4 Critical Success Factors for Finding the Right Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Partner
A wide variety of organizations offer ECM solutions: copier/MFP vendors, software vendors (ECM specialists and others like EMR/EHR), value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators, service bureaus, and the list goes on…
So how do you know who has the strongest subject matter expertise and always keeps your best interests in mind? Here are four criteria to help you select the right ECM solution provider.
1. An Ability to Truly Assess Your ECM Needs
Some call it an ECM audit, business process evaluation or workflow mapping but, whatever its called, the right partner will take great care to understand where you are in your document and information processing needs, and where you want to go.
They’ll map out your processes and clearly identify ways to streamline them with some combination of software, hardware and services – with a few options so you can compare, and a progression of how the right solution may be built over time.
2. Offering a Wide Breadth of Solutions
Did you ever notice that, for a copier manufacturer or dealer, you always seem to need more hardware? That’s because it’s the most profitable offering they have and it’s what all of their sales reps are programmed to sell – maybe with a little software mixed in. They’re a one-trick pony and their reps have commission breath.
The same holds true for ECM software vendors who sell direct – to them, the world just needs more software when some element of hardware and/or document scanning services may also be needed in addition to, or instead of.
It’s important to talk with prospective ECM partners that offer a mix of hardware, software (on-premise, cloud and hybrid), professional services, and business process outsourcing (BPO) services – especially those who can clearly and quickly articulate the pros and cons of all of the above is it relates to what you really need so you can make the right call.
For example, why invest in document scanners and capture software to do a large volume of document scanning yourself when it could be outsourced and done for a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time?
3. Software Integration
With some combination of professional services and being able to develop using web services is the only way to get your systems working together so they’re not silos and you can streamline business processes beyond what workflow automation can do for you.
Just make sure your partner has either worked with your system specifically, or something near to it to avoid them biting off more than they can chew.
4. Effective & Experienced Support
Because everyone claims to offer the best support, here are a few questions to help you identify the right fit:
- What is the average tenure working with the software that your prospective ECM partner is proposing?
- How many installations have they performed?
- Have they developed custom solutions with their core team (vs. outsourcing development)?
- Can they integrate ECM software with your accounting, ERP or other line-of-business system?
- Have they developed any of their own apps or add-ons?
- Do they have a defined process for implementing the solution they’re proposing?
For example, with ApplicationXtender (AX) from Open Text, Image One became a partner in 1996 back when the software was owned by OTG. Our developers have an average of 10 years working with AX, and we’ve developed Request Manager and FileBridge custom apps that leverage and extend AX.
Of course, there’s more you want to look for than these four criteria, but just make sure to include this in your evaluation and let us know if we can help.