Would you go to an Irish pub to get a good Italian dinner? Granted, that pub may have lasagna on the menu and it would taste okay. But if you’re looking to get a real “Italiano” meal, you would go to an Italian restaurant; specific to the quality and taste of food you’re looking for.
The same goes for Microsoft SharePoint and Enterprise Content Management (ECM). You could use the ECM component in SharePoint and it would work fine, but it wouldn’t provide the robust functionality your organization needs for a true content management system. The basic goal of SharePoint is to make possible for a company with many employees spread all over to work with the same level of agility and coordination as a company with just 10 employees working out of a single office.
A classic example is Project Management. SharePoint is great for collaborating across teams and organizations. It’s a great repository for new documents and presentations while you and your team work together. But SharePoint falls short in many areas when categorizing it as a “Document Management” or ECM option. Specifically, it falls short of its promise of storing all of a company’s information centrally and in an organized fashion. It’s significant in many areas, but when it comes to central, organized storage, the functionality just isn’t there.
First, let’s learn more about SharePoint.
Since its introduction in 2001, Microsoft SharePoint has been widely used to build team collaboration sites and portals, most frequently to address content access and document collaboration for work groups. SharePoint is an inexpensive , easy to deploy, easy to use solution that addresses the complex requirements organizations have for managing and collaborating on business documents. With the release of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, the product expanded beyond its initial roots to include more complete capabilities for content management, business intelligence, search and electronic forms creation and management.
Today, I turn your focus to the “content management” hexagon piece. Content is a low level form of ECM. Many experts question whether it provides true enterprise content management capabilities.
What challenges/problems were organizations facing that created a need for a more robust “content” SharePoint piece?
- Drowning in Paper
- Manual processes causing too many errors that were costing time and money
- Manual file and document retrieval was time consuming and therefore expensive
- Project content sharing not easy
While Sharepoint contains elements that can either enhance or replace some of the more basic ECM functions, it’s more difficult or nearly impossible for Sharepoint to be a true ECM replacement. Some even argue that it’s just another general purpose application -- albeit powerful -- that can clean up and organize many a cluttered shared drive.
A key limitation that warrants consideration is SharePoint’s challenge to support large amounts of content. While capable of managing scanned document images, such as paper invoices, legal contracts and correspondence in low quantities or within smaller organizations, Sharepoint quickly reaches its limits when storing large document volumes, which are typical in most organizations. In addition, many users consider Sharepoint to lack enough bandwith for some applications, particulary records management and archives. As a result, users are showing a very strong interest in third-party integrations which complete the functionality gaps. Many are looking to integrate Sharepoint with front-end capture systems and new or existing repositiories to fashion a more robust and capable ECM infastructure.
The functionality gaps caused many organizations to recognize the need to use SharePoint in tandem with traditional ECM platforms. To enhance an ECM solution, you could use any of the 20+ products marketed and known today.
So why chose OnBase?
- OnBase is continually evolving to meet the changing needs of your organization today
- OnBase solutions are flexible and scalable(you can start in one department and move to other departments at your own pace)
- Seamless integration with SharePoint and all other Line of Business systems
Using the SharePoint integration, OnBase provides users with real time process visibility into OnBase workflow activity, process bottlenecks and exceptions. Users can search, access, view or retrieve documents through a single interface, eliminating the need to log into multiple applications (known as application jumping). With the SharePoint and OnBase integration, users can scan documents directly through SharePoint, allowing users to manage all of their content within a single familiar interface. Documents scanned into SharePoint are automatically stored in OnBase and/or matched with related content and routed through workflows.
Why is the integration valuable?
- Leverage investments by integrating these enterprise solutions to take advantage of the strengths of each.
- Promotes worker efficiency by providing SharePoint users with instant self-service access to related content in OnBase.
- Easy configuration and easily deployed without the burden or cost of system development. Easy to update pre-built workflows.
- OnBase runs in the background but allows for high volume scanning and capture solution that complements SharePoint’s native capabilities.
- Access critical business documents stored with OnBase directly within familiar, user -friendly SharePoint interfaces.
Integrating OnBase and SharePoint takes advantage of the strengths of each. SharePoint is great for collaborating across teams and organizations. It’s a great repository for new documents, presentations, etc. while you and your team work together, but it doesn’t address all the requirements organizations have for content management solutions. Once that business content is complete, OnBase is the better choice for long term archival and customized workflow.