Any system of enterprise content management, irrespective of its complexity, possesses a set of characteristics which are necessary for considering at definition of requirements to system. Given article is written to help on purpose to the person, making the decision on introduction of system of enterprise content management, to define the list of requirements to system and to make a correct choice.
By the current moment the head of the organisation performing design works, at decision-making on office-work automation faces a problem of a choice of enterprise content management (ECM) which could solve tasks in view with the greatest success and would justify investments on the introduction. In the software market the set of products of the given class, both foreign, and home producers is presented. Also there is enough of materials in comparison of such systems among themselves and the description of advantages of any concrete product before the others. To be defined with, whether can solve software product problems of enterprise content management for the given organisation it is necessary before system purchase. During operation of unsuccessful acquisition it can appear that the bought product does not support expansion of functionality, great volumes of the data, has the determined logic or problems with safety.
In classical understanding the requirement is an ability of software product to satisfy requirement of the user. Thus, it is necessary to analyse a subject domain and to carry on negotiations with sellers/developers ECM about satisfaction of the put requirements. Requirements are offered to be broken into groups:
- business requirements;
- requirements to the software.
The first group contains the description of the processes participating in information flow of the organisation which are supposed to be automated. The second group contains restrictions and wishes to the software of system of enterprise content management and accompanying questions.
Business requirements include following sections:
- users of system;
- storehouse of the data;
- work with documents;
- work with business logic.
Requirements to the software consist of requirements to resources, conveniences of support and convenience of use. We will consider each of sections in more details.
Let's consider identification of users and work in system.
Identification of users includes two basic concepts – authentication and authorisation. Authentication is an ability to confirm the person of the user. Authorisation is engaged in access granting to the certain data or operations, provided that that user for whom it gives out itself(himself).
In information flow of the organisations the set of people can be involved, a number of carried out operations and group of documents from which it works is fixed to each of which. In other words employees act in a certain role concerning enterprise content management system. Expectation of support in software product of such roles will be natural desire.
At the given stage requirements to safety of system – authentication and authorisation, and also requirements to support of work of various types of users are established.
In a case if enterprise content management system use the mechanism authentication , it is necessary to find out what report provides protection of the channel of the data (SSL, TLS, etc.), whether connections of the extraneous clients are possible, what report provides data transmission. Possibility of use of system authentication the third party – LDAP, Kerberos, Novell Netware, PAM will be the big plus of system, winbind, etc. It will allow to apply the centralised mechanism of identification of users in the organisation, and also will give to them of more conveniences at work with various systems.
To authorisation questions in enterprise content management system mechanisms of differentiation of access concern the data and system functions. It, for example, presence of possibility at the head of department to look through all documents over which employees of department while each employee sees only the part of work work and does not see documents over which others work. The given approach allows to observe access differentiation to the documents, each worker sees only necessary to it on office activity of group of documents. Each of documents can have the access rights established for it on reading, change, removal. Rather useful there are groups of users and delegation of access rights to documents. By means of access groups it is possible to organise access to documents for departments of the organisation, collective of the employees working over the separate project. Delegation is necessary in case of absence of the employee responsible for work on the document and necessity its continuation in its absence. For example, the chief of department, having left in business trip, can delegate the rights for work on the document to the assistant.
Let's consider the organisation of storehouse of documents.
The organisation of storehouse of documents is one of the most important factors of productivity of system of enterprise content management. At unsuccessful structure of storehouse speed of work with documents can decrease considerably depending on fullness of a database. Therefore, considering the given kind of requirements, it is necessary to represent accurately quantitative volume of the documents (data) circulating in the organisation. Operations critical to volume of the data is an addition, document search, viewing of the list of documents, sorting. As analogy it is possible to give an example with file system. It is enough to present that all files develop in one certain catalogue all users of system. At presence in the catalogue of a considerable quantity of files of an order of several thousand, work with files starts to cause inconveniences.
To present volume information flow it is necessary for all revealed divisions and employees of the organisation to define average quantity of the documents circulating at their normal activity. Also it is necessary to consider the periods of peak loading if those exist. It can be the periods quarter, annual reports, seasonal increases of business activity of partners in business etc.
