Traditional ECM: The Limitations and Risks of Relying on Outdated ECM Systems

by | Aug 22, 2019 | ECM Industry | 0 comments

outdated ECM

As the volume, velocity, and variety of content changes, so does the way in which that content is managed. The new scale and nature of enterprise content make older enterprise content management (ECM) systems outdated.

In today’s information-centric business landscape, outdated ECM systems can be a threat to an enterprise’s success.

According to research conducted by AIIM, outdated ECM software solutions have an architecture that isn’t suitable for modern needs.

According to their research, an outdated ECM system could put your enterprise at risk and end up costing much more than implementing a new approach.

The Limitations and Risks of Outdated ECM Systems

The key issue for outdated ECM systems is the risk it may bring to your enterprise, not only that outdated ECM systems can’t help your enterprise evolve and advance, but they can cause delays and setbacks.

Here’s what the researched companies in AIIM’s survey said about their ECM systems:

  • Over 50% of the companies say that most of their content lives outside of their ECM system.
  • About 30% said they experience serious business disruption after less than an hour of ECM downtime.
  • About 43% feel that current cloud ECM collaboration doesn’t have the proper functionality.
  • 32% of organizations said that in 2016, cost and efficiency were the top reasons to implement an ECM system, but the cost to go live is reportedly much less than the total cost of an ECM solution.
  • Over 62% said they found it difficult to share information with colleagues, customers, suppliers, and partners.
  • A staggering 79.3% said that lack of integration between their organization’s content management system and core business applications was a real stumbling block.
  • 5% said that scaling out information management systems to other processes beyond its original deployment was also proving an impasse.

All of these percentages point to significant problems that need to be addressed. There are also tangible risks involved in using outdated or proprietary solutions that lack a modern, open architecture that allows easier integration with other systems.

The Easy Way to Keep up With New Technologies?

There is a solution, and it’s not as scary as people think it is.

Having been in this business for over 20 years has taught me that the decision to migrate onto a modern ECM system is the one thing enterprises try to avoid as much as they can.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that the technical issue of Migration isn’t really the problem. The real issue is inertia. Unwillingness to change. Too many organizations choose not to change and hope things will somehow

work themselves out.

In projects we’ve worked on recently, I’ve found that there can be a software solution that helps you migrate smoothly onto a cloud-base ECM system that is FedRAMP compliant. It’s called ArkCase.

ArkCase is a dynamic open-source case management and IT modernization platform that extends your ECM solution. It acts as a modern front-end ECM system that can integrate with just about any backend document management system you have.

ArkCase integrates with a lot of different repositories using content management interoperability services (CMIS). Below are logos of some CMIS compliant systems that ArkCase can integrate with and they’re constantly adding new partners:

CMIS compliant content management systems

Figure 1: CMIS compliant content management systems

This integration to almost any backend content management system with the modern front-end platform of ArkCase can reduce all the limitations and risks your organization may be struggling with. Thanks to this versatility, it’s much easier for organizations to go ahead with an ECM Migration project.

“[the] ArkCase software, which helps companies do more with less, really appeals to our business units… Companies want to manage cases, search across their enterprise, and keep their existing systems, but don’t want to use or integrate 10 different tools,” says Ian Rushton, Senior Vice President of Sharecare.

Now, if you like the idea of ECM modernization stay with me because in the below section I will focus a bit more on the benefits you will get from this modernization approach.

Meet the New ECM

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a set of defined processes, strategies and tools that allow a business to effectively obtain, organize, store and deliver critical information to its employees, business stakeholders, and customers.

To have an outdated ECM software and do that successfully is nearly impossible, and even dangerous giving the cyber threats. On the other hand, migrating to a new ECM software can be a risky, expensive, and time-consuming process as it involves integrating with other systems needed in your organization’s workflow and data management.

This is why technology vendors are thinking in terms of integrated solutions, rather than migration of discrete, isolated parts of an entire system of how organizations work with their data.

Here are a few added-value benefits companies get from having this approach of integrated solutions.

