Is Your ECM Solution a Document Graveyard?

October is that unique time of year when summer is now a collection of memories and the bite of winter is nipping at our necks. It’s also that time of year to put out the pumpkins, purchase some candy, and prepare your costume for Halloween.

During Day of the Dead celebrations ("Día de los Muertos" in Spanish), young men sit beside a loved one's grave at the cemetery in Xoxocotlán, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico.

During Day of the Dead celebrations (“Día de los Muertos” in Spanish), young men sit beside a loved one’s grave at the cemetery in Xoxocotlán, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Halloween, the word itself coming from All Hallows’ Eve, is the day before All Hallows, or All Saints’ Day, as well as the Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition that coincides with All Hallows. In the traditions of both days, it is a time to pay respects and celebrate the souls of the departed. In the Mexican observance of the Day of the Dead, the festivities include visiting graveyards with flowers, candles, and other goods to offer to the friends and family that have passed.

What, then, could be a better time of year to ask the question at your organization, “Are we using our ECM system merely as a document graveyard?”

ECM – Much More than a Document Repository

Each year, Gartner Inc., the information technology research and advisory firm, publishes their Gartner Magic Quadrant report reflecting a culmination of research evaluating how well technology providers are executing their stated vision and how well they are performing against their peers. The report plots each competitor in graphical context in one of 4 quadrants: Leaders, Visionaries, Niche Players, and Challengers. By applying a well-established methodology and consistent evaluation criteria to each competitor, the Gartner Magic Quadrant is leveraged by technology decision-makers to make better informed purchasing decisions in over 150 different markets, including the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market.

Gartner Magic Quadrant ECM 2015

The Gartner methodology assigns a weight by which each core functionality should be evaluated. Of all of the core functionalities identified for an ECM product, Gartner assigns just 10% of their evaluation criteria to “Records Management” – “long-term archiving, automation of retention and compliance policies, and ensuring legal, regulatory and industry compliance.” Therefore, if you’re only using technology to archive your documents – whether they are images of checks, invoices, contracts, or personnel files – you can be doing so much more to add efficiency to your business processes.

What to Look for in Core ECM Functionality

Above, I note that Records Management makes up but one criteria upon which Gartner evaluates ECM providers. The remaining criteria, the weight by which they are evaluated by Gartner, and a short description of each are below.

  • Document Management (20%)
    • Document Management reflects the functionality required to control how documents are managed, modified, accessed, and shared.
  • Web content management (5%)
    • This features represents how well the ECM platform supports controlling a website’s content through the use of specific management tools based on a core repository.
  • Image-processing applications (15%)
    • This functionality emphasizes how images of paper documents are captured, transformed and managed. For this component Gartner requires a vendor to be able to provide two capabilities:
      1. Document capture (scanning hardware and software, optical and intelligent character recognition technologies, and form-processing technology) performed either using native capabilities or through a formal partnership with a third-party solution provider.
      2. The ability to store images of scanned documents in the repository as “just another” content type in a folder, and to route them through an electronic process.
  • Social content (15%)
    • This is the ability to collaborate and share knowledge and mange the content related to this knowledge.
  • Content workflow (20%)
    • Content workflow represents of an often under-utilized yet critical function of ECM. This represents the ability to leverage ECM for streamlining business processes, routing content, assigning work tasks and states, and creating audit trails. This may include simple document review, checklists, and/or approval workflows. Any ECM worth an investment will provide robust workflow capabilities; however, there are often many customers who do not capitalize on this functionality.
  • Extended components (15%)
    • This criteria can include one or more of the following: mobile applications, digital asset management, search, analytics and packaged integration capabilities (for portals, ERP and CRM, for example). Documents and other types of content are inherently critical to run a business. Yet, it is often the case that the documents are supporting players in what is typically a transaction of some type. Therefore, it’s important that your ECM can easily be integrated into the systems that manage those transactions. You can also help reduce IT sprawl by investing in the right platform that can scale across multiple departments.

Bring Your Content & Your ECM to Life

If your organization is viewing your document repository as a document graveyard, we can help breathe some new life your document and data-driven processes. MTS Software Solutions provides ECM consulting services and a number of best-of-breed technologies, including a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader – OnBase by Hyland, to address the functionalities outlined above and more. You can view this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant report here.

Contact MTS Software Solutions to learn more about how we can help you cast some light on your business processes and use your ECM tool for more than just a final resting place for documents.

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