EIM Blog

A DMS Health Check: What You Want to Know

by Megan on Tuesday, May 13, 2014

At last year’s ILTA conference in Las Vegas, our very own Peter Lieber spoke on a panel to discuss document management system health checks. I sat down to speak with Peter from an organization’s standpoint to learn more about these health checks. Below is our conversation.

Megan: How do I know when it is time to conduct a health check? Do I determine that it is time or do I work with you as my integration partner to make that call?

Peter: Health checks should be scheduled regularly. For a well maintained system, an annual health check is sufficient. However, there may be technical reasons to perform a health check that isn’t regularly scheduled such as reoccurring technical issues.  Also, if you’re preparing for a significant system change such as moving to a Cloud based content management application or merging with another firm, you’ll want to make sure the DM is well-positioned.

M: Would a situation like a staff change drive the need for a health check?

P: Potentially, yes. Particularly if health check information isn’t current or if there are security concerns besides simple account access. For those firms with regularly scheduled health checks, what better way for a new administrator to familiarize themselves with the system than to be a given a comprehensive report to review?             

M: How intrusive is the process to my organization? Am I able to continue to work on the system?

P: A typical health check isn’t intrusive. Most aspects of a health check involve queries and reports. One exception, however, is performance and stress testing which we’ve recently begun including with our health checks. This is best done during off hours.

M: How long does the health check take?

P: A very broad rule of thumb is 25 hours per one million documents. Obviously, the larger the environment, the larger the health check and vice versa.

M: Our system seems in good shape so why do I need to do this?

P: To maintain it and prove verification of items such as reporting for security and capacity usage. A health check can also uncover issues that may not be apparent. It relates to the same idea that you may go to the doctor for your yearly physical and feel fine, but he or she may find underlying issues in your test results.

M: My staff is fairly talented so what are some of the benefits of engaging EIM to perform a health check?

P: EIM can have different levels of involvement to fit various requirements. In some situations, we’ve been brought in to design a health check and act as health check auditors where we’re not performing the health check, but are auditing the results.  Sometimes it’s a bandwidth issue, while other times an external view of your system by someone outside of the company presents a different vantage point than someone ‘in the weeds’ day to day.

M: Will problems that are found be fixed automatically?

P: If any issues are urgent, we bring them to your immediate attention. Traditionally, issues uncovered during the health check are prioritized from low to high. The plan to handle these issues is then discussed collaboratively with you and your team.  Sometimes we also uncover opportunities for self-healing processes. An example of such is a SQL database auto growth setting.

M: What do I receive at the end of the process? What happens to the data collected?

P: A comprehensive report is prepared with all findings which we will review with you and then plan a course of action.

M: Will a health check help me prepare for business continuity?

P: Yes and no. The health check report identifies whether business continuity processes are in place and whether they are tested regularly. A health check is not a business continuity fire drill, but it does address the different business continuity needs depending upon whether your DM is Cloud based or not. For instance, an on premise DM will have a much different business continuity setup than a Cloud based data center design.

For more information on DMS health checks and to read more of Peter’s insights, click here to read the article “Time for a DMS Health Check,” published in April’s ILTA White Paper.

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