Many companies in South Africa are faced with the decision of whether to build their own Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution or use an ECM solution developed by a specialised ECM application software company. While building your own ECM solution may seem like an attractive option at first, because of the new database and cloud technologies, there are other factors that need to be considered when implementing an ECM solution.
The main purpose of ECM solutions is to securely store and easily retrieve content like bank statements, invoices, notification letters, correspondence etc. When selecting an ECM solution, you would need to consider how the content is stored, encrypted and retrieved because this will have a cost associated with it. Content must be compressed to the smallest size to minimise the cost of storing the data, but it must also be stored in such a way that it can easily be retrieved securely and effectively.
We believe that using an ECM solution that was developed by a specialised ECM application software company is a better choice for companies that manage large quantities of content.
Here are some of the key advantages of using ECM solutions from specialised ECM application software companies:
- Specialised ECM application software companies have years of experience in designing and developing ECM solutions that use the latest and best technologies to store content efficiently at the smallest possible size but at the same time, making it easy and quick to retrieve using open standards. They have a deep understanding of ECM best practices, industry standards, and the latest technologies. Most of them are the leaders in the development of these technologies because they have the research and development budget to develop these technologies.
- Developing your own ECM solution requires a lot of specialised resources. Software developers that are specialised in the latest database and cloud technologies are easy to find but to develop your own ECM solution, you would need software developers that also specialise in ECM technologies.
- ECM solutions developed by specialised ECM application software companies are backed by these software development companies' quality standards and testing. As a result, the solutions will be more reliable than the ones you build yourself. You can rely on specialised ECM application software companies for warranty support, software updates, and other services which you may not have access to if you build your own product.
- Specialised providers of ECM software solutions typically have a significantly larger pool of users evaluating their product, as opposed to the user base within your own organisation. This affords a high degree of confidence that software glitches are identified and addressed expeditiously.
- Specialised ECM application software companies provide support for their solutions with documentation, updates, and customer service. The same cannot always be said about self-built products.
- When building your own solution, you only focus on your own functional requirements whereby specialised ECM application software companies get enhancement requests from their customer base across multiple industries. By using solutions developed by these software companies which have a dedicated R&D budget to stay ahead of their competitors, you can guarantee that the solution you have invested in is keeping up with the competition and the industry trends.
- By leveraging specialised ECM application software providers, a comprehensive understanding of the life cycle costs of your ECM solution can be obtained, as license costs and anticipated annual increases are made transparent. In contrast, developing an in-house ECM solution yields uncertainty in terms of the associated costs, as estimating the time required for application development - especially when such processes are not at the forefront of your organisation's purview - proves to be difficult.
- Developing your own ECM solution can take a long time, especially if you don't have the necessary expertise and experience. It takes time to design, develop and test own built solutions. A specialised ECM application software company can help you get your ECM solution up and running quickly. They have already developed the software and can quickly customize it to fit your requirements.
- The management of content entails a significant consideration for security and encryption. Specialised ECM application software companies have designated teams for tackling cyber threats in software development whereas if you build your own ECM solution, you need to be able to be prepared for potential security risks, such as hacking attempts.
Overall, using solutions that were developed by specialised ECM application software companies can save you time, money, and headaches while providing you with a more reliable evolving solution, with after sales and technical support.
So, although it might initially seem more cost effective to build your own ECM solution when looking properly at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) a specialised ECM application software company solution is in fact cheaper.