Finding the best Electronic Content Management solution isn’t just about researching a good product. You need an ECM vendor that can be your partner in transforming the way you store and find your documents and data. In order to do that, the vendor needs to do more than just sell a solution. They need to understand your business and your business processes! Nobody wants to sign on the dotted line and find out six months or a year later that the solution they chose is not working for their company. The criteria below will help you to find the best solution AND a the right vendor.
Strategic partnerships, certifications and a strong company foundation are all important differentiators that set apart reputable ECM vendors with superior products and strong customer support. A successful conversion from paper files to ECM depends upon the ability of both parties to work together. Investigate the vendor’s company culture and references. Sometimes, no matter how careful both parties are, something can go wrong, and you want a trusted vendor who will make it right.
Look for a vendor that has at least ten or more years of experience offering ECM solutions. More experienced vendors understand the technology and offer superior products. They've solved more document management problems than you can imagine, and they adhere to a higher standard of excellence. If you’re going into the Cloud, make sure both the solution and the vendor are ahead of the curve in cloud technology.
Ability to Provide Tech Support
Nothing irritates a customer more than needing help and not being able to get it fast. The vendor you choose for your ECM solution should offer fast, knowledgeable technical support from product experts that are located in the U.S. Initial system training and setup should be part of the solution. Don’t rely solely on an email address to answer technical questions. The best vendors will answer phones within seconds, not minutes and close at least 85% of customer cases the same day.
Ability to Provide Professional Services
More and more companies expect sophisticated software integration and help consolidating their departmental systems that were installed years ago or inherited through acquisition or consolidation. Professional service should offer everything from needs assessment, implementation, configuration and user training to custom integrations, custom reports and special software coding. You should expect free quotes for professional services and receive assistance only from certified experts.
Willingness to Accommodate Your Business Needs
The conversion process from your current system to the new ECM should fit easily into your overall business strategy, without disrupting your day-to-day business activities. The best vendors will work to accommodate your needs and keep your business flowing throughout the conversion. Look for a vendor who is flexible in the implementation schedule and willing to listen to what’s important to you.
Vendors with the right resources -- experienced people, process knowledge, business savy, technical skills and the ability to listen and understand your needs will jump start your ECM conversion and its adaption in your company. Product training should be part of the total package. ECM is not a do-it-yourself project.
Flexible ECM Product Suite
The more flexible the solution you choose, the more likely you are to use it, retain it, and grow with it throughout the years. The solution should easily scale up for more users and scale out to expand the system across multiple locations and distributed environments. Features like unlimited index values and the ability to handle hundreds of file types are signs of a highly flexible solution, while automated workflows and AI-driven processes (virtually unheard of just a few years ago) put your business ahead financially and provide even more ROI.
Scalable Suite of Integrated Products
ECM products vary from limited storage and retrieval solutions to complete product suites with add-on components like workflow, document capture, email management, artificial intelligence and more. Choose a tested solution that offers a complete product suite, so you don’t have to stitch together multiple products from different manufacturers in order to have a comprehensive system in your company. Most importantly, make sure the product suite is fully integrated and scalable.
Pain-free Installation and Integration
The best solutions and vendors are those that impact your company the least during the transition. While there will be a learning curve for your employees when they start using the new system, they should not have to be unduly interrupted from their daily duties.