Defining Enterprise Content Management One-Hit Wonders
As I go about my every day sales and business development activities to evangelize ImageSource’s ILINX Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software products, I am amazed to see just how common it is for the originally installed ECM software system to be pretty much unchanged. The use case is the same (e.g. Accounts Payable, Human Resources, Customer Service, etc.) and the system is used by mostly the same people. Maybe a new application was implemented for Accounts Receivables, but by and large it is still the same system. In some cases, the software has been up updated only once or twice, the scanners are original, the servers and workstations in use are running older operating systems and databases and the system might still be using a juke box for archival purposes. This is very similar to what one might call in the music business, a one-hit wonder. If you were to ask people in the music business, they would say a one-hit wonder is a very common tale. And, so it seems that we have the same thing happening in businesses when it comes to Enterprise Content Management.
How did we get here?
What I have observed is that enterprise content management has become pervasive; however, it is actually a series of one-hit wonders. Meaning it is managed and implemented differently by department and/or line-of-business. For example, the Accounts Payable department might use the originally installed ECM system, but the Marketing department uses nested shared folders on the network that also requires one to name the files in a certain manner; the Engineering department might be using some document management module that comes with their engineering software, but for imaged engineering drawings they go to the ECM system the Accounts Payable department uses; and the sales department had their CRM software integrated with a different ECM software application that is “cloud based”, as well as, they have become masters at using their network attached multi-function printer (a.k.a. MFP) to scan-to-email and ad-hoc scanning for imaging. And, when things don’t work as they are expected to or malfunctions, the information technology department is supposed to pick up the pieces, work some magic (and fast) and “ta-dah” everything is back in working order.
What needs to change?
So how did we get to the point where we have so many different ways to image, file, store, retrieve and process documents and content in our businesses? More importantly, what can be done about it to improve the situation to drive out duplication, increase efficiency and lower operating costs and risks? First of all, let’s cover how we got here or better yet, what needed to happen first keeping in mind there is no one to really blame. A large part of why businesses have not centered their businesses on a single ECM software system is that some evolution needed to take place. First and foremost, the ECM applications themselves had to evolve from client-server and thick clients to be being truly web-based built on Web 2.0 technology and architecture; it is important to note that not every ECM software company has taken this step. Secondly, the internet had to become as pervasive as the telephone (land line and/or mobile) and the bandwidth to support business use. Thirdly, the ECM applications had to become less specialized in just performing one thing, such as, imaging, web content management, digital asset management, etc. Fourth, the computing platform from which we access the information had to become a non-factor; this means that I can access my information from any device: a PC workstation in the office, a laptop in a hotel, a tablet device like the Apple iPad and/or a smartphones. Lastly, the investment of ECM software systems needed to scale to based upon the size of the business to actually be affordable and cost-effective which has largely not been a reality.
A new reality is possible today!
It is from ImageSources’ collective experiences of its employees and the 17 years of being in the Enterprise Content Management business that it can confidently and successfully assist companies and organizations of all types create a new paradigm. Simply put, we make it possible to take disparate ways and systems of managing documents and content into a single system that serves every department and line-of-business of the enterprise. It first starts with making document capture so simple and so accessible from any device. ILINX Capture works with any TWAIN compliant scanner and can be configured to work with virtually any network attached multi-function printer (MFP). ILINX Capture Mobile and the ILINX Tablet make it possible to capture documents and content in the palm of your hand. ILINX Content Store is ideally positioned for those companies that need a complete, full functioning, user pleasing and straight-forward approach to Enterprise Content Management. It must also have the option to be integrated with business applications (ILINX Integrate) and does not burden the IT department with system management and administration tasks. Mainly because it is built on Microsoft’s .NET web-based architecture; therefore, updates, changes and new applications can be deployed from a single-administration console and users can receive those updates via their intranet or internet. If the existing content, documents, images and data in your current “dot.90’s” ECM system is a concern for you, ImageSource has the services and the tools (ILINX Export) to make this all important and critical step of migrating your information into ILINX Content Store. The remaining question that you might have is this: is it really affordable and cost-effective to consolidate disparate ways and systems, migrate the information and implement a new ECM software system? And my answer to that is, “ImageSource’s approach and ILINX has proven to be so for many others, I have no reason why to think the same is possible for you and your company!”