Enterprise Content Management vs. Data Driven Platforms vs. Business Process Management Systems

When evaluating technical options for solving complex information and business process needs it’s important to understand the underlying strengths and assumptions of various types of systems.

Business Process Evaluation / Score

We see the available tools fitting into three main categories though many existing technologies cross boundaries and support more than one capability:

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

ECM focuses on storage, security and lifecycle of document files primarily. ECM systems tend to best support document-based processes where records of activities are stored as files and are often handled both physically and electronically. Alfresco, OpenText and Sharepoint are all examples of ECM with varying capabilities.

Data Driven Platforms (DDP)

DDP is a class of application focused on managing relational data through the management of web-based forms, reports and highly granular security. DDP applications tend to focus on higher volumes of activity and records stored as data. QuickBase, Intalio|Create and Microsoft Dynamics are leading players on DDP.

Business Process Management Systems (BPMS)

BPMS manage work through orchestration of human and machine activities according to a standards-based system (BPMN 2.0). BPMS have traditionally focused on driving consistent execution of work and track completion of activities as the primary focus and may be workflow systems as opposed to strictly standards-compliant. Intalio|BPMS, Lombardi and K2 are examples of these tools.

How do I know what system type is right for me?

Most enterprise technologies today provide capabilities across the spectrum but focus on one strength with less capability in others. For example, Sharepoint is undeniably strong at document handling while providing an acceptable degree of workflow and very limited data-driven capability without a high degree of customization. On the other hand, Intalio|Create offers a best in class data management capability with a strong BPMS engine but relatively limited features for ECM.

These key scenarios might help determine a starting point for evaluation.

ECM

DDP

BPMS

My operation uses paper or document forms and routes them to get the job done

Top Choice

Second Choice

Third Choice

We’re tracking of a lot of data on spreadsheets today

Third Choice

Top Choice

Second Choice

Most important is that we follow a structured set of steps, get signoffs and know where we are at in the process

Second Choice

Third Choice

Top Choice

Each of the technical options outlined in the above diagram have their strengths and weaknesses. Many of the technologies we work with today are crossing boundaries and are suitable solutions for a variety of complex business processes. To find out more about how to solve your unique business needs, contact MCFTech today.