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The Value of the Benchmark – and of Benchmark Data

Benchmarking your firm’s use of ECM is one of the best ways of keeping up to date on best practices—and of providing the ammunition for an effective business case to make improvements.

Over the years, organizations have made sizable investments in enterprise content management (ECM) technologies, but many of these deployments have resulted in varying degrees of success. What distinguishes a successful ECM deployment? What are best-in-class firms doing to ensure success?

What you’re looking for to answer such questions is benchmark data: empirical data on how the leading organizations in your industry are using ECM technologies. But where can you go to get this data and see how your own operation stacks up?

Doculabs’ benchmarking service is designed to meet this need. Over 20-plus years, we’ve worked with the leading firms in a wide range of industries. We’ve also developed criteria for what constitutes best-in-class ECM deployments, looking at categories from functionality, to applications in business processes, to business continuity, to vendor management. The result is a reference group of peer organizations, each of which we’ve evaluated and scored in categories specific to the technology in question, compiling the empirical data across the peer group for comparison. (Note that the names of individual members of the peer group are kept confidential.) Then, because we all know we’re dealing with a moving target, Doculabs periodically revisits both the criteria and our evaluations, refining our definition of “best-in-class” to reflect the capabilities of the most current deployments, using current best practices.

The criteria and the data set are what we then bring to the benchmark assessment, in which we evaluate a client’s ECM deployment and score it against a group of its peers. (Read more here.)

But we don’t look just at the technology. Our benchmarks evaluate an organization’s ECM deployment from the people, process, and technology perspectives. You could have implemented the best-in-class technology tool, for instance, but have a sub-optimal relationship with the vendor and its support organization. Or maybe you’re not making full use of the tool’s capabilities, in ways that would have a positive impact on the efficiency of your business processes (and on your bottom line). Or maybe there are better methods of rolling out the technology to achieve wider end-user adoption. Again, it helps to know how your competitors are doing it, and what the current best practices are – and to get an expert outside opinion on the specific areas in which your organization has some room for improvement.

The benchmarking exercise tends to be an eye-opener for all concerned, precisely because Doculabs brings a fresh, independent, and – most important – an objective perspective to your technology deployment. It’s an interactive exercise, too; when we meet with a client’s team onsite, we give them plenty of opportunity to provide their input to our assessment, and our consultants readily share ideas with the client’s team. In fact, a growing number of our clients have found the benchmarking experience to be so valuable, that they now engage us for periodic assessments, both to measure how far they’ve come with their improvements since the previous benchmark and to stay current with ECM best practices in their industry.

It makes a lot of sense to look at how other organizations in your industry are making use of ECM technologies – not just from a best practices standpoint, but to learn what the competition is doing that you might not be doing, to address many of the same business problems you’ve been struggling with. Finally, this kind of empirical data can go a long way toward helping you build the business case for an initiative to improve your own organization’s ECM capabilities. After all, numbers talk. And when funding decisions are on the line, it’s those hard, empirical numbers that tend to talk the clearest and the loudest.

Linda Andrews
Linda Andrews
I’m a Technical Editor. I help develop Doculabs’ publications and collateral, and execute the company’s social media marketing.