Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Role of Licensing in ECM

Too many times the potential of your ECM rollout gets sidelined, or delayed because of budgetary issues. The right people have the right skills, the infrastructure is in place, but the needed module license was not in the budget. If you are lucky the management is onboard and willing to take the flack for asking for extra money, however this is unlikely.

Initial rollout 

ECM systems have a lifecycle just like all other software solutions. It could be that a new director is hired and she wants Hyland OnBase instead of Documentum for scanning. If you are in this type of situation where a new system is in the budget plan, then get to work with that 5 year plan.


Any project that includes converting paper or processes into a software solution has plenty of ROI, you just have to know how to calculate it. This is essential to justify funding the solution’s full lifecycle of licenses. Get as many diverse measurements of costs and savings as possible. Too little attention is given to this. All you have to do is talk to the people who are pushing the paper: how much time is spent trying to find stuff, what kind of decisions wait for this, what is this time worth? And so on…

Get it all now or forever hold your peace

It's easier to buy all the modules up front as one large budget, than it is to piece meal them in later. A module for $15k is nothing in an overall expense of $500k, however, two years later, $15k may not get approved as a standalone budget item. The shine of the new ECM solution wanes as the years go by. The big ROI has passed, it’s just harder to justify. If possible, negotiating all of the enterprise licensing up front would be a better strategy than waiting for buy-in a few years later.

Multiyear change in direction of a strategy

If the nature of the solution changes, it's easier to exchange modules, than it is to buy new ones. Let’s say that one module was never implemented, but a new mobile module is part of what your CIO wants. Exchanging licenses could be easier and quicker than asking for the extra, emergency budget request.

API and integration modules

Purchase the API licenses all at once. They are usually less expensive than the packaged solutions, but can be very useful as the solution matures and integration is revisited. Build in flexibility wherever possible, this means have the option to create minor customization when needed.

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