ECM, BPM, and the Cloud: First Things First!

By Steve Weissman posted 01-25-2012 12:05

  

If you're like me – and I know I am – then you're probably sick of posts and articles with headlines such as the one above. But I am fresh off a number of conversations with both media types and end-users that have compelled me to visit the subject again because of the apparent continuing tendency of organizations to jump straight towards a solution (pun intended) before ever asking their single most important question:

"What business problem are we trying to solve?”

As I have said and written many times before, it is awfully hard to implement a system that meets your needs without first having defined what they are! No vendor is going to understand the particulars of your requirements better than you do, so you must start from there and then work outwards. This is why I inevitably end up telling the students in the classes I teach that this upfront thinking is the work – the rest, as the T-shirt says, is just details.

This is especially important in the world of the cloud, where the underlying business model is quite different and can be very attractive to organizations seeking to simplify their infrastructure management and/or minimize their capital investments. But the decision to go that route still needs to begin with that single critical question. Otherwise, you can easily end up with a balance sheet-friendly system that does less to further your business – if anything – than you thought it would.

Think of “the cloud” as being nothing more than a hosting alternative and you will likely get off to a good start. As with internally based systems, you have to be sure that the choices you are evaluating can interoperate well with the other of your solutions that they will be needing to touch, provide the requisite level of security, and other of the usual requirements. But then you have to look beyond the merely functional and examine such other necessities as whether the Service Level Agreement you will have to sign allows you to maintain compliance with any procedures and regulations that affect your operation.

In most cases, your SLA will look just like everybody else’s using the same cloud platform, and that may not be good enough to satisfy your auditors and oversight committees. You won't know that, of course, unless you do your internal diligence first – and that is exactly the point I'm making.

Whether it's compliance, governance, or raw functionality, it is imperative that you fully understand what you need your cloud solution to do before you come close to picking one. Is this news or rocket science? No, of course not. But it is clear to me that this fundamental truth still is too often overlooked, and I would hate to see you, dear reader, suffer the consequences.



#BusinessProcessManagement #cloud #BPM #ContentManagement #ECM
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Comments

09-28-2012 10:32

It always comes down to the work doesn't it. It's easier to sit in your office and look at the internet and all the cool videos that marketing people build than it is to sit down with someone you barely know and try and pull information out of them. Well there it is, Good article.