Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ECM Upgrade Best Practice


Because most ECM systems have a regular yearly release, it is ideal to realize the benefits of upgrading every year. This will help with keeping up with OS and database upgrades as well.


In general, upgrades to enterprise software should wait for Service Pack 2 of the current release. This allows for initial release bugs to be fixed and stabilized. For OnBase, this usually puts the upgrade window in the third quarter of any given year.


If an upgrade is planned for every year, the budget line item will smaller and more digestible by management.


An upgrade schedule should be regular and expected. The more regular, the easier and less expensive it is. The resources involved with not being trying to remember all the steps from scratch again. The steps themselves will be more up-to-date.

IE, OS and Database

At the enterprise level, you don’t want OnBase slowing down IE releases, or database upgrades. It makes sense to keep up.


With VMs and multiple environments, upgrade steps can be written and tested many times before the actual upgrade. This should help minimize risk for each upgrade cycle.

Enterprise system upgrade and implementation schedules

It’s important to get on the upgrade train each year (or two) as early as possible. There will always be larger, more important initiatives that will bump OnBase upgrades, but at least you’ll be on the list.
When new solutions are being developed, the requirement to be using the latest possible version of software is much more important. Even one year can make huge difference between solution offerings.

Sample Upgrade Matrix

There are concerns and potential issues when it comes to planning and executing upgrades. As the scale and complexity of the solution increases, so does the upgrade matrix.


Solution Details

Impact on Solution


Impact on Users


Environment Setup






Cutover Approach


Downtime requirements




Upgrade Risk


Risk of Waiting




Sunday, June 5, 2016

"The future is already here..."

“The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.”
-- William Gibson

This quote, when applied to ECM, opens up doors of understanding. To know how solutions start and propagate throughout an organization, you must first start with the group most interested in the future, and why they are pushing IT in that direction.

Sometimes, it’s the promise of ROI, or getting rid of paper, or access to information outside of the secure network. Whatever the vision, the solution (the future) is not distributed all at once. ECM is a message; a movement that is planted, then it spawns to other departments. The success of the distribution is dependent on many factors.


The big bang vs. gradual implementation is always a discussion point when any expensive software is considered. Scoping the implementation just right is essential: the delivery date will slip if the scope of the project is too broad, however the project’s influence will suffer if the scope is too small. First implementations are politically charged. There are managers who feel slighted, disagreements in hallways, new alliances that strain old ones.

Follow Ups

It’s tempting to copy the first implementation with the same formula, the same business requirement steps, the same functional specs, and so on. Be cognizant of this. Each business process is different enough to warrant different approaches. Follow ups should not be delayed; they need to progress until the scope of the initial vision is complete.  For example, all of the incoming orders that were on paper are now scanned and indexed, in every branch. Automation of this piece is complete

Realizing the next phase

Every future has another one on its tails. By the time the final scanner is in place, a new vision is hatching. For example, a director wants to fix a broken process where invoices are getting lost; or there’s an information quality issue with the way the scanned orders are getting indexed. All solutions introduce new issues and therefore new solutions. Innovation never ends, only the sales pitch does.