With exponential growth of unstructured content and increased scrutiny on records by regulators, the demands for more sophisticated content management systems move from nice-to-have goals to must have priorities. Complex, high volume workflows require more processing power. Increased security threats from offshore hackers can propel a corporation into the headlines, as the Anthem Health Insurance scandal proved.

When considering these increased business demands you may find that your ECM system falls short of your users needs. Or maybe you’re just now realizing your systems security, ease of use and processes are just not cutting it. You should ask yourself:

a)    Is my ECM solution meeting my organization’s current needs?

b)    Can my ECM solution scale and evolve to support my company’s future business requirements?

c)    What are the implications of overhauling our ECM system? What will happen if we don’t?

This article will cover some of the scenarios General Networks is hearing from its customers as reasons they’re doing an ECM overhaul. We consider these some key success criteria for ECM solutions, and factors which should define whether you can remain on your current information management platform, or if you should migrate to an alternative solution.

Information Security, Access Control and Data Loss Prevention

As a CIO, CTO or other executive, you are obviously concerned with your organization’s data security posture.

  • Where does our information reside?
  • Who is accessing our data, and are we able to maintain an audit trail?
  • Who is sharing our information? Who are they sharing it with, both internally, and externally?
  • What happens when an employee resigns? How do we safeguard our intellectual capital and client data?
  • For remote and mobile employees, how much of our company’s data remains on their personal drives and devices? How do we prevent employees from erasing their work from corporate memory?

If you aren’t able to find answers to these questions quickly, it may be a good time to overhaul your ECM system. Upgrade, migrate, or, if possible, configure your system to provide you with greater intelligence about the state of your information security. If you don’t know how to make these changes, speak with an integrator like General Networks who can provide you with informed advisory and professional services.

As far as platforms go, OpenText has developed and acquired solutions for information at rest, and in motion. Solutions such as Secure MFT, which transmit large files securely. OpenText Content Suite and Cloud solutions offer permission control over documents and records which ensure only privileged users know documents exist, or only give authorized users access to editing or deleting records.

Recent Microsoft SharePoint 2013 enhancements include authentication improvements, unified login to multiple Cloud applications such as Office 365, CRM, SharePoint and ERP with a centralized user ID and password through the Office 365 portal. There are also many add-ons in the Microsoft world that increase your data security, from multifactor authentication to file scoped encryption at rest.

Every Enterprise Content Management platform works differently and if you’re looking for a new solution you may be overwhelmed. If you’d like assistance engage a 3rd Party consulting company who specializes in ECM, like General Networks.

Information Discoverability, Accessibility and Integrity

Are your employees struggling to find the information they need to be productive? You may have found your own network can’t store and deliver your information resources to your local and distributed employees as quickly or reliably as you need to.

  • Can your employees be assured they are working with the latest version of a document?
  • Can they access the information they need from outside your Local/Wide Area Networks?
  • Is your system indexing and profiling documents for quick retrieval?
  • Is your data available to your employees on the devices which are approved by your IT team?

A sustainable ECM platform is one which ensures users can find the data they need, when and where they need it. If they find duplicate documents, or outdated versions of documents instead of reliable, timely content, they will lose trust in your ECM solution. If the system is integrated into applications such as CRM or ERP applications, the ECM solution has a better opportunity to become ingrained into the technology ecosystem of your organization.

Just like many enterprise systems, user adoption is vital to the success of ECM. When a user finds saving a document to your ECM solution becomes as simple as saving it to their PC’s hard drive, they are more apt to do so. When records can be automatically classified by the folder it is placed in, and inherit the appropriate retention schedule, user adoption is greatly improved. Same goes for the use of business process workflow triggers which are as simple as a “save” or “submit” option in a document’s menu ribbon.

Don’t allow users to resort to practices like creating their own file sharing on systems like Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive. Ensure your system addresses the needs of your information workers. Request their input on what their success criteria is for collaborative content management solutions.

Audit, eDiscovery and Litigation Preparedness

Businesses of all types, especially public companies and those in regulated industries, are burdened with compliance mandates. You may want to consider:

-Is your organization prepared to quickly lock down and produce corporate records to meet SOX audit requirements?

-Have you established a retention schedule which meets industry regulations?

-Is your company adhering to standards of good record keeping, while having minimal impact on the day-to-day operations of the business? Have you streamlined the number of full time employees involved in the process?

The value of an ECM system which can minimize your legal exposure and liability is hard to quantify in the absence of a court case or audit. If such events do happen, and you aren’t able to deliver the required records due to an inadequate system; the investment required for a system upgrade might seem like a bargain in hindsight.

If you are manufacturing a proprietary product, or are a software publisher with intellectual property rights to preserve, the latest ECM system can manage files such as CAD drawings, software development scrum notes, screenshots of code and other items which prove you are the original inventor or author. Tools like OpenText’s Brava! document viewers enable your users to annotate and/or redact documents to extract more value from them and improve collaborative design processes.

The latest enterprise content management systems preserve the integrity and authority of the files they store, in the event your business needs to provide evidentiary records to protect your firm against legal action, or to build your case, should you need to sue a third party.

Content Distribution and Device Flexibility

Regional offices and traditional corporate workplaces have evolved into flexi, shared workstations, and employees who work from home. Others work in virtual offices close to their client base but still may need access to company data. These trends have forced companies to make their data more accessible externally and through mobile devices.

-Can your employees be assured they are working with the latest version of a document?

-Can they access the information they need from outside your Local/Wide Area Networks?

-Is your system indexing and profiling documents for quick retrieval?

-Is your data available to your employees on the devices which are approved by your IT team?

A yes to any of the above questions and you’re in a position where you need to ensure your data is accessible whenever it’s needed on a multitude of devices. If your current solution can’t meet these requirements, it may be time to migrate to one that can.

ECM solutions which can be accessed via the cloud, from tablets, smartphones and Ultrabooks can ensure the productivity of your employees, and the security of your data. The alternative of leaving your mobile staff with little choice but to use unregulated file sharing applications can leave your information assets vulnerable to data loss or piracy without your knowledge. Empowering these employees with corporate data through hybrid or private cloud applications can give them credibility and competence in front of clients which can win more deals, increase customer satisfaction, and help them deliver services faster than needing to rely on Virtual Private Network access to data.

If your current ECM solution is not meeting the objectives of security, mobile access, scalability and interoperability mentioned above, is it really delivering on what you need? If your users are begrudgingly using the system, or not using it at all, can you be sure of where your employees are storing your files? How can you govern who they are sharing your information assets with?

General Networks can help your organization make the best of your existing system. If an ECM migration is warranted, we can help you plan and execute a migration to a more scalable, flexible, user friendly system which can be accessed from remote locations from a variety of devices. Evolving your content management strategy can help you avoid fines, limit liability and increase profitability. Contact us today to discuss the best path forward for you and your company.