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22. February 2021

Are Legacy Enterprise Content Management Systems Dead?

Are Legacy Enterprise Content Management Systems Dead?

There can be no doubt that times are changing for large organisations. With workers no longer in offices, there’s a renewed focus on finding better ways to manage content and documents. Traditional systems, it seems, have a tough time keeping up.

It comes as no secret that many large organisations still rely on legacy document management systems. It’s the big elephant in the room that few dare to tackle. Organisations have been using them for years – and they have been great, truly.

But do these old systems meet the demands of our changing world of work?

The Death Of ECM

Back in 2017, Gartner defined ECM (Enterprise Content Management) systems as ‘dead’. It became the big talking point for a while in IT circles.

According to the research behemoths, the major business goals that most organizations strive to achieve with an ECM strategy are:

  1. Regulatory compliance and risk management
  2. Retention and dissemination of business knowledge
  3. Cost and process efficiencies
  4. Innovation and new ways of working

When ECM systems first came about, they tried to be the best at everything. The fuelling concept was a single, unified system that made knowledge management a breeze.

However, organisations have only truly reached the first goal – compliance – with ECM systems. To assume that a centralised platform can achieve all of these close-to impossible.

Time For Change

Given the new flexibility in the way organisations work, the need for proper knowledge management is greater than ever. There’s also been a change in the way we view technology. We now rarely work on projects in isolation.

You can see the proof in the popularity of Google Docs and the collaboration tools in Microsoft 365. People want to work together, and we’ve started to see the benefits of doing this effectively.

Is it a cultural change? It very well might be. But with work styles and organisational practices changing rapidly, why do so many companies still stick with their old legacy systems – knowing that they don’t meet the demands of the new remote-first world?

Overcoming Resistance

There’s also a significant fear factor tied to migrating from ECM or DMS (document management systems). And the truth is, the old systems work. The question is for how long.

Large organisations cannot migrate at the flip of a switch. Resistance is there because changes need thorough testing – not to mention all the upgrades and customisation organisations must account for.

One of WorkPoint’s customers had a document management system for 15 years, which they hadn’t updated for three years. For them, change was indeed scary. Worried that if they added updates, their customisations would stop working, a migration seemed like a massive leap into the unknown.

But they leapt, despite their concerns. WorkPoint helped them by adding the governance and control needed. And the result is that they now work in a more streamlined way with complete governance, using dedicated business services to meet all four of Gartner’s outlined goals.

Ultimately, to effectively embrace migration to an ECM system, organisations need to be ready for change. They also need to adopt a new mindset that embraces futureproof cloud technologies.

Stay tuned for our next article in the series, diving deeper into the great need for organisational change.