Let's consider the following example. There is some organisation performing design works. By the current moment organisation activity has stable character, the next years the increase in base of customers at 40% is planned. Sale of one design service is accompanied by creation of three documents – the contract on granting of design service, the acceptance report of delivery of works, the contract on postdesign service. In day 5 design works are carried out on the average. During the summer period the quantity of carried out works increases three times. In the beginning of next year documents for the last year go to archive. Total in a year it is had following quantity of documents: for the basic months (quantity of months * quantity of design works * quantity of documents for design work * quantity of days in a month) – 9*5*3*30 = 4050 documents, for summer 3*5*3*3*30 = 4050. We receive 8100 documents in a year, taking into account planned increase in base of customers – 11340 documents. Thus, the enterprise content management system should provide constant productivity at quantity of documents to 12000.
Also it is necessary to pay attention to possibility of simultaneous work with a server of enterprise content management of several users simultaneously. For this purpose in addition to the previous research it is necessary to track quantity of the users working with documents. In an ideal productivity of system should not fall at simultaneous work of all users of system. But it is a special case and most likely it will appear that for the decision of daily problems there is no necessity to all users of system to work with it simultaneously.
Thus, having received predicted loadings on a server, it is possible to imagine what maximum loading by quantity of documents and simultaneously working users the system should maintain.
Other important factor without which presence enterprise content management is not meaningful is a search of documents in storehouse. To be defined what kind search it is required, it is necessary to consider typical operations on search of documents in paper archive or a card file. It is important to note by what criteria there is a search. For example, in the considered organisation search in the organisation-partner name, in rare instances search is very often made spent under the name of the rendered service. Hence, the search system should provide search of the document in document fields, in the given concrete case on requisites of the customer and a transaction condition. There can be necessary a contextual search in the enclosed files. For example, when the file is attached to the document in format MS Office Word or Open Office and it is necessary to find this document on the phrase entering into the enclosed file. Also it is necessary to find out productivity of search of documents at increase in quantity of documents, stored in a database.
Archiving of documents concerns a question on volume of the data also. If information flow in the organisation it is great enough and (or) position about enterprise content management provides archiving of documents it is necessary to make demands to enterprise content management for carrying out of such operations. There are some possible ways of carrying out of archiving – record on replaceable carriers, moving to a separate DB etc. If in the organisation operations on work with archival documents are provided – the simplified search, reading, etc. naturally and in an electronic variant the given operations should is spent. For considered systems of enterprise content management it is necessary to find out possibility and simplicity of carrying out of similar operations.
It is necessary to find out also how the storehouse in case of database failure will behave. For example, failures in power supplies or a communication channel. Whether thus integrity of all base will be in emergency broken or spoilt there will be only a document over which work at the moment of failure was spent. Whether it is necessary to find out from suppliers this sort of tests were conducted and to learn their results.
Last factor considered in given section, is interesting to the large organisations having the distributed structure. It is replication of the data. The given mechanism allows to get access to the identical data on several servers at once that allows to lower loading on a server of the data and communication channels. The elementary example of carrying out replication is a storehouse of legislative base. For example, the capital server of the organisation contains legislative base of the state. Branches in area replicate the given base on the of a server and users from areas address to the regional storehouses of documents. Thus, concerning legislative base data transmission between capital and areas goes from the center to regions – replenishment of databases, and reading of documents occurs on regional servers. Loading on the central server and channels of the data to the center in this case decreases. In certain cases possibility of change of documents in regions with preservation of changes for all organisation can be demanded. In this case the system of replication should support the mechanism of change and synchronisation of documents. Besides it is required to find out presence of requirement for such operations in activity of the organisation and accordingly to formulate requirements to enterprise content management system.
Let's consider work with documents.
