Technology, organistion’s and user expectations have all changed so dramatically over the last decade that companies are now looking to leverage this shifting landscape to fundamentally alter the way they conduct business. This is in order to improve interaction with, and the satisfaction of, employees, partners and customers.

The widespread use and adoption of consumer-based applications have re-set expectations of what is possible and means the focus on requirements is now squarely focused on those of the users.

A recent global survey of IT professionals conducted by Forrester Consulting found that 70 percent of organisations consider digital transformation to be a high or critical priority, and are hence employing intuitive software solutions to enable employees to work smarter and more efficiently.

The widespread use and adoption of consumer-based applications have re-set expectations of what is possibleClick To Tweet

Improved functional capabilities of mobile technology, changing approaches to the concept of the ‘workplace’ and widespread adoption of cloud/web based services mean that users demand flexible software in order to work effectively. Interoperability of systems is fundamental and has become essential to the improvement of business processes. The attributes that businesses should specifically look for when choosing a platform to enable digital transformation are varied, but the importance of each cannot be understated. The following criteria are key to providing a solution that can both leverage today’s landscape and a foundation for future evolution.

A Platform with Intelligence

The management of content within an organisation can no longer be considered in the context of a static archive. The content is constantly changing with users modifying and accessing documents via different processes and locations. Seamless integration between content, forms, rules-based triggers and alerts and a fully functioning process engine are key to enabling content to be accessed by various users at the times they require it and allowing for necessary collaboration. Content and process must be managed seamlessly within a single platform in order to deliver desirable results.

Agility and an Open Approach

A service-oriented approach needs seamless integration with a myriad of proprietary and bespoke systems, which will inevitably be required not only to satisfy today’s demand, but those of the future as well. Open source software has provided a whole new level of efficiency and agility in this area, by allowing developers and system integrators to readily see that the code does not restrict them to a vendor-dictated set of integration points. The result is typically a faster, better-written integration or development and a closer fit to user requirements, which in turn drives a lower TCO. Agility is further enhanced through the provision of user configurable tools to enable new or modified processes/forms to be quickly created or modified by business users as business evolves and develops.

A service-oriented approach needs seamless integration with a myriad of proprietary and bespoke systemsClick To Tweet

Flexibility in Deployment

Fundamentally, the decision of where a platform or application runs and where data and content reside should not be dictated by a vendor. Organisations should be free to make decisions on the location of services and data based on their business requirements and infrastructure. For most organisations, the decisions between in-house, private hosted or public cloud are rarely an either/or decision and what is critical is their platforms and applications being able to reside in either or all and still be able to interoperate. Businesses need to be able to share content or business processes with cloud-based users (often external to their organisation) on an as-required basis. In this way businesses can take advantage of ubiquitous access benefits of cloud without relinquishing control of their critical information.

Smart Search Capabilities

Given the volumes of data involved, the old paradigm of traversing a cabinet and folder structure to find information is obsolete. Intuitive search with real-time matching of the first few characters accompanied by automatically suggested facets to help refine the search are just some of the features that will enhance the user’s efficiency and minimise the time spent searching for vital content.

Automated File Plans

The ability to maintain records in accordance with regulations relating to retention schedules and file plans has been a major challenge for most organisations, as historically systems have required users to register a record and this step can be prone to error. In order to implement record management in an effective way, record managers must be able to set a file plan and retention rules which are automated, negating the need for users to embark on an extra step.

The ideal platform must combine all of these attributes to provide a robust product that will benefit organisations and enable effective and seamless business transformation. It results in a highly scalable and intelligent platform that can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud to provide content and business process capability across an organisation’s infrastructure, meaning it instantly becomes ‘fitter’ and more resilient.

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John Pomeroy, Vice President of Sales, EMEA at Alfresco With extensive experience in content management spanning over 25 years, John now leads Alfresco’s European sales team. Throughout his career, John has held senior roles at Xerox, EMC, MarkLogic and Veeva. Among his accomplishments, he was responsible for building Documentum’s largest region in Europe over a 10-year tenure. During his career, John has witnessed the evolution of both technology and user requirements, covering several vertical industries. Having been involved in some of the content management industry’s largest implementations, John is able to provide insight around best practices when it comes to selection and implementation of platforms and applications.