When entrusting your data and workflows to a third-party Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution provider, there are many important aspects to take into consideration like the cost of the solution or contract with the provider, the provider’s reputation, the ease of the transition from in-house services to an ECM provider and so on. In addition, you should ask yourself these six questions to ensure you’re getting the best provider possible and the most appropriate ECM solution:
1. Does the provider have experience in my vertical industry?
Although the ECM solution should be tailored to your specific company, needs and business goals, your ECM solution provider will have valuable background knowledge to help your company before even meeting with you if they’ve worked with another business in your industry. Not only can the provider offer you references or case studies from previous businesses like yours, but past experience will give them a basic understanding of your potential pain points and how to successfully resolve them using ECM.
2. Will the ECM solution offered integrate easily with my existing software?
In order to make a seamless transition from traditional processes to ECM, your ECM solution should integrate easily with your current software. The right ECM solution will readily integrate with administrative, billing, HR and other departments’ software installations. This will allow you to make the most of your current technology investment, while also saving hours of time and frustration.
3. How user-friendly is the ECM solution offered?
Another key factor in ensuring a smooth transition to ECM is its ease of use. While executives within your business may be somewhat wary to make the change to ECM, employees who are accustomed to traditional methods are often even harder to sell on ECM. One of the major obstacles to overcome when transitioning to any new technology is getting your end users on board, so be sure that the solution is user-friendly. Some providers will offer free employee training, and it is definitely something to look into when selecting providers.
4. Will I have ongoing support from the provider?
Although ECM solutions are generally user-friendly and more efficient than traditional processes, you should make sure you have ongoing support from the provider. Like any technology, there may be instances when a system outage occurs or you need extra support, and you should have peace of mind knowing your provider will be available to assist. Some providers have Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) services, which enable the providers to detect a problem before it arises, and should be something you ask about before choosing a provider.
5. Does the provider’s ECM solution include the components needed to resolve my pain points and achieve my business goals?
While some ECM solutions may look similar across industries, make sure your ECM provider understands your primary needs and business goals, and that their solution accounts for these. Work with your employees and peers to understand which processes are most problematic before meeting with the ECM provider. Do you have budgetary or environmental concerns and would like your office to go paper-free or paper-lite? Are your workflows as efficient as they could be? Is the organization of files and documents taking too long? Many ECM solutions will address these challenges, but be sure to communicate with your ECM provider about which of these, or any others, are your primary concerns. ECM solutions are not one-size-fits-all even within industries, and your solution should be unique to your individual business goals. Make sure your provider customizes your ECM solution and prioritizes different functional factors to meet your needs.
6. Is the provider a good fit for my organization?
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, go with your intuition to decide if your potential provider would be a good fit for your company. Similar to hiring an employee, you should make sure your ECM solution provider’s goals match up with your company’s, and that the people you will be working with are team players, effective communicators, and overall likeable and hardworking people.
The transition from traditional, manual and/or paper-intensive processes to an ECM solution brings with it countless benefits to all businesses provided you partner with a provider that aligns with your goals. Be sure to do your research into providers and ask the right questions when considering them.
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