Is Now the Perfect Time to Say Goodbye to Legacy ECM?
Nitin Mahajan | 31 Mar 2020
As we find ourselves increasingly relying on the cloud for storing and working on business content, Proventeq's CEO, Nitin Mahajan, ponders on whether now is the perfect time to say goodbye to legacy Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems for good.
Many organisations are still invested in one or more legacy ECM systems that might well have passed their best before date.
A move away from legacy ECM systems to the cloud, such as iManage, Documentum, IBM FileNet, or OpenText eDocs, is – or should be - on the technology roadmap of many organisations. Perhaps, these organisations have been holding back due to concerns around the impact this migration could have on business, the availability of resources, user adoption, and the burden of training.
In some cases, employees are used to the old ways of working and IT leaders are just waiting for the right opportunity when the disruption to business will be minimum to initiate such a move.
With COVID-19 causing business disruption across the globe, I have come across CIOs and IT Managers now asking the question: "Is now the right time to say goodbye to legacy ECM systems and make a move to cloud-based platforms, such as SharePoint Online?"
I believe that the answer is a big, emphatic Yes! Allow me to explain why…
Need of the hour: Better Collaboration and Remote Working
With many users forced to work from home due to COVID-19, the need for effective collaboration has never been more pressing.
Although access to legacy on-premise ECM systems can be provided over a secure VPN, it frequently does not give the seamless collaboration features that cloud-based SharePoint Online does. Features such as real-time collaboration, multi-user co-authoring of documents, a centralised document repository, secure document accessibility, and external sharing improve the collaboration experience. Tight integration with Microsoft Teams, OneDrive For Business and other applications available in Office 365 further add to the benefits of collaboration in the Microsoft cloud.
The Slowdown in Business Activity = Reduced Impact on Business
Many businesses are experiencing a slowdown in business activity due to COVID-19.
For example, with very few people taking to the roads, there will likely be a significant reduction in car insurance claims. And with government departments and local councils putting projects on pause, the need for generating documentation is, for some organisations, significantly reduced.
This presents an opportunity to move to the cloud because the migration itself is less likely to impact the day-to-day business operation.
Focus on Cutting IT Costs
With COVID-19 causing strain on cash flow, organisations will be looking at reducing costs.
If a license renewal for a legacy ECM system is due in the coming months and your organisation already has Office 365 licenses, it's a good time to say goodbye to the legacy ECM and move the content over to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.
Since SharePoint Online licenses are included in an Office 365 subscription, it can save up to 80% (according to one of our customers, LifeArc a medical research charity) in licensing, infrastructure and support costs.
Availability of Resources
One of the critical factors that delay the decision to move away from existing systems is the availability of resources for carrying out the migration project.
An ECM migration project requires the availability of both IT resources as well as business representatives for providing the inputs and required signoffs.
Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, there was an initial spike in the draw on IT resources for provisioning remote working for all users. However, as remote working acquires more of a business as usual status, there is an opportunity to push through IT-driven initiatives such as ECM modernisation, since there are fewer other business-driven initiatives to support.
Business representatives are likely to be more available to focus on the move due to the slowdown of other activities that would have otherwise kept them busy.
Need for Automation and AI
Some technology drivers make the timing just right.
With the growth of Power Automate and the imminent launch of Project Cortex from Microsoft, there is going to be a seismic shift in the automation and AI capabilities of SharePoint Online and the broader Office 365 platform.
Any organisation that doesn't have Automation and AI initiatives on their IT roadmap risks being left behind. A move now to SharePoint Online would ensure that these initiatives can be applied to business-critical processes that depend on advanced and intelligent content management the minute they become available.
How to Make the Move
Now that we have an answer to why it's the right time to make a move, the next question that arises is "How to make a move?", especially if crossing over from on-premises to the cloud.
Again, I would say that the timing is right as there are specialist products available in the market today (including Proventeq's Migration Accelerator) that can handle the challenges migrations encounter so that you can focus on maximising the benefits for your organisation.
The capabilities of these migration products vary from having simple lift-and-shift functionalities to more advanced features, such as content or structure transformation and AI capabilities for intelligent classification and automated metadata extraction.