ECM: Evolving, Critical and MANAGEABLE
September 03, 2014

Dave Gibson
Reveille Software

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My, how times have changed. Enterprise content management applications were once viewed as “backend” systems that were primarily focused on archival or records management processes. However, their role in organizations have grown and evolved. A recent survey executed by AIIM and Reveille shows that 80% agree their content systems are now just as critical to their business operations as transactional systems.

That’s no surprise given the fact that ECMs are often deployed for thousands of users, across a multitude of locations and have integrations with numerous customer-facing applications. But, all of this does shine a light on the need for constant uptime, in-depth platform visibility and trending of key performance indicators.

However, according to the same survey, the majority of respondents (57%) said they had nowhere near the same performance information about the content systems as they do for their transactional systems. Why the disconnect? What can be done to fix this?

Complex and Complicated

First, it is important to recognize that the growth in ECM systems’ criticality did not happen overnight. As organizations have grown, acquired other companies with competing applications, consolidated applications, added databases and servers – the entire ECM ecosystem has grown increasingly complex.

Many organizations have tried, often in vain, to manage these applications manually or at a thousand foot level with enterprise-standard monitoring solutions. Unfortunately, these approaches are also extremely complicated, costly, and time-consuming; and organizations still don’t get visibility into the specific processes that are unique to ECM. Regardless, both methods fail to deliver the necessary insight.

Often, the end result is an IT department that is stuck in a reactive mode, constantly responding to end-user calls rather than proactively preventing ECM issues in the first place. In fact, 72% of survey respondents described their current performance monitoring as “manual – triggered by incidents/support calls.”

Monitor, Measure and Manage

There has to be a better way. A better way to manage your business-critical content… A better way to spend your staff’s man-hours… A better way to ensure application performance.

As with so many technologies; they must be managed in a process-oriented way - from determining baselines that can be leveraged for threshold-based alerts, to defining service levels that can be agreed upon and measured, through trending key performance indicators to report on usage and enable better decision making. The only way to achieve this is an in-depth understanding of the ECM application platform and a management solution that stays current on the latest product releases.

So start monitoring and measuring the intricate details of your ECM with application-specific management solutions. Finally get the insight you need to provide key stakeholders with valuable reports and trending, ensure performance and service levels are optimized, and start focusing on more critical projects. And let’s all agree that yes, ECM has evolved. Yes, ECM is critical. And Yes, ECM applications are manageable.

Dave Gibson is COO of Reveille Software.

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