When a community bank asks us about servicing its imaging needs, our approach is to slow down the process and confirm that we can guarantee success in connecting people, systems, processes, and documents. We want to make sure that we’re the perfect vendor for the institution’s needs.
In this post, we offer our five steps for selecting a document management (ECM) vendor. (To watch a webinar on this subject, co-sponsored by Gonzo Banker, click here.)
Step 1: Defining Primary Needs
The first step is to focus on your needs and define your goals. Only then can you begin the process of analyzing vendors and comparing them to your goals, needs, and strategies.
We believe that on its own a solution has no inherent value. What are the issues that need to be resolved? What needs to be done before going live to ensure you can reach your primary goals? What better outcomes are you trying to achieve that cannot be achieved with your current applications? This is your wish list.
Define specific measurable economic benefits that the application can create for your financial institution. Is it a return investment analysis? Do you have a clear understanding of how you can find the economic benefit? Start at a very high level looking at business objectives and outcomes. What is most important to the institution?
Step 2: Create a Strategy that Sizzles
You need a strategy that makes sense. Identify the stakeholders, review with the primary needs that often come from management, then do a process impact/process improvement analysis. What do you need to change to accommodate those primary needs?
Step 3: Eye on the Prize: Finding the Best Vendor
What impact will that have on our institution? What is the internal user experience? Does it have an impact on the external customer experience? Is this a candidate for cost elimination? On a high level, what is important to us? What are we trying to solve? How are we going to solve it?
Compare the vendors’ column features to those very real needs your financial institution has. Make sure that you do not have vendor features that perhaps are irrelevant to your financial institution. We call this “inside out” – in other words, examine your internal needs first and then compare the vendors.
Step 4: Sweep the Obstacle Course – Manage Constraints
Take a look at the possible constraints and evaluate how to best manage them. These often include issues such as: not getting the necessary buy-in, an inability to justify cost, lack of resources, feeling overwhelmed, uncertainty of ability to succeed.
An ROI analysis is often useful at this point. This analysis is designed to communicate the cost of maintaining your current system with the absence of the value created with an ECM solution that is able to meet your goals. How much will your savings be and where will you save?
Step 5: The Winners Circle – Go Live
How do you make sure that what you are trying to implement is really going to happen? How do you need to set up the document structures, exception definitions, etc. How will you train your employees for long term success?
Consider these five steps as you search for an ECM solution that meets all of your financial institution’s needs.