Clearing the Way For Sustained Growth and Change: Benchmark Checks for ECMNovember 20, 2023
By Brian DeWyer, Reveille Software
Change is inevitable, and in the technology industry, change is a welcome occurrence. Changes bring growth and competitive advantage in the IT world—especially when it comes to Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), or Content Services Platforms (CSP).
When it comes to significant decisions like upgrading ECM and CSP platforms that are vital to the core operations of a business process, it’s crucial to have detailed and accurate information. Many use benchmarking to ensure that their systems perform efficiently and effectively and match industry standards. As part of the benchmarking process, information is gathered from many sources within and around ECM systems and analyzed to ensure current systems are up to par and the path for improving them in the future is clear.
Gathering metrics with the proper context to set benchmarks will help make ECM system upgrade decisions, implementations, capacity increases, and migrations to the cloud more successful and reduce the inherent risk of such activities. Areas to gather context sensitive ECM metrics include database, repository, application server activity, workflow processing and transformation processing volumes, capture and transformation processing levels, application integration as well as ECM and RPA platform service levels.
Know These Four ECM Areas Well Before Attempting An Upgrade
When performing an ECM upgrade, there are four significant considerations to contend with:
- Benchmarks and ROI – An ECM platform can’t continue to provide value and move an organization forward if it’s stuck in the past. Upgrading it with new features, functionality, and performance boosts keeps the platform working up to its potential. Benchmarking performance results before the upgrade is essential to measure its potential impact and ensure it meets the goals set. When measuring ROI, these benchmarks will come in handy as they can quantify the exact impact of the upgrade. Depending on the nature of the upgrade, there might be different aspects to benchmark. For example, you may track retrieval and workflow automation, application delivery time, scaling in-system, storage costs, and staff time spent on production support to gain insightful details into your upgrade effectiveness and impact.
- New Implementations – Benchmarking pinpoints the most suitable ECM for a particular upgrade by comparing the performance of various configurations, vendors, and their ability to integrate with CRM, ERP, human resource platforms, and other enterprise systems. Finding the right choice is accomplished by conducting a proof-of-concept pilot test with benchmarks before implementation. This process will confirm the results you can expect from any implementation and allow you to validate the best solution to enhance the success rate. Conducting a proof of concept is crucial to establish expected ECM performance. The concept step also establishes peace of mind that a mismatched ECM is not selected but an ECM solution proven to adapt to your work environment.
- Migrations – Establishing an acceptable performance baseline via benchmarking is vital to successfully migrating from one ECM system to another. Given how complex such migrations can be and how many resources they demand, an inefficient or delayed migration can be very costly. Migrations should not be attempted before the benchmark references validate future ECM performance against past system performance.
However, it’s wise not to attempt the complete migration simultaneously when migrating to the cloud. Instead, bring portions of the content to the new platform and test it against the previous benchmarks. If the process works well, you can continue to other platform aspects that need to be migrated. Often, you may uncover adjustments that need to be made to the migration process; it’s better to notice them when most of the migration is still yet to happen.
- Adding Capacity – It’s essential to know the signs that an ECM platform is nearing its capacity and requires an increase. These low-capacity signals can take the form of slow performance and long backup times, extended downtime, reduced functionality, and more frequent support issues. In many ways, reaching capacity is inevitable; as a company grows, so must its infrastructure. But catching these signs early will allow you to address the impending capacity limit before it starts, avoiding user frustration and reduced performance.
For many organizations, these vital benchmarking processes are complicated by many existing ECM and RPA platforms running in unison. The Association for Information Management (AIIM) notes that most organizations have more than four different ECM platforms, thus complicating the benchmarking process. Focusing on business-critical applications and the ECM, CSP, and RPA platforms they depend on before upgrading, is the most efficient way to approach benchmarking.
Change promotes concern, but concern can be alleviated if thoughtful benchmarking is conducted to ensure upgrades and structural changes are the right choices for particular enterprises. Building ample time to gather data for proper benchmarking provides companies with the foresight to predict the need for capacity enhancements, prepare for migrations and upgrades, and successfully implement changes or entirely new solutions. Making informed decisions is good, but the metric-informed benchmark decisions are a bulwark against risk as an organization grows.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian DeWyer is CTO and Co-Founder of Reveille Software. With more than 25 years of experience in technology, Brian DeWyer provides product strategy and technical leadership in his role as Reveille CTO and board member. Brian leverages his extensive knowledge from his tenure as a senior IT leader at an FSI and his previous role as a process consulting practice leader for IBM Services delivering on-premises and cloud-based solution implementations for Fortune 1000 commercial and government clients. He has led process change efforts within large organizations, building on content-driven solutions for high-volume transaction processing applications. He is a past board member of the Association of Image and Information Management (AIIM) industry association. Brian graduated from Virginia Tech with a BSME and holds an MBA from Wake Forest University.