Everyday, more and more large organizations are taking on enterprise content management software to manage their business. As they collect an increased amount of data in order to understand their customers and improve how they function, they’re discovering the greater need for ECM software.
With ECM, businesses are able to collect all of their documents into one place, track project progression, and easily sync up with email, social media platforms, and other integrations they utilize. ECM keeps everyone up to date, as well as ahead of the curve.
As a an SMB, adopting an enterprise product is daunting. Pricing usually isn’t prepared with your size of organization in mind, and you may have less options available for your small staff. Luckily, there are ways to not only afford a Content Management solution but to get just as much benefit from it as the big guys. If you budget for this type of product, the return on investment will pay for itself and make up for your fancy financial footwork!
Budgeting for ECM software
First and foremost, ECM software is an investment. It is a solution that will require funding over time. Given the high return on investment and the amount of time, energy, and resources it saves in the long run, the cost is absolutely justified.
Research from Coopers and Lybrand shows that employees waste 20 to 40% of their time at work looking for documents, manually. A study by AIIM found that when employees have remote access to company documents, efficiency rises 20 to 25%. Additionally, a report from IDC divulged that the typical enterprise, which has 1,000 workers, throws away $2.5 to $3.5 million per year looking for non-existing information, not being able to locate existing information, and reproducing information that simply cannot be found.
ECM software can cost as low as $30,000 depending on the needs of each business. The department manager decides what features should be included in the software. They round out the company’s spending budget by taking into account the cost of physical equipment (such as servers, scanners, and computers), along with working hours required for installation. They also track what their current processes are costing the company, allowing them to visualize what an investment in ECM software could end up saving them.
Small and large companies are seeing a boost in their ROI when they sign up for ECM software. According to Nucleus Research, in 2014, the return for every dollar spent was $7.50, up from $6.12 in 2012. That amount has continued to grow. ECM software users gained more than 400% ROI within five years of implementation, according to a study from IDC. When was the last time you saw a percentage like that for ROI?
Determining the ROI of ECM software for your business is no easy task. Enterprise content management and document management systems are complicated machines with an endless array of moving parts and intricate components. To make a firm conclusion, your business must ensure that all variables are accurately captured and that new technology costs are diligently recorded. Soon, calculating the ROI of your ECM software will become no more elaborate than an equation; dividing the cumulative total after tax cash flow by the initial investment you’ve made.
Finding an ECM provider
The best path for implementing ECM software is to find a provider that will work with your business’ resources to find you the best possible solution, customizing it to fit your size, capabilities, and needs. Neither settling for a generic ECM software nor trying to find the assets to build one yourself are going to be ideal for a small business.
Since there are so many aspects to ECM, one software provider may not meet all your needs. Sometimes, companies that offer software team up with re-sellers and partners to ensure that you have all the physical equipment, technology, and training required to get started. From imaging software and equipment, to a direct focus on management and collaboration.
The ECM software execution process can certainly not be done overnight. A change that big has many steps and will take much of your time. However, the advantages greatly outweigh the effort you’ll undoubtedly put in towards bringing your business to that next level.
A version of this article was published as How to Budget and Prepare Your Business for an ECM Solution by Kylie Ora Lobell on October 19th, 2015.