Flexibility of system of enterprise content management is in many respects defined by those possibilities which it gives for work with documents. An ideal variant is the case when existing paper documents have equivalent display in the electronic form, in other words the document of one type on a paper and on the screen looks equally. For this purpose presence of the editor of types of documents and the designer of forms for types of documents is necessary. Last should provide possibility of configuration of structure of the document by means of various fields, creation and editing of fields. Very useful appear wildcard the fields containing the help information. For example, for input of the document of type the Waybill is required entering of requisites of the customer. Having help base of business partners, it is possible to choose the necessary partner and its requisites will be automatically brought in the document.
Also it is necessary to consider typical operations with the documents, spent to the organisations and to find out possibility of their carrying out in ECM. Then to find out convenience of use of the given operations. The most frequent operations are creation, search and document editing.
At work with a considerable quantity entering and outcoming documents possibility of storage of documents of other formats in storehouse will be of interest convertings of documents from other types of files.
Presence of function of history of the document or journalizing of operations will allow to track the actions spent over the document during his life. It will give the chance to find out from what user this or that operation was spent.
One more useful mechanism of work with documents is tracing of versions of documents. It can appear useful in the presence of a considerable quantity of the executors working with the document, each of which can edit the document. The executor, working over the document, edits it and creates the version of the document. The employee responsible for the document collects document versions, having chosen from each executor its part of work, and receives a definitive variant of the document. For example, in analytical department on completion the document consisting of three parts has arrived: the problem analysis, the offer of the decision and an estimation of the future results. Study of each of document parts has been charged employees A, B and C accordingly. Each of them has made amendments to the part and has created the version of the document. After that the chief of department has made the new version of the document, having collected it from parts of documents prepared by executors – a part “the analysis” from A, “The decision offer” from B and “an estimation of results” from C. ECM allows to trace similar operations and at teamwork with documents to simplify creation of final versions.
Possibility of a digital signature of the document to allow to spend reviewing and check of authenticity of the document. Such signature should guarantee authenticity of the person who have signed the document, and time when this signature has been spent. Check of authenticity of the signature can be carried out by means of popular open keys while sign the document the owner of the closed key can only. Having received the information on the mechanism realising signatures, it is necessary to find out stability of algorithms of enciphering and access possibility to the closed keys.
Let's consider work with business logic.
Office-work means not only record and extraction of documents from storehouse, but also any actions over documents – reviewing, work on documents, the various processes generating and using in the activity these documents. It is impossible to create the program complex automating business management and approaching under processes of office-work of all organisations, performing design works. On the other hand adjustment to existing processes under the introduced program can fail because of many factors – from impossibility to reconstruct process under enterprise content management before sabotage by employees of automation of their processes in connection with infringement of their habitual work.
Hence, the system of enterprise content management should possess the mechanism, allowing to realise business processes of the design organisation and is flexible under them to be arranged.
One of the most widespread functions of systems of enterprise content management is work with a document route. It is necessary for the organisations having position about office-work in which work with various kinds of documents is regulated. For example, the demand from the client arrives in office, then to the chief of department on work with clients, it in turn appoints the employee for performance of the given task. After performance of work the employee makes the report and directs the document back to office. On each of stages any additional problems for the person working with the document are possible. ECM should support carrying out of similar operations. Editing of similar actions should cause as less as possible difficulties (sections Convenience of support and Convenience of use in addition see). If the offered product contains possibility of creation of own routes and editing (creation) of the user problems and actions by means of built in scripting languages it gives ample opportunities on expansion of functionality of system in the future.
Let's consider requirements to resources.
Requirements of the given kind consist of the requirement to hardware and to the software. Requirements to hardware maintenance directly start with requirements to the software products which are a part of system of enterprise content management and additional software products.
The first question which should be set in the given context to suppliers of software product – how much self-sufficient is delivered system, i.e. it is necessary to find out what additional software products are required and (or) can be necessary for work with system and questions of their purchase and licensing.
The main program requirement is the requirement to an operating system which will be most probable to differ for a server and client part. Whether here it will be necessary to find out to work the given product on versions of operating systems already available in the design organisation.
The most frequent product of the third party demanded for work introduced system of enterprise content management, is DBMS for storehouse of the data. Normal work of a client place can demand presence any of office packages. In this case also it is necessary to pay attention to questions of compatibility of documents from already applied office packages with with what the client place works.
