Ephesoft’s Ian Pope recounts a project with Nuxeo that contrasts the “all in one vendor vision” to a “best of breed” approach.

Ian PopeThere is a quandary IT project manager’s face when deciding how to construct a technology stack to address a particular business process: how do I build the best solution while obtaining single source accountability from a vendor?

There are a lot of considerations, some of which are contradictory:

  • Leverage my existing platform investments
  • Automate as much as possible
  • Reduce user applications
  • Ensure vendor accountability
  • Maintain flexibility for changing requirements
  • Make sure it works!

These criteria (and often several more) need to be addressed when IT professionals review vendor & integrator proposals.  Pre-sales promises need to be thoroughly vetted, because experience teaches us that flawless demos and “easy integrations” often bear little resemblance to go live implementations.

I was reminded of this challenge recently when a prospective customer in the financial industry was looking for an end to end document management solution. They already had a document management platform, Nuxeo, which allowed them to manage their document driven workflows. However, the company was still employing data entry operators to onboard the documents and content into Nuxeo.

In reviewing potential automation options, the company met with several vendors. One in particular proposed an “all in one” solution: in other words, they offered the document capture front end, workflow engine & document repository/content management system: one vendor, single source accountability.  Digging deeper, however, what this vendor proposed was replacing the customer’s existing platforms with a series of applications that the vendor had amassed under its software group through a series of acquisitions.

What the vendor proposed, was what I would term a “label integration:” if you buy into the vendor’s vision, all of the acquired components fit an important role in the CM environment, and since they are now amalgamated under one product naming umbrella, the customer has single source accountability.

When Ephesoft became involved via a recommendation from Nuxeo, we offered a best of breed approach.  Ephesoft Transact focuses on classifying documents and extracting information. One of our key differentiators are web service APIs, which allow us to embed these capture capabilities within Nuxeo. The benefit to the customer is a unified user interface that incorporates best of breed advanced capture with best of breed workflow & content management.  The fact that the proposal allowed the customer to continue using an application it has already invested in, and that its employees are already proficient, sealed the deal.

Now the point of this post is not to share a sales win story (although all parties involved are quite happy with that result,) rather it is to point out that a bit of skepticism around vendor claims of “we do it all better than anyone” is probably a prudent approach. And, sometimes the less painful approach, in this case the Ephesoft/Nuxeo project pricing and implementation timeline where notably lower/shorter than the other vendor, may also be the better solution short and long term.

There is an adage in the personal training profession that goes “no pain, no gain.” For IT projects, it could be amended to “pain does not necessarily equal gain”.