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Why Bolt-On Technology Is A Better Choice

by | Oct 21, 2010

It’s a tough economy.  Everyone has down-sized, people are asked to do more tasks, your purchasing department drags out all your requests, and you want to update your document management and retrieval system.   You want to upgrade to a new web-based system with more flexibility and accessibility.  What are your chances of bringing in a new big system that usually takes 2-3 years to fully implement?
An alternative many companies are adopting today is bolt-on upgrade technology to quickly and less expensively provide powerful new capabilities without the drama of installing a whole new system. For example, thin client web-access technology can provide a new look, an easier interface, lower installation and support costs, and secure access across the web.  This kind of bolt-on leverages your existing Enterprise Content Management system and repository while providing utility and flexibility that your users will appreciate and enjoy.
If your ECM is adequate in its storage and retrieval capability, it’s very hard to justify a full replacement.  The challenge can be enormous if documents have to be converted or workflow processes redone.  So a front-end replacement that your users can immediately appreciate through increased usability and much greater access, while your support costs go down, is hard to beat.
A few words of caution:

  1. Pick wisely.  Is your vendor vetted in your industry?  Do they have a true installed base of companies doing what you’re doing?  It’s easy to put up a website and come up with a demo.  Check for substance.
  2. Plan for the future.  Is the product you like flexible?  Will it work with multiple backend ECM’s?  Does it support multiple formats or is it limited to a single format like Flash?
  3. Is the product cross-platform?  If you move into the Unix world from Windows or vice versa, will it play there as well?
  4. Is the product truly thin-client requiring no software other than a browser installed on the client?  Without that, you’re back to install procedures and extensive user support.

In this economy, bolt-on upgrades are the easiest solution.  Less effort to implement and less cost, while maintaining or lowering your support costs.