Data Extraction and Tagging

Gathering important information from business documents is a crucial business process – and also very time-consuming with outdated ECM systems. This way employees need to review each document and manually key data into various business systems, creating tedious and error-prone tasks. To add to the problem, as organizations and processing demands grow, so do their workforce requirements.

Thanks to ArkCase and its integration capabilities, once documents are captured and classified, the platform can automatically and accurately extract the critical information using AI/ML integrations from AWS — extracting and organizing information from the existing pool of documents helps organizations achieve more in less time.

Fast Searchability of Documents

The ability to search and quickly find the right document is one of the biggest and most important tasks among the ECM. The unfortunate part is that an outdated ECM system cannot support document search – metadata search, document content searches, proximity searches, etc.

fast searchabilities of documents

ArkCase has a solution for that. ArkCase is capable of indexing content created in different kinds of formats to include social media, audio, video, etc. Once the indexing is done, all of your digitized information is easily accessible and discoverable by your employees, while enforcing role-based access control. In addition, ArkCase integrates with eDiscovery and records management platforms to provide holds and automated dispositioning of information.

Metadata Management

Another very important, but very often overlooked detail is how companies use document metadata. Metadata provides the descriptive tags or context that act as a reference point for search engines in determining what should be associated with that specific piece of content. A typical metadata description in Enterprise Search Solutions can include things such as:

  • Name of author
  • Name of customer
  • Business department
  • Case Type
  • Other descriptive categories

Without the appropriate information being provided in an organized way, your enterprise search system does not know what to look for. This results in employees getting unfiltered search results causing inefficiencies in daily tasks.

For companies that use ArkCase, the platform will support the metadata strategy, making the search an easy, timely and effective task for your employees.

The image above is from ArkCase of the search results page. The table shows the results themselves, as well as metadata-oriented filtering. Keep in mind though, that the data itself doesn’t have to be altered. The documents are still residing in their original document management platform. What ArkCase does, in this case, is add the very needed extra functionality of metadata management.

In addition, ArkCase provides rich reporting and business analytics capability.  The metadata stored within ArkCase can be used for canned or ad hoc reports as well as predictive analytics to find patterns or trends within the information.

Document Clustering

As a sub-set of metadata management, clustering of documents around common features is yet another benefit of using a modern front-end system atop of an old, existing document management solution.

document clustering with ArkCase ECM

This process of dividing a set of document collections into a different number of groups based on document contents-similarity is very helpful for users. This ability allows enterprises to:

  • Understand the similarities between documents
  • Understand how they are related
  • Manage similar documents easily.

ArkCase allows users to make inferences and find similarities that otherwise would not have been possible.

Workflows Customization

The execution and automation of business processes where tasks, information, or documents are transferred from one participant to another for different kind of actions can be pretty complicated and time-consuming. That is if you are stuck with an outdated ECM system that allows only for pre-defined workflows.

workflows customization with ArkCase ECM

The ArkCase platform integration allows you to model the lifecycle for each business entity (case files, tasks, documents). The platform allows easy customization using a simple drag and drop functionality. This allows you and your employees to customize your own workflows, save time, and increase the efficiency of your ECM.


Outdated ECM systems can do more damage than good to your enterprise. But high cost and complexity are keeping organizations from migrating from an outdated or proprietary ECM system onto a modern or open-source platform. Luckily, some vendors are taking a different approach. It’s more a process of integrated solutions rather than an isolated, modern ECM component that companies then need to somehow integrate into their existing workflow.

Using the integrated ArkCase system can make the ECM Modernization a much easier decision. Cloud-based, FedRAMP compliant, providing easy search, document clustering, reporting, analytics, collaboration, and workflow customization are just a few of the many benefits this integration approach with ArkCase can bring to your enterprise.

If you have any questions or would like to hear how Armedia can help your organization with your IT Modernization, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Need a bit more info on how Armedia can help you?

Feel free to schedule a 30-minute no-obligations meeting.


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