A real sign that we are getting closer to winter is that we turned back the clocks last weekend. This reminds me of all the ads from smoke detector manufacturers that this is the perfect time to replace the batteries in their devices. It is also a great time to conduct a health check on your document management system, to keep it healthy and running efficiently.
So, what is a Document Management Health Check and how do you do it? Well it is a review of your systems including server and network infrastructure, current licensing vs. needs; a review of projects and workflows; an update on security and an evaluation of the user experience.
Let’s take a look at each of these. We’ll begin with the server and network infrastructure. If you have a premise based solution, you most likely have multiple servers to support it. The system server typically houses your ECM software. You will want to validate the performance of that machine. On the storage server you will need to check your capacities for storing images. The database server will be tested for performance and capacity along with database efficiencies. Finally, the application server, which is the Swiss Army Knife of the system, you will check for performance and capacity. While you are at it, also check the versions of the software you are using. This could be an excellent time to plan for upgrading to the latest and greatest.
Next take a look at your current licensing model and compare it to your existing and future needs. If you have a concurrent license, verify with users that there no conflicts with logging onto the system? If there is, you may need to add licenses. Is your organization planning for growth or an acquisition? Understanding how this growth will increase your system usage and impact the system is essential. If your licensing is based on the volume count of your documents in the system, determine how close you are to capacity? If you are anticipating growth, validate that your license is sufficient for the next twelve months.
You will also want to take a look at the current projects and workflows within the system. Interview managers and users to understand their needs, and any issues they may have to the system. Document changes that will need to be made, and schedule a separate time to design, test and deploy them.
Security is a paramount concern for any administrator. Validate that the existing security meets the requirements set force by the company. Never take this step lightly, especially if you are storing confidential information in the system.
Finally, evaluate the overall user experience. Cover all areas of the company from casual users to senior management. Determine if their needs are being met of if they have changed. Work through how the system can be improved to handle their needs. Document management and workflow solutions tend to be living systems. They need to be adapted over their life to support the changes within your organization.
Scheduling a system health check once a year insures you that your users will remain happy and your system healthy.
Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Priton Group provides Enterprise Content Management solutions from FileBound Software.