What does a successful implementation of an ECM solution look like?

This question is an important one to ask if you’re about to tackle an implementation project. Different experts may have different opinions on measuring success, but here at Systemware, we feel we can measure the success of an implementation with one simple question: Have we met the customer’s needs?

As we partner with our customers throughout their journey, we work towards meeting their ECM needs while being mindful of time and resource limitations. We are driven by our customers’ needs, which is why we make sure to open up a line of continuous communication. This way, customers are able to let us know at any point in time when the solution is meeting their expectations or when they feel adjustments need to be made, allowing us to make necessary changes.

First take a step back

Many organizations aren’t sure where to start when implementing a new ECM solution. From our experience, the first step is to take a step back and take inventory of the organization’s needs. Companies need to ask themselves a critical question: Why do we want an ECM solution and what do we want it to do for us?

Troubled ECM implementations often stem from an insufficient understanding of customers goals and requirements. It’s essential that an organization determines and communicates exactly what it is that it hopes to achieve with an ECM solution. And as a vendor, we have the responsibility to help customers identify these requirements. Without a clear understanding of where you’re going, it’s not possible to get there.

In our experience, this is particularly true with an issue that pops up in virtually every implementation: integration. Before we can begin deployment, we need to understand the current and potential future integration points.  In large organizations this is often quite complex. ECM doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In the digital ecosystems of modern businesses, ECM systems are expected to be able to integrate and communicate with other existing systems in the organization. Many times, an ECM system is at the center of a massive web of content feeds and pulls, which calls for a high degree of interoperability and integration.

Unfortunately, not every ECM solution is equally capable of handling this kind of requirement like Systemware’s Content Cloud can. So, if an organization is facing complex integration needs, it’s critical they understand that upfront to ensure that their new ECM solution has the flexibility and adaptability to address it.

Implement, learn and repeat

One of the most valuable things to understand about an ECM implementation: If success is based on meeting customer needs, then take into account that customer needs may change over time. The needs a customer has at the time of implementation may not be the needs they have a year later, which is why we believe that organizations should never stop evaluating and re-evaluating their solutions according to their requirements.

An organization is like a living thing: it grows and evolves over time, and an ECM solution should be expected to grow along with it. If a solution isn’t able to do this, it won’t succeed in the long run. We understand this well, which is why Systemware’s technology is designed to evolve in unison with our customers’ infrastructure and objectives. It’s also why we develop partnerships with our customers that allow us to reevaluate their needs at any point in time.

Our goal is to exceed customer expectations on a continuing basis, and to that end we believe in reevaluating our approach in tandem with evolving customer needs. Success in an ECM implementation isn’t a one-time measurement – it’s an unending commitment.

Sean Furrh, Director of Solution Delivery, is responsible for the implementation strategy of Systemware’s enterprise content management software solutions.