Enterprise content management (ECM, or otherwise called content services) allows for instant, digital access to information; enhanced operational efficiencies; decreased cost of compliance; and improved customer service. This Q&A, developed by Kyocera, should help answer any questions you may have about ECM and why you should be considering it for your business.
1. What is the ROI of an ECM solution?
By implementing an ECM solution, companies gain a shortcut to greater profitability without the complications and costs of other approaches. Identifying clear workflows allows organisations to reap the rewards of ECM (content services). These technologies allow companies to automate workflows, leaving the most laborious, time-consuming and monotonous tasks to be carried out almost instantaneously and automatically, while enabling employees to better apply their time to more profitable activities.
2. What are the benefits of ECM?
- Improved workflow and productivity
- Minimised paper, office supplies, storage space and fees
- Secure storage, backup and transmission of content
- Regulatory compliance
- Secure access via multiple devices, including mobile
- Remote employee access
- Increased access to current and correct resources
- User-specific clearance preferences
- Vertical industry-specific software
- Centrally stored data is integrated with other crucial systems
3. How do I find the right ECM for my business?
ECM enables your organisation to become smarter and more efficient than your competitors. Instead of thinking of ECM as just a document storage solution that makes searching and finding them quick and easy, think of it as a way to manage documents throughout their entire workflow cycle – from creation to disposal.
Here are some questions to consider before making a decision on the right solution for your business:
- What are your organisation’s needs?
- Is the ECM solution aligned with your company’s objectives?
- What ECM solutions are similar businesses using?
- Is it easy to use?
- Is it easy to integrate with your existing systems and applications?
- Is the ECM solution flexible enough for any future changes?
- Is it cloud based?
- Can staff easily access files and documents when working remotely?
- Is the solution secure?
- Does the solution fulfil the necessary regulatory requirements?
- Will the ECM provider offer specialised training and support during and after the implementation?
4. Where do I start with an ECM solution?
It is advisable to start with a smaller and simpler process. Dip your toe in the water, so to speak. It is highly probable that an existing packaged solution for this process exists. Implement it with your solutions provider and then evaluate the efficiencies and productivity that this one process has brought to your organisation. From there, you will having learnings and insights into the process to enable you to automate and create workflows for more complex processes.
Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of having access to business-critical information regardless of location, whether that is in the office or working remotely.
Organisations can then take advantage of dynamic ECM solutions to solve a variety of content management challenges. Eliminating obstacles will reduce manual processes, minimise content errors, automate access classification, and provide additional benefits to organisations to allow them to focus their time and resources on high-priority areas.
5. Can ECM be customised to my requirements?
Each solution can be customised according to the customer’s needs. The ECM solution provider will provide your business with trained document management specialists to create a customised ECM strategy to solve your specific document challenges.
6. Does ECM development take long to perform?
This depends on the requirements of the customer. If you need an end-to-end solution – including integration, and highly complex routing rules and database queries – the development may take longer to implement. Alternatively, if you just want to take a simple, paper-based process and make it digital, the implementation will be much shorter.
Your ECM consultant will provide guidance, but it’s still important to understand the process to ensure a smooth transition. Ask your ECM solution provider for guidance and more information on the duration of the project, based on the areas you have identified for improvement and the expected benefits.
The process of implementing an ECM project takes focus and effort, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
7. Is ECM implementation an expensive exercise?
Cost is related to development time required. The bigger the requirement, the greater the scope, and the higher the cost.
Vendors all have different cost and quoting structures, making it difficult to compare products directly. There are initial setup costs, ongoing charges, sometimes a per-user charge, technical support fees and update charges.
Some may be all-in-one pricing models, while others are modular in their pricing, which can make it challenging to compare.
Basic business-critical functions include:
- Installation costs
- Annual/ongoing licence fees for X number of users
- Annual support packages
8. Can employees’ tasks be tracked?
The implementation of technology into a workflow process can revolutionise the way in which organisations work. Throughout every step of the process, management can maintain control and perform analysis in order to guarantee that it is progressing on track.
Team members also gain far greater oversight on projects. If employees want to check in on an order or project, they can. Even better, they can do so quickly and easily, in just a few clicks. Gone are the days of detailed emails and chasing different staff members. ECM allows management to check in on a specific workflows and see the exact times and dates that employees have marked their part of their process as complete, or when they have viewed files. This provides businesses with far greater scope to achieve efficiencies and leads to a rounded oversight.
9. Does ECM have audit trails for compliance?
Popia applies to any person or organisation that stores any type of records relating to personal information, unless those records are subject to other legislation which protects such information more stringently. The Popi Act therefore sets the minimum standards for the protection of personal information.
The act regulates the “processing” of personal information, which includes collecting, receiving, recording, organising, retrieving or using the information; or disseminating, distributing or making personal information available. The act also relates to records which are already in the possession of the entity or person doing the processing.
With the enforcement of Popia having come into effect on 1 July 2021, every business is required to comply with the standards as prescribed in the Act.
ECM solutions have a comprehensive compliant range of print and document security features, many of which are standard. More on this here.
10. Can ECM solutions integrate with other systems?
Built with an open architecture and designed for integration and interoperability, ECM integrates seamlessly with existing core business systems to manage the flow of documents and information used, ensuring the challenges specific to the industry and department are solved. ECM systems are completely customisable to business and industry needs and offer enterprise-level functionality to enhance workflows company-wide.
Users can easily develop integrations with any non-proprietary software, providing information on demand, as well as document collaboration and movement capabilities. However, not all ECM solutions are created equal; before committing to a brand, be sure to obtain a guarantee that the system will integrate with existing infrastructure. This will save the team time and money in the long run.
ECM integrates seamlessly with existing core business systems to manage the flow of documents and information used, ensuring the challenges specific to the industry and department are solved. Once data has been input into a business system, such as an ERP tool or similar, professionals can clearly access the most up to date information and in a compatible format for their needs and their own computer systems. This avoids unnecessary delays and guarantees that professionals are not left waiting for clarification, or are unable to get started on their tasks with the right information, which would effectively be time thrown down the drain.
Click here for more questions and answers on ECM.
About Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa
Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa is a group company of Kyocera Document Solutions Inc, a global leading provider of total document solutions based in Osaka, Japan. The company’s portfolio includes reliable and eco-friendly MFPs and printers, as well as business applications and consultative services which enable customers to optimise and manage their document workflow, reaching new heights of efficiency. With professional expertise and a culture of empathetic partnership, the objective of the company is to help organisations put knowledge to work to drive change. For further information, visit www.kyoceradocumentsolutions.co.za.
About KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc
Kyocera Document Solutions Inc is a core company of Kyocera Corporation, a leading supplier of semiconductor packages, industrial and automotive components, electronic devices, solar power generating systems, and mobile phones. During the year ended 31 March 2019, Kyocera Corporation’s consolidated sales revenue totalled about US$14.6-billion. Kyocera appears on the “Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators 2018-19” list by Clarivate Analytics and is ranked #655 on Forbes magazine’s 2019 “Global 2000” list of the world’s largest publicly traded companies.
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