Enterprise Content Management 1

Enterprise content management

Regardless of the department in which an ECM is introduced first, care should be taken to plan the project well and to carry it out as optimally as possible. Of course, this generally applies to all new products that are introduced in a company.

The success of an ECM project is particularly likely if the employees in the company recognize added value and expect the introduction to improve and facilitate their work. The acceptance by the employees plays an essential role.

Before the introduction of an ECM, the goals for the introduction of an enterprise content management should be defined in the company. This can be faster invoice processing, higher service quality or more efficient processes. In every department there are different goals that the employees hope for from an ECM.

All eventualities should be taken into account in order to be able to carry out the introduction of an ECM successfully. It is important to prevent a project like the introduction of an ECM from failing due to resistance from your employees. The following points will help you:

Tip 1: Start in the department that will benefit most from an ECM

In order to show as quickly as possible how an ECM improves and simplifies the work in a company in equal measure, the implementation should begin in the company area that benefits from the performance of an ECM system the quickest.

In sales, this is usually the preparation of an offer. If these processes are digitized step by step, the department's key performance indicators (KPIs) also improve. This of course convinces the sales department itself of the introduction, but at the same time shows other departments in the company what advantages an ECM can bring. In this way, the acceptance for an ECM usually increases well before the actual introduction in the respective department.

Tip 2: the analysis of the current situation for a solid foundation

An analysis of the current situation can clarify the order in which an ECM is to be introduced in the company. Ideally, you should name someone from the upper management level who will talk to all departments in order to find out which weaknesses need to be rectified.

This person maintains an overview during the entire implementation process and includes not only current scenarios but also possible future challenges in the considerations. It is particularly important to integrate all interest groups into the as-is analysis in order to avoid subsequent defensive reactions by users. Your team will only be happy to deal with the new technology if the needs and suggestions of employees are taken seriously and it becomes clear where the advantages lie.

In most SMEs (digitization SMEs), the actual analysis shows that accounting is the ideal starting point for a planned introduction of ECM. It usually offers the greatest potential for improvement because, for example, accelerated invoice processing has a direct impact on the profitability of the company affected by the implementation.

Tip 3: Define the goals of the ECM introduction and identify the advantages

Once you have determined in which departments you would like to start introducing ECM, the next step is to define clear and, above all, measurable goals. Ask yourself in which areas the greatest challenges lie and clarify exactly what should be improved in the future. It is important that you do not limit yourself to unspecific requests such as "more efficiency", but really go into detail when defining your goals.

Should the number of order confirmations that are sent within a certain time frame increase by a certain percentage? Do you hope that the time it takes to process invoices will be measurably shortened by an ECM? Make your expectations as clear as possible and then communicate them to the entire team. In this way, you ensure that every employee knows what is expected of them - and you will not experience any nasty surprises during the subsequent target control.

If you set clear metrics, such as the sending rate of offers before and after implementation, nobody can criticize the successes actually achieved, because subjective impressions are replaced by objective facts.

Tip 4: Find ECM providers to help you choose the right ECM software

The selection of ECM software is large, and many companies no longer see the forest for the trees when looking for the right product. Should it be software that has been successfully established on the market for years or, in view of future challenges, are new and innovative ECM solutions the right choice? As is so often the case, the answer lies in the middle: On the one hand, a large installed base is the best proof that a software has proven itself in practice, but on the other hand, the selected ECM solution must also be modern enough to reliably get your company through the next to be able to accompany ten to 15 years.

If you want to be on the safe side when choosing ECM software, you should definitely take a close look at the company histories of the various ECM providers and find out about the experiences of other customers. Trustworthy manufacturers make a name for themselves by constantly making new upgrades available to their customers - and that in an uncomplicated and inexpensive way.

Certifications are also helpful in finding the right product. For example, a DIN ISO 9001 certification confirms that an ECM provider systematically improves the functionality or security of its offer. That proves that he is constantly evolving.

Another point that you should pay attention to when choosing the right ECM software is its scalability. If this requirement is met, you can - as already recommended - start with a few users and then gradually expand the implementation. Just as important: ensuring uncomplicated support for the technologies already used in your company and a possible later conversion of local solutions to an ECM in the cloud.

The better you have an eye on all eventualities, the lower the risk of an unforeseen cost explosion. You should therefore clarify exactly what the financial conditions for installation, operating costs, training and upgrades will look like in order to avoid additional costs from the outset.

Tip 5: configuration of the ECM solution

As soon as you start to put your implementation plan into action, you should make sure that the selected ECM solution is also linked to your company's e-mail infrastructure and to the users' mobile devices. After all, one of the greatest advantages of electronic document management is that all authorized employees have uncomplicated access to important information at any time - regardless of whether they are in their office, with a customer or in the home office.

It is just as important that you define digital workflows in order to streamline processes and accelerate important work steps. However, you should be careful not to overwhelm your employees with the diverse technical possibilities of modern ECM solutions. The increasing digitization of the working world does not meet with a positive response from all employees. Therefore, initially limit yourself to fundamental improvements and do not impose too many innovations on your team at once. Just because something is technically possible doesn't mean that it makes sense in your specific case. Your employees will thank you for the intuitively understandable workflows.

Companies can expect numerous advantages through the introduction of an ECM in the company. In addition to an improvement in efficiency, customer satisfaction also increases due to a faster response time from employees. The cash flow is improved and employees in the company are significantly relieved. The flow of information is optimized because employees can access all the relevant information they need more quickly. This also saves a lot of working time and enables employees to complete tasks in the company more quickly and, above all, more easily.