Selecting an ECM or paperless solutions is probably not something you have done before.  And, probably something you will only do once in a lifetime – if you do it right the 1st time.

I was put in the same situation you may find yourself.  I was asked by a client to help them find a paperless solution.  I had no experience at the time and didn’t know where to start.

I spoke to several vendors and all I got was sales pitches.  Which were not very helpful in my process.  After some trial and error, I came up with a few steps that helped me pick a paperless solution.  It was successful because the client is still loving the solution after more than 15 years.

  1. My first step was to find non-bias experts in this area. I found organizations that do technology research and publish their findings.  Gartner, Info-Tech, Price Waterhouse Cooper are a few.  Here is a sample report from one of the reports by Info-Tech. Laserfiche review Minnesota
  1. Next, I listed the top-rated vendors that these expert’s selected. And, I went to each vendor’s website looking for how many years they have been in business, and how many installations do they have.
  1. Now, I felt I was ready to call the vendor and hear their sales pitch. I wanted to see how user-friendly (I hate the term but …). I knew that my client’s user didn’t have time to go to a lot of training for this application. So, it had to be very intuitive. Maybe look like all the other apps they were already using. Also, I wanted to make sure the application felt like they kept it current and it wasn’t some old application made to work with current technology. I asked for ballpark pricing so I knew it was within the budget of my client.
  1. I also asked the vendors about technology that the product was developed on. I wanted to make sure it was very Microsoft centric.
  1. After I talked to my top vendors, I rated them based on factors described above. And then called my top five and asked for references.
  1. I called the references and got good remarks from most of them. This is what I expected, I knew they would give me names of their “good clients”. One client that I called was so excited about the product that they were using. She wanted me to drive 500 miles to her office so she could show me how it worked in her office. This did impress me.
  1. But, I wanted to make sure that this wasn’t an isolated case. So, I asked her if she knew of any other organizations that were using the product.
  1. I called these organizations. And I asked how their users adapted to the product, what kind of problems have they had and what type of response from support did they get.
  1. Now, I was able to pick my top product and I felt I was ready to show my client the product that I recommended to them. We did a demo and review the notes I took from my reference calls.
  1. They purchased the product and found that it was as good as the references said it was.

Selecting an ECM or paperless solutions is much easier if you have a logical process.  I hope that this article is helpful.   Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Larry Phelps


lphelps at