4 reasons to connect your LOBs with ECM, 1 better way to manage information


Information is the lifeblood of organizations. However, most companies still struggle to find data strewn across disconnected silos. Many of which contain related, but inconsistent, material.

Organizations manage, on average, 48 line-of-business (LOB) applications containing critical information, while a quarter of them juggle more than 100 applications, according to an IDG Research Services survey. That’s a nightmare scenario for a CIO.

Companies that haven’t made the leap to integrate their LOB applications with an enterprise content management (ECM) system face an even tougher challenge making effective and efficient use of critical business data.

This group, highly reliant on manual, hard-to-manage processes, remains a dominant force. The IDG survey shows an alarming 69 percent of respondents still rely on network file servicers to share and manage documents, while nearly half (47 percent) depend on Microsoft SharePoint to store and access documents related to data housed in LOB applications.

But there’s hope. Organizations that have integrated their LOBs with an ECM system have reaped tremendous savings. Here’s how:

1. Digitizes manual, paper-based processes

An ECM hub captures your documentation no matter the format and organizes it into a single, central location. It then automatically orchestrates key business processes, synchronizing information managed by the system in real time with tasks and activities initiated by other mission-critical LOB systems.

By doing so, users are able to work in the LOB systems they’re most familiar with while accessing critical documents and other supporting materials – without having to flip back and forth between screens and systems. Users can also access related documents and data in the context of a particular business process or set of tasks, greatly simplifying the flow of work.

2. Guarantees real-time data exchange between applications

When guaranteed data exchanges are orchestrated by dedicated servers within an enterprise-class infrastructure, outdated integration methods such as custom code, APIs and flat-file exchanges become obsolete.

Guaranteed delivery, a hallmark of such a service-based ECM hub, provides resiliency against disruptions such as network connectivity failures or even server overloads. The value of a guaranteed data exchange is also far superior to flat-file exchanges or customer-developed integrations as it ensures the delivery of data even when one of the applications is down for a period of time.

3. Offers a more intuitive environment for easily creating integrations

ECM solutions should support a GUI-based environment that lets business users or IT personnel intuitively and quickly establish a connection between it and the LOB applications without a requirement for programming. Your ECM vendor should also update its solution regularly to make sure it continues to integrate with the latest technology, making your IT investments future-proof.

4. Improves productivity while lowering IT costs

By leveraging ECM as an enterprise information hub, companies assure a number of compelling benefits. The combination of accurate and current information and the ability to work within the context of a specific business process boosts user productivity while creating a more natural and less disruptive path to effective decision-making.

From an infrastructure perspective, IT is unencumbered by the laborious and costly maintenance process of writing and troubleshooting custom integrations. If you don’t need to custom code on the front end, that means you never have to go back and rewrite that code. Ever.

There are also productivity gains associated with trading up a one-off custom programming effort with a repeatable process that demands fewer IT resources. A dream come true for CIOs.

Interested in learning more? Check out this white paper, “Charting ECM’s Course from Document Management to Enterprise Information Hub,” created by IDG, which goes into further detail.

Katie Alberti has expertise in content services platforms and has been a contributor to the Hyland blog.
Katie Alberti

Katie Alberti

Katie Alberti has expertise in content services platforms and has been a contributor to the Hyland blog.

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