Post By: George Sarty | Professional Services Manager | Sword CTSpace
I have been developing and implementing software solutions for over 25 years and have spent the last 4 specializing in ECM solutions, primarily for the oil&gas, utilities and engineering/design industries.
In this series of blogs, I will share some of my experiences, tips, tricks, gotchas, etc., most learned the hard way. Hopefully, you will find some of this useful. If it is, or if it isn’t, please feel free to comment, correct or question. I don’t pretend to have all the answers and would also like to learn from others’ experiences.
Blog #2 – Evaluate and select your solution
As discussed in my 1st blog, your implementation is likely to not succeed unless you have a business case and strong commitment and active participation by the stakeholders and business users.
If you have the above, then you should have a good starting point for building your evaluation and selection criteria for a solution.
In general, your requirements/criteria will fall into 4 broad categories:
- Schedule and Cost (acquisition and ongoing support)
Following are some considerations for each:
Functional requirements will further breakdown as either base document management capabilities (not unique to your business) and your organization’s specific processes (use cases).
Base document management functions include (but aren’t necessarily limited to):
- Check in/check out
- Markups, comments
- Copy/send link
- Document numbering, versioning
- Workflow engine
- Security (ideally integrated with your corporate directory)
Some examples of your organization’s specific processes would be:
- Review and approval workflow
- Bid package assembly, review and transmittal
- Operating manual update procedure
- Contract review
- Project startup
What you will need to determine from your users is any unique features your selected solution would need to have in order to accommodate their use cases. For example, if your process requires a document to be ‘watermarked’ at each stage in its lifecycle, then the solution you select needs to have workflow and/or lifecycle management and the ability to automatically render documents with watermarks.
Developing a complete set of your organization’s requirements will take detailed analysis with each functional area targeted to use the solution. Also insure that you understand which requirements are ‘must haves’ and which ones are of secondary importance.
First off, understand that this breaks down into two parts:
- The base document management repository e.g. FileNet, OpenText, Documentum
- The application that will provide the interface and processes designed for the business function (e.g. legal, HR, design and construction).
The base DM systems all come with tools that enable you to build these functional capabilities yourself but, in practice, this is time consuming and expensive compared to an ‘off the shelf’ solution
So with regards to both cases, considerations should include:
- Operating systems supported
- Server requirements
- Database requirements
- Storage requirements
- Programming environment (i.e. Java, .NET)
- Web based (browsers supported, active content, etc.) vs. thick client (desktop pre-requisites)
- Security capabilities
Migration of existing documents into the new system is frequently overlooked or underestimated. First off, determine your migration strategy (which basically mirrors your deployment strategy). There are typically 3 choices:
- Use new solution only going forward i.e. no migration, archive old content
- Migrate all existing content
- Migrate only active content and archive the rest
Essentially the choices are ALL, SOME or NONE. Chances are very good that it will be all or some. In this case, you need to specify your migration needs. Considerations include:
- Where is the existing content? How will it be migrated?
- How is the content structured? Can I infer the documents purpose/properties from the information available (i.e. folder name, document name, etc.)?
- Are there specific properties that I need to maintain during migration? Are there properties I need to map to the new environment? Does the solution provide tools to do this?
- What is the volume of documents? What are the types? Are there relationships between documents that need to be maintained?
Schedule and Cost
These two items are interrelated as cost can affect schedule and vice versa. Costs include:
- Hardware and software acquisition
- Internal labor
- Vendor implementation costs
- Migration costs
- Maintenance and Support
With regards to schedule, consider the elapsed times and labor time for the following:
- define requirements
- evaluate and select a solution
- negotiate contracts with vendor(s)
- ramp up time for both internal and external resources
- ordering and installing hardware
- define and perform configurations to the software (security, taxonomy, workflows, etc.)
- develop test plans
- user acceptance testing
- go live activities
To summarize: the more complete and accurate all of the information gathered and documented during this process, the better chance you have of getting the best solution for your organization. All of the above should be detailed in your RFI to potential vendors and discussed with them during the evaluation process. The earlier everyone sets realistic expectations as to effort, schedule and cost, the smoother the implementation will be for everyone.