The hardware should provide demanded maximum productivity, both on a client place, and on a server part. For example, if on a client place one employee enters hundred documents in day, and another two documents it is natural that more productive workplace is necessary for the first.
Let's consider cost of a product and its introduction.
Final cost of introduction of system of enterprise content management in the organisation performing design works, can differ very strongly from cost of this system in the price-list. In most cases additional cost is defined by the previous point is cost of software products and the hardware.
Requirements to an operating system can entail purchase of necessary versions of an operating system for a client and server part. At use DBMS of its foreign developer in most cases it is necessary to buy separately (if DBMS has not been bought earlier). Dependence of a client place on office packages means their presence and, hence, in certain cases acquisition that can essentially increase product cost by the price of one office package for one client place. These are the most probable dependences. However can be and others. Therefore it is necessary for the put business requirements to system of enterprise content management to carry out the analysis of dependence on the foreign software.
For example, the system can demand foreign commercial software product for authentication users or for converting of documents for various office packages.
After finding-out of requirements to the software it is necessary to be defined, whether the current hardware base for the decision of the given problems satisfies. The unpleasant surprise can appear that old computers will appear insufficiently productive for this purpose.
Software product cost can include technical support. In certain cases support can be delivered at additional expense. Whether also it is necessary to find out adjustment under the concrete organisation enters into cost of system or it is delivered at additional expense. It can appear that is on sale the “naked” system, cost of adjustment and decision preparation on a place can be comparable to cost of the system.
One more section of expenses is training of employees for work with new system. For this purpose the invitation of experts of the supplier of software product, the organisation of internal seminars for the employees, purchase of additional training materials can be demanded.
Summing of cost of all secondary expenses it is possible to receive thus the sum most full reflecting cost of introduction of enterprise content management.
Let's consider convenience of support.
Technically convenience of support of system is defined by presence of system of the help, complexity of adjustment of system under a concrete subject domain, possibility of its expansion and necessity of attraction of the foreign personnel for expansion or system adjustment. Here it is necessary to find out how to be made system expansion, how much this question is reflected in the documentation, and whether it is necessary for it to involve employees of the organisation which have given system. Concerning the documentation to system, it is necessary to check up conformity of the help information of the current version of system because the inquiry can be made for the previous version of a product. It is necessary to ask directly also a question on, whether there are such aspects of system which are not reflected in the documentation and as this point in question is authorised. Presence of an electronic training course on work with system, both demonstration, and interactive will be the big plus.
From the organizational party, support is a reception of technical support from outside suppliers of introduced system. Here it is necessary to find out how similar support – by phone, an e-mail will be given, ICQ, etc. The important question to start system use is a preparation of the ready decision and personnel training. The first means that the pure system, and decision already prepared for the given design organisation with documents, types of users, problems, etc., characteristic for the given organisation performing design works is bought not. The most probable actions in this case are departure of the expert of the executor for studying of a subject domain and preparation of the decision or the invitation of the expert of a subject domain for reception from it the necessary information.
Let's consider convenience in use.
Convenience in use is a convenience of work with system for the end user. The most simple way for definition of it consists in consideration of complexity of performance by users of typical operations with documents. For example that it is necessary to make to the user to create the document – how many menu points to pass, how many movements by the mouse to make what to enter from the keyboard. As criterion of simplicity the quantity and availability of consecutive operations serves. It can be found out, only having worked with system or its demonstration version.
For example, there are two variants of creation of the new document.
1. Pressing of the button from a corresponding icon on the panel of tools.
2. A menu choice: Service-> Operations over documents-> Creation of the new document-> Waybill
It turns out that the first variant demands smaller quantity of operations for document creation. At single performance of operation such comparison can seem not absolutely pertinent, however if to consider daily performance of an order such 100-200 operations the difference becomes at once powerful.
Let's consider the generalised list of requirements.
The short resume under the considered requirements is more low presented.
