We’re going to add one more item to our pre-ECM project checklist:
1) Where should we store our content?
Database storage used to be expensive. In the 1950’s, the cost per megabyte of storage exceeded $10,000/MB. Today, the cost has dropped to a few cents. Not only have storage costs dropped, so have memory costs as they have followed the same price drop as storage. Taking advantage of lower costs; most DB manufacturers have begun offering high performance in memory databases (IMDB – In-Memory Database).
From an ECM perspective; because of the higher database costs, content storage solutions were designed to use databases to store only the metadata or the index values associated with content, and the actual files and documents were stored on cheaper file storage devices. While lowering costs, this approach meant that ECM solutions were forced with managing, synchronizing, backing up, and designing applications where index values were one place and the actual documents, audio/video files were somewhere else. Continue reading →
As a Project Manager at ImageSource, it is my job to educate and guide stakeholders to the best solution based on budget, timelines and requirements. Having previously worked as a consultant at ImageSource, I’ve worked with the stakeholders of an organization to outline the scope of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution for their business. During this process, our project management team conducts interviews of the users as well as workshops. The workshops help to demonstrate what is necessary for the organization to become more efficient rather than having unnecessary features, which, at times, can cause more work. As ECM technology continues to advance, more and more features become available and included in products. During the workshops, stakeholders must make tough decisions on what features are needed verses those that would just be nice to have.
Once these requirements are identified, our next objective is to review the products available, such as ILINX, IBM and Oracle, that will cover all the features the business needs to become more efficient. Currently on the market are several out-of-the-box software options that may fulfill some of the requirements needed. However, most organizations, small or large, have business processes that are unique and require configurable workflow options, database links and/or specific security requirements. Software that has this functionality ranges in licensing costs, software costs and implementation costs. It is important to have the requirements clearly identified from the beginning so that when the organization begins to review the software demos and proof of concepts, the best and most cost efficient solution is selected.
ILINX Import has a cool function that allows you to do metadata only updates to records in an EDMS system without having to upload or replace an image. This functionality is exposed at the web service layer of Import so it must be consumed by another program.
As project managers – we’re used to dealing with and preparing for uncertainty and risks. If you were managing a project to improve an existing product or develop a new product, you would most likely be dealing with a project sponsor who was an operations or product manager who could clearly articulate his/her goals and requirements. In essence your project risk right out of the gate is lessened with explicit project goals and a well-defined set of requirements.
In previous blogs on this same subject, we have discussed the role of Executive Management in the overall Project Team effort. And what elements from the internal organization would likely comprise an effective team. In summary, vibrant and effective executive leadership is likely to be critical in solidifying the vision for the project. The target of effort to achieve project acceptance and enthusiasm is cascading in that the focus of executive leadership is middle management. The components of a project team may be different for each organization or type of organization – whatever best suites the particular organizational structure, and what special considerations there might be in the project (i.e. does it involve web content, collaboration, integration with ERP or SharePoint environments, etc.).
ECM technology has been maturing for the past few years – and with this maturation comes a wider range of price points and expertise allowing for the benefits of ECM to be utilized by smaller companies and to truly encompass ever smaller business processes and departments within an enterprise. Regardless of the size of the ECM project, each will be scrutinized by some type of cost/benefit analysis to determine whether to proceed with the project.
Today, we’re going to talk specifically about costs and the flip side of the coin – benefits or cost reductions. More specifically, I hope that the following information will increase your comfort level in dealing with ‘he/she who holds the purse strings’ – from RFP stage through negotiations that ensue regarding the trade-offs between scope, resources (costs) and time frame on your project.
The considerations for architecture and deployment of global capture systems are several fold. The traditional considerations and methodologies would include; software deployment models, conventional server models, fault tolerance considerations, HR considerations, change management, etc. However, in the global context there is another set of considerations that must be factored into the decision making processes. Regardless of the quality or nature of the software, there are myriad factors that are independent of the software application and within any global corporation, which can and will affect: