True ECM Savings…#4

29 06 2009

In this post I am looking at collaboration, and how ECM saves money and promotes collaboration.

Getting everyone together

This is exaggerated when your staff are spread across multiple departments and locations. In todays global markets, talented individuals can often be spread out across the country and the globe. If this is the case, then your staff will have to travel and really set aside large chunks of time to get together.

Typically what happens in any size organisation, is that an eMail is sent with a number of files attached. This is usually some form of agenda and any documents that may be looked at during the meeting. People then decide a date, and get together, thrash out the discussions and changes, then someone types up the results and modifies the documents accordingly.  More often than not, such meetings take up large chunks of time, simply because everyone has to “get together” to collaborate. Such getting together results in some over-night stays, nice restaurant food, nice hotel and of course all on expenses…

Where are the savings?

Well first off, before I look at the complete obvious, let’s have a quick look at the IT side of things with what’s happening here. By sending a mail to multiple people with files attached to it, you actually use up a lot more space on your mail servers and place additional strain on your network. Why? Well this is because each file is copied for each recipient, something that your eMail providers wont like. By using ECM you can “share” content without you needing to attach a physical file. You simply attach a link into the website, this takes up no space and therefore frees up your mail server and network of the additional strain of copying and sending lots of physical files.

In the same way, everyone (with the correct security role) has access to the content required for the meeting. They can all view it electronically at the same time and even update files. So is there a need to “get people together”. Well yes, but not physically.

ECM provides the capabilities to collaborate and work in teams. A number of ECM platforms actually come with collaboration tools and virtual meeting type software. This means that ECM allows people to get together over the internet, and work on the files together from their own offices. You can if you choose still get everyone together, but in a virtual environment. Alternatively, this may not be a requirement, and people can still collaborate and share information without an actual meeting, real or virtual. Remember collaboration isn’t just about meeting and discussing, it’s about connecting and sharing, and in today’s web environment this can include the use of social media.

The savings

Well there are the savings on your IT infrastructure, bandwidth and mail server. These are hard to measure and pretty small, however, they are savings.

The big savings are around time and travel. Firstly, your staff don’t need to allocate large chunks of time to a single meeting, simply because they can collaborate through ECM. This means they can work more efficiently and spend greater time on actual work tasks rather than travel. Secondly, they don’t have to travel to the meeting. If travelling a long way, this saves greatly on travelling expenses and of course your organisations carbon footprint. Thirdly, overnight stay expenses, hotel fees, restaurants etc. All these add up, and by using an ECM platform you remove these additional costs on your organisation.

Finally ECM provides a real platform in which collaboration in all senses can take place. You don’t need to push physical paper around from department to department and even across countries. Teams don’t need to wait for other teams to finish with files, nor do they need to physically meet to discuss projects / move forward. ECM provides a platform that allows everyone to collaborate which raises efficiency, saves money and lowers an organisations carbon footprint…Now that’s a lot of savings over the course of a year…

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