The Evolution of Enterprise Content Management

Forrester released two of its latest reports: Forrester Wave: Enterprise Content Management: Business Content Services, Q2, 2017 and The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Content Management — Transactional Content Services, Q2 2017. Along with assessing 13-15 ECM vendors, of which Everteam was listed as a “Strong Performer” in both reports, Forrester also talks about the current state of the ECM market and the transition that is taking place.

It’s a transition we understand very well at Everteam. It’s not enough to have an enterprise content management platform with a number of products that integrate and provide a range of capabilities. Today, we need to recognize that there is a real problem with information governance. Organizations are struggling to get control of their data and content. And that information is increasing substantially every year. But you can’t simply drop in a complex ECM platform and resolve all your problems in one fell swoop. If only it were that easy.

When we talk to organizations, we find that more often they are looking for a solution to a specific problem. Maybe it’s to retire an application, manage records of an acquired company, or archive information no longer necessary to the day to day business. Whatever the challenge, a full ECM suite is not always needed. What is needed these days is a business-specific content workflow solution that is independent of the ECM, but can tap into the central content repositories as well as the myriad other repositories and applications across the enterprise.

Content Services Across the Board

Forrester talks about two types of core content services that organizations need. Business content services support employees as they create and manage content as part of their day to day activities. Forrester notes “flexible user interfaces, document management, team collaboration and secure file-sharing” as key capabilities.

Transactional content services involve customer-focused processes, often in high volumes and usually originating with external parties like customers or partners. Business process management, multi-channel capture, and e-forms are noted by Forrester as key transactional content services capabilities.

When I first started working with Everteam, the one thing that impressed me the most was the breadth and depth of the technology that Everteam has. I liken it to box of Legos that you can mix and match to support whatever business requirements you have. Not every ECM vendor supports both business and transactional content services, but Everteam does. And our approach to delivering on those services has enabled us to support a wide range of customers at the department level and up.

Process Automation and Analytics: Key Everteam Capabilities

There were many commonalities across Everteam’s evaluations in both reports including “A strong commitment to research and development is evident, with customers solving complex content management challenges in markets such as government, defense, media, insurance, and energy.” Also noted was Everteam’s investment in improving the usability of its products and solutions particularly around metadata and document and records management.

But there are two key capabilities that are especially key to our offerings: the deep integration of analytics into business content services and the integration of process services capabilities into the core ECM and analytics portfolio.

Organizations need to be careful about analytics. Running reports on content is one thing, and it’s important to do, but actually analyzing what the data says and acting on it is another. It’s also critical to understand not just the metadata of a document or record, but the actual contents of that document. Everteam specializes in bringing together structured and unstructured content, but associating the two is the hardest part, and it’s a key part of our analytics capabilities.

Our process automation capabilities originated with the acquisition of BPM vendor Intalio. For the last year, we have worked hard to integrate process services into the core ECM platform as well as improve the capabilities of BPM overall. Things like the Analyst Workbench, Secure Services, and Ad hoc Processing ensure that business users have the tools they need to get the job done.

Do You Really Need BPM or RPA? The Case for Agile Business Process Automation

Business transformation is a long road. Trying to compete in a shifting market requires changing the way you do business. It requires changing how you interact with and support customers, partners and employees. And, it requires changing how you leverage technology.

Yet, if you are working to transform your business, the idea of using yet another heavy enterprise system like BPM or iBPMS feels too complex and slow.

While technology is an enabler of business transformation, large, monolithic enterprise systems (Pega, Appian, OpenText, IBM) aren’t the answer. They take too much time to figure out how to work, specialized developers (and millions in services) to implement, and by the time you get something in place, the market has changed and, in all likelihood, so has the process you’re trying to automate.

But, increasing your technical debt by adding multiple “point” solutions that do desktop automation (Robotic Process Automation) doesn’t feel like the right thing either.

And if you already have either (or both!) of these systems in place, then you certainly don’t want to go through the pain of trying to make these systems do what they can’t –  quick, agile business process automation.

So, where should you start?

What you need is something that can utilize the data and processes in your existing systems, orchestrate and automate these systems’ interactions and processes, and expose the results to your web portals and mobile applications to enhance your customer’s (both internal and external) experience.  And you need to be able to do it quickly and economically.

5 Business Processes Where Automation Empowers Customer Experience

Customer experience is a top priority in your organization and you’ve been investigating how technology can help. You’re not prepared to take down all your existing systems to create something new, and you don’t want to implement a heavy complex iBPMS solution, nor do you want to buy a bunch of RPA solutions. You’ve heard that business process automation can help. And you’re right, it can.

Let’s look at five types of business processes where business process automation drives better customer experience:

Routing Processes

So, your customers and suppliers are communicating with you, but to facilitate and complete these communications, they must access numerous systems that each have unique roles and data. Heck, just to simply become a customer for most companies requires access to 10 or more systems! And if you’re team is going to help, they too have to delve into these various systems–which equates to time, money, and ultimately lost business.

The answer is to leverage routing processes and decision rules that will provide a single point of interaction for the customer – a web application, mobile app or customer portal – and route the request to and between the appropriate systems using defined business rules.

Facade Processes

Facade processes provide a layer of abstraction over the top of a number of systems to present a unified experience to the customer. The best example here is a customer portal. The portal is the customer’s go-to connection to everything they want to do with your company.

The customer has one log in to the portal and can get direct access to all the systems and data they need to work with you. The portal provides a consistent user experience and a familiar look and feel across systems that are under the portal, even though these systems don’t look the same, share the same security, or even have similar data structures. Oh, and by the way, your employees would appreciate something like this too!

Simplification Processes

Simplification processes are exactly that – processes that hide the complexity necessary to provide a service to customers. These processes integrate multiple systems in a middle layer that abstracts data and decisions from these systems, processes it, and provides results to customers in a simplified interface.

Coordination Processes

A coordination process helps ensure a business transaction that involves multiple systems is initiated and completed in either a sequential or parallel pattern. Essentially, you define the process, indicate what systems are contacted in what order, what information is passed into each system and what information is received (and decisions are made) from each system when an activity is performed. These are often processes that take place over an extended period of time and involve regular updates to customers.

Augmentation Processes

Often, customer facing process requires an employee to watch or react to data or queues from one or more business system when certain conditions are met. They will then, based on that output or condition, perform a process in one system, and then based on the output of that system, may need to perform another process in one or more additional systems.

Augmentation processes enable an overarching process to initiate a process in the first system and then using that output, trigger additional actions in other systems. In this case, the augmentation process automates the additional work required across other systems when necessary.