IBM leads the way in cloud ECM solutions according to third party user review source G2 Crowd1. The writer positions the number of cloud deployments as low; “key findings revealed that despite the growing cloud trend, a majority of Enterprise Content Management software is still deployed on-premise, with only 22 percent of software installations taking place in the cloud”, but I’m surprised at how many there are at this stage.
I would have expected the number to be much lower and if I was to guess, the majority of those who are on cloud are SharePoint Online. Our ECM world is pretty stodgy and deep rooted with lots of long-term established imaging, workflow and document management systems with customers looking to minimize risk at every turn. This number will grow steadily over time as clients go through the life cycle of upgrading their ECM platform and look for more economic and lower hassle ways of managing their content. It’s just the evolution of IT and what we at RKO are calling “ECM for the NEW Enterprise”. The NEW Enterprise may see the core platform go to the cloud but in the short-term is more likely to find the core on-premise platform integrated with the next generation of cloud based content management and business application providers such as Box, VersaFile and Force.com.
This leads to the second key finding that drives overall satisfaction scores – time to implementation. “User feedback revealed that implementing new software required an average of five months to go live, reflected in the low average ease of setup score of 72 percent.” Why must it take so long to implement an ECM based solution? In our experience, it’s because we continue to build custom one-off solutions as otherwise the solution won’t solve their business challenge! That’s why ease of set-up scores are so low. It’s horrible value to clients that it should take this long and be this difficult to solve their business challenge and deploy an ECM solution. So why do they put up with it?
In the past, there weren’t any mainstream options to ensure the solution was effective as it takes time to design the solution, the information architecture, the security model, the customizations to accommodate usability needs, etc etc.
Now, we are starting to see that mentality shift within our client base as departments are being forced to be more agile and speedy in solving problems and driving positive outcomes. As the Information Technology world evolves, more and more business areas and departments are looking for ease of deployment solutions and will by-pass IT departments to get it. Often the solution can even be expensed on a credit card! Those are the main reasons cloud line of business solutions are really taking off and ECM needs to keep up.
There are solutions to overcome slow and hard implementations, and the good news for clients is the pain of creating them will fall to vendors …this is the ECM of the future, or ECM for the NEW enterprise. Here are 3 ways to start:
- Before building a custom solution on your current platform, start with a search for vendors who are providing stand-alone “line of business” solutions or templates that solve your specific business problem. These are often deployed via the cloud and should have the capabilities of integrating with your company’s standard ECM platform. A packaged solution delivered via cloud will involve less time and people to deploy and sustain. Don’t expect the solution to be a 100% match, but even if it gets you 50% of the way there, it will cut your implementation time and costs significantly. The added benefit is these solutions will have an upgrade roadmap, taking that responsibility off your back.
- If you don’t find an exact match, expand your search to the partner ecosystem. Most ECM platform vendors have a partner program where implementation specialists have already built the solution you are looking for at least once or multiple times. If they don’t have a pre-canned solution, they may at least have experience and some re-useable artifacts to help speed your implementation.
- If you don’t find a partner, work with your ECM Platform sales rep to connect you with similar but non-competing clients around the world. Chances are someone has already built what you are trying to do. If you are managing your ECM program, a great place to do this type of networking is at the platform vendor’s conferences. There are typically lots of opportunities at sessions, events, tradeshows and product manager meetings to meet and get introduced to your peers around the world. Get to know these people, stay in touch, share ideas and request information. To get this started you may have to open the sharing by offering something up front. Everyone is always interested in what others are doing with similar technologies to get ideas so offer to demo your system through on-premise or virtual open-house. This is a longer-term approach but very effective.
At RKO, everything we do must provide value and help with a business outcome. I hope this information achieved that. I welcome your feedback, opinions, experiences or recommendations.
CEO of RKO Content Management Solutions
The Best Enterprise Content Management Software According to G2 Crowd Winter 2016 Rankings, Based on User Reviews here
The G2 Crowd here