I. Business requirements
Identification of users
- security of the report of communication
- integrability with existing systems, user authentication
- possibility of the organisation of various levels of access to the data for users and groups of users
- the workplace organisation under the functions which are carried out by the user or group of users
- differentiation of access rights to documents
- possibility of installation of various access rights to documents (reading, editing, removal, etc.) for users and groups of users
- delegation of access rights to the document from one person to another
1. Productivity of storehouse of given
- dependence of speed of work with documents from quantity of documents in a database and quantities of users simultaneously working with system
2. Search of documents
- search in document fields
- contextual search in the enclosed (attached) files
3. Archiving of documents
- questions of complexity of extraction of documents from archive (search, reading)
4. stability of storehouse to database failures
5. Replication given
- only for reading
- with possibility of preservation of changes
Work with documents
1. Work with types of documents
- creation of new types
- presence of the designer of forms
- help (wildcard) fields
- document history
- tracing of versions of documents
2. Converting of documents
- import from other formats of files
3. The electronic digital signature
Work with business logic
1. routes of movement of documents
2. tasks (problem) for users
3. work with the user scenarios
II. Requirements to the software
Requirements to resources
1. An operating system
- necessity of acquisition foreign DBMS
3. Dependence on foreign products
- presence of the additional software for system work
4. The hardware
- Productivity of computers
1. Cost of the additional software
- DBMS, office packages, other software
2. Purchase of the new equipment
3. Expenses for personnel training
4. Expenses for preparation of the ready decision
Convenience of support
1. The documentation
- conformity of the documentation of the current version of a product
- presence of electronic training materials
- light exposure of questions of expansion of system
2. Possibilities of expansion of system
3. Technical support of system
Convenience of use
1. Simplicity of performance of base operations of the user
- availability of operating elements
- quantity of elementary operations for performance of actions.
Today it is possible to allocate following decisions from the leading companies-developers working in sphere of automation of work with documents: the Boss-reviewer, GranDok, Business, Euphrates-ECM, CompanyMedia, Directum, DIS-systems, DocsVision, LanDocs, Optima-Workflow.
EDS is first of all the system, allowing to solve all typical problems of enterprise content management for work with documents – registration and input of documents, search of documents, routeing, creation of reports, archive conducting, an establishment access rights in system. Therefore at choice of EDS it is necessary to be convinced that the system really provides performance of such problems. To receive representation about possibilities of the systems, allowing to organise enterprise content management, the table with a necessary set features has been made. As shown in the table, all presented systems try to keep up to date and consequently possess almost all necessary functionality. In the best way with typical problems of enterprise content management systems Business, Euphrates-DocumentCirculation, DocsVision and LanDocs consult.
Symbols of systems in tables: the Boss-reviewer (Б-Р), GranDok (ГД), Business (), Euphrates-DocumentCirculation (Е-Д), CompanyMedia (CM), Directum (D), DIS-systems (DIS), DocsVision (DV), LanDocs (LD), Optima-Workflow (O-W).
Explanatories to tables: “+” – possibility is available, “-” – possibilities are not present, “+/-” – optional or external software, “-/+” – incomplete functionality of possibility.
|The basic possibilities of ECM|
|Cost of a server and licences|
|Accessible toolkit for system adjustment|
|Experience of introduction of systems|
|Additional possibilities of work with system|
According to spent research DSS Consulting, the basic way of a choice of systems of enterprise content management was independent information search about system in a network the Internet, or in other sources, to one company EDS has come thanks to the assistant to the general director who had earlier an operational experience with the given system. The percent (31%) directive choice EDS from outside a higher management is still great. On the third place in the list of popular ways of choice EDS – carrying out opened, or the closed tender by which results the choice in favour of defined EDS has been made. It was not possible to receive the information on the reasons of introductions at 16% of the companies-clients.
Most the great demand (about 46% of all introductions) is observed throughout the several last periods in economy public sector that speaks a considerable quantity of various establishments and departments, traditionally high level of bureaucratization of the given branch, and also considerable enterprise content management. Besides in the conditions of a world economic crisis only the state demand for market EDS production remains stably growing, and, hence, vendors, managed to recommend the software products before the state with a positive side, can count on the further increase in orders in from outside given sector of economy.
