June 15, 2012 by Tom Zeliff Categories: Document Management

Many organizations can cut manual processing costs by 50-80% with enterprise content management (ECM) services but are leery of the cost, complexity, time, and risk involved.

Others implement a solution at the departmental level with other departments having to recreate the wheel for a solution that meets their requirements—with integration of them being a nightmare. This reinforces the use of information silos that have strangled productivity and effective decision-making for years.

Is it possible to implement truly enterprise-wide content management with the ease of a departmental-level implementation? Can we have our cake and eat it too? Our experience answers, “Yes.”

The advent of cloud document management represents multi-departmental access to a central repository. The key is its natural integration with commonly used ERP systems and line-of-business applications. Additionally, this software as a service (SaaS) model requires no up-front capital expenditures, in-house IT support or long-term commitments, it is much easier to get buy-in at the CFO level—especially important for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to level the playing field with larger organizations. The availability of cloud document management that is SSAE 16 SOC 2-certified ensures the ultimate in dependability that rivals most in-house systems.

Here’s a four-phased approach to seamlessly rolling out enterprise content management across multiple departments that we’ve seen have the most success:

  • Phase I: AP – outsource invoice scanning and conversion—ideally via mailroom outsourcing—while implementing cloud document management to govern invoice storage, search, access, and security along with workflow automation and integration with commonly used financial and accounting systems like SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards, Sage MAS, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Lawson, and QuickBooks
  • Phase II: HR – roll out the same solution above in HR to outsource and automate the capture of employee records, performance evaluations and benefits enrollment that integrates with commonly used HRM systems, like SAP, Oracle’s Peoplesoft EnterpriseOne and ADP TotalSource
  • Phase III: Other Front Office – roll out to legal, AR, customer service and/or sales & marketing
  • Phase IV: Operations – roll out to engineering, manufacturing and shipping, along with large format scanning outsourcing

Any of the above phases could include in-house document scanning and data capture, though we recommend you use local outsourcing experts who focus on this as their business so you can focus on yours.

By adhering to this phased approach, you can experience a standardized solution across the enterprise with minimal complexity and capital investment. In fact, initial phases can cost-justify and perhaps even pay for successive phases.

Many companies focus on outsourcing finance and accounting (FAO). The problem with this solution is that it breaks down when applied to HR, throughout the front office and in operations—it’s like trying to push a square peg through a round hole.

Thus, we feel that a standardized and phased approach to enterprise content management (ECM) is a best practice for maximizing cost savings and minimizing risk, particularly when using document conversion outsourcing and cloud document management.