those who have access to documents can see them.

Some ECM out there are providing data and file encryption where the data stored in the database and the files are not human readable. In this case, even the administrator can’t see the data or the files. Such cases can be helpful for example in the accounting or the HR department where data is highly confidential.

Integration with major reporting engines

The whole idea of managing the content of an organization is to have the ability to analyze the data and give the ability to take faster decisions and to better analyze the data, you need to use reporting engines such as PowerBI, SSRS, Qlik, etc.

Some ECM solutions gives you the ability to host the reports generated from PowerBI, SSRS, or QLIK in their interface making it a central application to be used.

Fully customizable interface

A fully customizable interface for an ECM solution makes it the ideal solution for your organization as you will have the ability to customize the interface as per your department needs.

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