Besides, the great demand among other sectors of economy suffices remained in branches “Banks and the financial organisations” (a share of the market of 8%), “Building and the real estate” (a share of the market of 8%) and “Science and education” (a share of the market of 7%).
The number of introductions in an industrial complex as a whole was even more reduced: thermal power station and the majority of processing industries, and also the easy and wood industry.
Thus, the greatest quantity of introductions, excepting public sector, has occurred in those branches of economy which or are supported by the state in crisis (bank sector), or the state (science and education) plays them a key role. As to building sector of economy more than 90% of introductions have been made in those organisations which directly or indirectly participate in realisation of the state orders on building (a roadwork, building of Olympic objects, building of industrial targets).
Among key parametres of systems at a stage of introduction and in the subsequent commercial operation for customers have been named with the account of decrease of a share:
- convenience in circulation (the ergonomic clear interface, flexibility of options, simplicity of use);
- terms of introduction of system;
- introduction cost;
- functionality of system.
Thus, the key factor for friendly perception of system for the majority of the interrogated companies was convenience in circulation with system, its ergonomics and possibility of options of system, instead of its functionality. Also for the companies terms and introduction cost are important, we expect that the given factors will have in crisis a main role at choice EDS. As to functionality while systems of enterprise content management will be used exclusively as automation of an administrative support and under standard problems of enterprise content management, additional modules will be hardly demanded, and, hence, the system time of recovery of outlay will increase.
Now we will analyse satisfaction degree the introduced systems from outside the customer. As respondents heads of IT divisions of the companies – clients EDS acted.
According to interrogation, 57% of the companies are satisfied introduced EDS and with pleasure will recommend to its colleagues as the basic system on enterprise content management automation. 28% could not note any changes caused by introduction EDS, and 15% have noted inconvenience in work with it. And 6% named the reason of inconveniences excessive bulkiness of system that can speak about insufficient conformity features of systems to objects in view and problems which she urged to solve in the company. While 3% of the interrogated respondents have noticed not too convenient interface that can speak about its insufficient ergonomic study, and 6% have found it difficult to name the reason of the dissatisfaction, having noted only fact of its presence.
At last, we will present the information concerning possible development of the introduced systems of enterprise content management.
As to plans of the further development established EDS on 31% of respondents plan to expand existing projects of introduction with a way of buy of new workplaces, and also expanding features of EDS. While 22% to expand the carried out project of introduction do not plan, as one of the reasons influence of crisis on company activity has been named.
At a choice of system of enterprise content management it is necessary to consider set of factors, and the final decision is preferable for accepting on the basis of the complex analysis of possibilities EDS depending on requirements and specificity of the customer.
If to speak about choice EDS for the organisation performing design works, with prospective quantity of simultaneously working users nearby 50 the optimal decision the system sees “Euphrates-DocumentCirculation” company Cognitive Technologies working out. At moderate cost the system, on the one hand, contains all necessary features for automation of work with documents, and on the other hand, offers ample opportunities of adjustment and updating at introduction by the developer, partners and is direct customers. The interesting offer also is system DocsVision which also includes all necessary features for automation of enterprise content management and is closely integrated with company Microsoft products. The system gives flexible possibilities at adaptation to requirements of the customer. Now introduction of this system is carried out through a partner network of company DocsVision that speaks about sufficient independence of system of the developer. Besides by separate criteria systems Business, Directum and Optima-Workflow have well proved to be.
Thus, use of the analytical calculations offered in the review, will help the organisations interested in automation of enterprise content management, to make the most comprehensible choice of the decision and by that to avoid variety “hidden” at the initial stage of introduction of the problems connected with use of systems of enterprise content management.
1. A choice of system of enterprise content management. – 2003 [http://www.directum.ru/338691.aspx]
2. A choice of system of enterprise content management: a sight of the customer. – 2006
3. The state-of-the-art review of Russian market EDS following the results of I half-year 2009. – 2009 [http://www.dssconsulting.ru/services/marketing/analytics/?id=56]
The author: Челябэнергопроект
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