The combination of a weak economy – causing many to streamline operations to stay afloat – and increasing regulatory requirements of business challenging for many in 2009. Those who came from the rubble of crumbling profits, hoping to rekindle the bottom line and success in this decade are working harder than ever before, often at a lower cost. While the economy will eventually improve, the rules of the forum is becoming more challenging, putting more burdens on business. Only those who make wise use of scarce resources will survive
Despite recent unpredictability in government, business and the economy, one thing is unchanged :. Compliance, security and efficient management remain the focus of many companies. Named in many industries as the top three drivers for enterprise content management (ECM), they are more closely intertwined than ever
Cost effectiveness is only possible litigious’s economy with an integrated efficient compliance management program that reduces risk and avoid Costly penalties. In the paper or mixed media environment, it is almost impossible to achieve.
Compliance can only be achieved by stringent internal control and manage value to manage document security, access to information and how it is used. Hide controls fallible men only means that there will always be mistakes. Zero tolerance is increasing; penalties for non-compliance can be financially devastating.
Security is only manageable information gathering intensive business when you have the tools to pull all the information together so it can be managed, centrally and consistently. Even with a full staff, it’s challenging. In a paper-based environment, it is impossible.
ECM 2010 :. Stronger, more accessible
ECM delivers control and insight you need to run your business wisely, compliantly and with confidence. What is different this year? Top-line solutions are accessible, interoperable, affordable, and intuitive, making it easier than ever to secure documents, manage them consistently, and go.
ECM is a mature technology. When the capture, classification, processing and archiving capabilities are combined with powerful Web (now the industry standard for integration, but not available in all), companies benefit from defining relationships. ECM connects silos of important business information, to give you a comprehensive understanding of your business, tools to work efficiently, the consistency you need to go, and a digital trail to prove regulatory compliance.
Since palette ECM tools varies from one solution to another, it is important to know what you are looking for. The tips below will help you find the best solution for your business
Look for a system that will :.
1. Help you manage the new rules
Whether you are controlled by the mandates of HIPAA, SOX, Gramm- Leach-Bliley, FERPA, Freedom of Information Act or other regulations, managing compliance animals. ECM allows you to track information, implementing rules for the management of information, changing the rules to reflect regulatory changes, and ensure that they are followed. It removes the burden and optimize costs by following the rules indirectly – right, just, and stable
Looking for :.
… web-based architecture that allows authorized IT staff give the system remotely, 24/7, and allows authorized individuals to access, view, search, process, and manage requests for information, where and when it is needed.
… configurable functionality that allows you to control who can access and control a variety of document types (HR contracts, invoices, etc.) and measures each person can (import, classification, e-mail, etc.).
… centrally configured, administered and supported software. Modular solutions typically require multiple modes and more difficult to support. Central configuration saves considerable time and money.
… a business process management (BPM) or workflow components. BPM allows you to manage internal governance policies by setting rules and exceptions to routine process (such as billing) followed without question, eliminating human error. Since BPM presents the greatest potential returns for the company, buying ECM without a BPM / Workflow component is shortsighted. Regulations change constantly, so make sure that the solution you choose will allow you to make changes easily so that you can enforce new rules on the fly.
… lifecycle management features to let you set the default retention schedules, backup, audit trails, data migration, and deletion schedules. Managing files throughout the document life cycle is an important part of compliance.
… detailed audit trails that prove obedience to rules that you set in response to the regulations. Whether you are responding to e-discovery requests, Open Records, or auditing requirements, electronic discovery is far more efficient than manually searching through scattered files. ECM, when integrated with legacy systems, line-ofbusiness software, email, and other digital storage, produces detailed audit trails, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties and saved staff considerable time. Make sure the solution provides the information you need.
2. Ensuring file security
As organizational hierarchies, regulations, standards, and serve as change, security rules need to change. Centrally administered ECM makes it easy for IT managers to change the rules: a few clicks in one place, and all the features and functions within the suite follow the new rules. No more need to rely on a perfect memory, reminders, logons and passwords and hoping new employees get it right. ECM ensures the right people have access, know what to do, and can process their work. Organizational controls are followed – every time
… the ability to lock down document types and document a special part of the user groups (eg HR managers) and job role. (such as directors or department heads)
… configurable, permission-based feature rights that allow you to determine who can retrieve, view, edit, annotate, sign, email, moving or deleting files. initiate workflows; etc.
