When you invest huge sums and lots of time in a new CRM system, a new HR system, or even more in a new ERP system, you unconsciously expect it to last forever. How else could you justify the sacrifices – monetary and human – needed to make these inevitable swaps?
When we started of in the business document and process management industry some 29 years ago we had the same notion. The ERP system is the most important system of any. Fact. The ERP investment is the biggest of any. Fact! Ergo the ERP system is the most long-lived of them all.
We now have clients using our business document and process management infrastructure who are on their third generation business system. Not that they made bad choices. Not that they swap systems for the fun of it. Their business simply called for new solutions not readily available with their current business systems.
We were right in acknowledging that business systems, and the ERP system in particular, are the most important elements in any IT landscape. The primary mission or “raison d'être” for a business document and process management infrastructure must be to seamlessly serve any business system in place now or in the future. They will come and go.
With business systems coming and going it’s evident that you cannot trust you business documents to the individual business systems. You are bound to incur either huge conversion costs or loss of information available. Potential costs that keep you running business systems you may long have outgrown. Multi Support Next or any other general-purpose business document and process management solution eliminates this vendor lock-in.
We would never challenge the fact that business systems are the key components of your IT landscape. We would never challenge the fact that your ERP vendor is the true specialist in their field. We will, however, gladly challenge whenever such a vendor claims that documents may just as well be managed by their system. Maybe even for “free”. We will challenge them because 29 years of experience have taught us that “free” can easily be way too expensive.
As you know from Agent 007, only diamonds are forever, and hence even a document and process management infrastructure may need to be replaced. Only if integration is done with open and standardized services, and the solution is capable of exporting all your documents including metadata, you have not swapped one lock-in with another. Beware and look out for fake diamonds.
As mentioned above – only diamonds are forever. But a well implemented business document and process infrastructure comes close, and keeps running for decades. For that reason alone it’s of course important to pick the right one from the beginning. However, missing out on Multi Support Next, and picking the second or third best still beats picking no one by miles. What ever you do – don’t let go – leave it to the experts.