George Sarty is the Professional Services lead/senior implementation manager for Sword CTSpace. George has over 25 years of experience designing and implementing complex software solutions for a variety of industries. Prior to joining Sword, George spent a number of years with Microsoft Corporation working with customers such as Dell, Conoco Phillips, Shell and ExxonMobil.
Post By: Richard Miesemer | Product Manager | FusionLive CW
As a follower of technology, I can’t believe all of the recent articles and spins on cloud computing. Everyone from Microsoft to Google is jumping on the bandwagon and there are multitudes of cloud computing terminology being bandied about? IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, public cloud computing, private cloud computing…and the list goes on and on. Well, Sword CTSpace has been a leader in leveraging the internet to deliver cloud based Software as a Service (Saas) to the engineering and construction community since 1997. Back then we were defined as an application service provider, ASP. We’ve been on the leading edge of cloud based collaboration, whether it be document based or business process driven.
Our cloud based solution is multi-tenant, which lowers total cost of ownership by distributing costs across multiple customers. Our solution provides reuse of the application layer/logic across all tenants, which means that all customers receive all product enhancements. Our solution has a flexible configuration to onboard new tenants quickly and efficiently. And best of all, you only pay for what you use, which means you can scale up and down as dictate by your business.
Our solution also supports an open architecture with documented Application Programming Interfaces. This will allow you make our solution part of your overall information management strategy by integrating it with your behind the firewall applications such as ERP, ECM, CRM, etc. Just to throw a few more acronyms at you…..
What are some of the benefits I’ve seen over the years….quick and easy implementations (days not months), easy to use which means quick user adoption, audit trails mitigating risk, less issues with turnover at the end of projects, geographically dispersed teams working efficiently with one another. And the list goes on and on and on….
Post By: Sarah Dodsworth |Customer Support | FusionLive CW
Last week I worked on a FusionLive support case that I thought would be worth sharing.
A user contacted me to say that whenever they tried to open a file, they were seeing a Windows prompt in Internet Explorer. Usually this prompt is caused by the Internet Explorer ‘Downloads’ section not being enabled…
But when I checked on the user’s machine, they were enabled. This confused both me and an IT contact at the company who was also looking at his problem.
I went away, did some research, ran some tests & discovered that Internet Explorer has different ‘Zones’, each ‘Zone’ having its own security settings. As the user had added our URL to their ‘Trusted Sites’, it meant that we needed to look at the Security Setting in that particular zone. I checked the security settings for the ‘Trusted Sites’ zone & there the automatic prompting for downloads was disabled. As soon we enabled it, all Windows prompts disappeared when the user tried to open a file.
For more information on Internet Explorer Zones take a look at the following website
Post By: Stephen Fernandez |Customer Support | FusionLive CW
Two months ago we released the new FusionLive CW Web User Interface.
The updated UI gave FusionLive CW a new fresh feel while still maintaining all of the existing CW web features that our users are familiar with. We also added new functionality like Advanced Search, Business Process Log filtering and Calculated Fields and Number Formatting.
If you haven’t had a chance to take a look, why not login now?
Here at Sword CTSpace we love the new UI (but then we are biased). We encourage you to explore beyond Desktop and experience our CW Web Access. Feedback is always welcome….and we hope that you are as excited about our new look and feel as we are! Below is a sneak peak at what you are missing if you haven’t checked it out yet.
Post by: Angela Restani | Director of Marketing US
Welcome to the Sword CTSpace blog. We are getting into the blogging arena a little late, but it was intentional. Before we started our blog we wanted to make sure that we had all the pieces in place for our blog to be informative, interesting and relevant. Those are not 3 easy things to accomplish. I have seen a lot of blogs that are none of those things. I have also seen a lot of blogs that are only written sporadically, so we really wanted to have a plan in place before jumping in feet first to this arena. Our first order of business was to decide what can we offer to our customers that would be of value and worth their time to read. Here’s what we came up with.
We are lucky enough that in our business, we get to work with customers who have capital projects around the world. We see firsthand some of the latest techniques that are making projects a success, which we find fascinating and we’re sure other people can benefit from learning about. We are also fortunate to work with some of the best minds in the ECM business and will provide you with tips and tricks for SAAS and Enterprise content management.
So please, continue to read our blog posts and give us your feedback. The goal of our blog is to connect with our customers and create a dialogue so that we may continue to improve our service and our products.