… centralized, tamper-proof storage to ensure accuracy, quality and reliability of the data information.
… to be able to create an electronic file backup and make a quick recovery of information in the event of a business catastrophe.
3. Make compliance (and activities) cost efficient
The paper-based or mixed media environment, compliance demands drain limited human and financial resources. Management processes, with the approval hierarchy, update backup information in multiple systems (such as customer relationship data), and filing documents correctly to ensure that they are found later demands precious time. Logging in many software systems, re-keying data from one system to another, wading through duplicate or conflicting records of clients, and looking to adequately indexed or missing documents adds to the frustration. Be ill-equipped to respond to the claims is expensive enough; to make mistakes, missing deadlines, and for information on what is needed can be financially devastating.
ECM allows you to respond to mandated cost efficient by eliminating tedious search, accelerate the process, eliminating the incidence of duplicate files and projects, and ensure the rules on access and processing are followed
Looking for a solution that will :.
… index documents carefully so employees with different needs and search methods to find what they need.
… integrate well with industry-standard Web services. Make sure the function suite that you choose is fully underwritten the web so you can take full advantage of the features and functions within the familiar business software your users. This reduces the cost of learning and training. Also investigate charges the seller for Web service calls :. If you have to pay for each data ask you to do, you will be surprised how quickly it adds up
… accommodate all levels of the document lifecycle, from document creation and capture through indexing, business process automation, archiving, preservation and destruction.
… deliver the information you need. Look for a rich search functionality as business, full-text and keyword search. If you are aiming for information, you can not afford to consume other staff to scroll through electronic files manually because ECM system will not deliver what you asked for. ECM is adjustable, with detailed classification and strong search should respond to requests in seconds.
4. Be taken by the staff
clear vision, solid plan, and top-line ECM does not solve business challenges unless the solution is fully embraced by IT staff and users. Consult them as you evaluate the needs of the business. Understand the day to day challenges, no matter where they stand in the hierarchy. Streamline and improve the current process before you start with ECM. Since both IT and users are facing more responsibility than ever, the solution needed to make their lives easier, every day
Looking for :.
… flexible user interface, with a drop -down menus, on-line help, and user-friendly documentation to guide users.
… adjustable, movable windows and work spaces to honor the work preferences of employees and maximize their productivity.
… central log-on for all the work, rather than having to log in and out of each function to start scanning, sending e-mail, launch process, etc. Do not waste precious resources on inefficient staff access ECM products are available to improve the effectiveness!
… a full suite of functionality that is centrally configurable, given the press. This dramatically reduces IT administration and eliminate the need to log into and out of each application to make changes.
Considerations in buying ECM
Quality vs. cost
Choose a top-of-line solution has never been as affordable as it is today, but do not make the mistake of making the price only criterion. If you sacrifice quality or choose a solution that will not meet your needs as the economy rebounds and business grows, you may be implemented ECM back with another vendor for several years. The solutions you choose today should serve you well for a decade and beyond.
SaaS vs licensing vs alternative pricing
Hosted services offer attractive funding opportunities if you are cash-strapped, but often at risk of losing control of security and business information, especially if the business SaaS options fail . Licensing, in contrast, offers a full data ownership and carries less risk, but includes up-front costs, but small companies from making investments.
Some manufacturers offer subscription pricing and other options to protect your business interests but make a leap forward more feasible. Explore your options. Remember, the goal of making cost efficiency, security and compliance. Examine your options carefully. The vendor should offer alternatives and be willing to find a financing solution that does not sacrifice the health of your business
2010 :. Get ready for the future
If you are looking for a way to optimize resources, eliminate waste, and make effective use of information on cost-effective operations, increased security and compliance go, now is the time to get ahead with ECM . The regulatory train is picking up speed. Be prepared when it comes out.