Seven Canonical Usage Scenarios for ECM

RSG research subscribers know we have always used "Scenarios" as the key basis for selecting the right technology tools for your requirements. We believe they are more important that other criteria (such as simple features) when it comes to differentiating among different tools.

What exactly is a Scenario

Think of a Scenario as a high-level business use case. Explicitly or not, different ECM tools target different use cases. This is usually because the product’s initial incubators or customers wanted it for those use cases. The product might have broadened its scope as it matured,  but typically the initial roots remain visible.

Understanding the business scenarios that fit better or worse for the different packages enables you to see deeper into their relative strengths and weaknesses for your particular circumstances.

ECM Scenarios

For ECM, we have defined seven scenarios against which we evaluate each product that we cover. In our latest evaluations, this is how we rate each product against each scenario:

ECM Scenarios
Fig: Canonical ECM Scenarios

What if you want to support multiple Scenarios?

Organizations often need to support more than one scenario. Or your own requirements may be a combination of one or more of above.

This is not an uncommon expectation. So you should treat these scenarios as abstractions and use them as a starting point for a product selection exercise.

You will notice that we give a rating from 1 to 4 to each scenario for each product. The rating basically tells you the extent of support to a particular scenario. Based on which scenarios are important or critical for your, you can decide which products have best support for the combination of scenarios you want to support.

It is also common to have multiple tools for targeting different scenarios.  Much pain can come from shoe-horning a single ECM platform into multiple different business processes.

You can get detailed ratings for each scenario in RSG's evaluations. Use them in conjunction with our decision tool RealQuadrant Shortlist generator to generate your own shortlist based on the particular set of combinations of scenarios that you want to target.


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ECM Standards in Perspective

In real life I don't see ECM standards proving particularly meaningful, and you should see them as a relative benefit rather than absolute must-have.