How to choose the right ECM?

There is a broad range of offerings from enterprise level ECM corporate systems to free applications for individual users, which naturally vary in price, features, and benefits.

Begin by taking a close look at the existing procedures in the office. Unless your company is just now getting started, in practice you’ll have already determined the critical document management system details; they were just never written them down.

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Choosing the right platform & vendor/solution provider:

  1. Write down what are the key types of documents that need to be managed (classification), who can use those documents (security), how are they described (indexing), and finally how long do you need to store them (records management).

  2. Next, define the current costs. Current cost estimates are important because cost savings are usually the primary justification for document management projects.

  3. Estimate the volume of documents you need to capture and how long you’ll need to store them. Check across all departments to see which of them might benefit from sharing the system - by doing this you’ll achieve the best return on investment and cost optimization.

Now, you are ready to check out vendors and see sales demos. Pick a vendor that can justify the costs of their system and demonstrate the ROI after it’s been installed.

Potential document management system features:

  • EDI
  • data capture
  • OCR
  • version management
  • approval workflow
  • web publishing
  • automatic classification
  • automatic indexing
  • data extraction
  • ERP integration
  • IVR integration
  • Email or FAX Support
  • Microsoft Office integration
  • records management
  • offsite backups
  • cloud hosting
  • distributed indexing
  • mobile capture
  • case management
    and much more

Look to your ECM system integrator to help you define the current document processing costs and the potential savings they offer.

You probably won't need all features to be implemented in the same project. Even if your company could afford to buy it all at once, these tools take time to integrate into your business processes. But keep in mind future requirements and make sure the platform you choose can be expanded as required.

Pick a feature set that can demonstrate a clear and measurable ROI, implement it and then use that success to justify the next project.

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