ECM Modernization: An Expense Or An Investment?

ECM Modernization: An Expense Or An Investment?

ecm modernization an expense or an investment

Most decision makers will agree that ECM modernization is not something enterprises are keen on doing. The risks that come with modernization are real and can cost a lot, both in terms of stress and in financial costs.

However, by not modernizing outdated ECM systems, enterprises risk spending much more time and money on daily operations, as well as the ongoing cost of maintaining the IT systems that are powering that old ECM solution.

Here are 5 key benefits your enterprise will get from modern ECM software, that will hopefully help your organization warm up to the ECM modernization idea.

Improved Accessibility

Upgrading to a modern ECM software means moving to the cloud. And moving to the cloud means better accessibility.

Enterprises rely on modern ECM software to help make the company’s data more accessible by putting this data online rather than on paper or spread out in different data formats in an isolated intranet.

Adopting a cloud-based ECM software will make it easier for employees and other authorized users to retrieve that data from locations outside the office. The cloud stores all data in a secured location, making it easier for enterprise employees to log in securely, and access any needed data.

Better User Experience

Enterprise Content Management solutions will probably never become a fully automated industry. People will still need to fill out digital forms, and rely on workflows to process legal cases, medical cases, privacy requests and so on. That doesn’t mean that as an enterprise, you shouldn’t be looking for ways to make these repetitive tasks easier.

Modern ECM software solutions are far more flexible than older ones. These newer ECM platforms are built with low-code or even no-code ways to customize and even fully automate workflows. This enables non-technical staff to easily configure the ECM solution to fit your company’s specific needs.

Modular ECM Modernization: Getting the Benefits with ArkCase as a Front-end ECM Platform

Improved Performance

Organizations that use legacy ECM systems find it very difficult to keep up with changes. The outdated software may be causing productivity hurdles within departments and across departments, when there is a need to collaborate or share data regularly and securely.

Modern ECM can change all of that.

Modern ECM systems include document clustering, advanced search, and metadata management capabilities that didn’t exist until just a few years ago. Smarter data management ultimately helps your staff be more productive and get more value from the corporate data.

Regular Functionality Updates

Outdated ECM software very rarely, if ever, get functionality updates. While companies do release patches and fixes, these are usually security patches. You’d still be maintaining an old product that’s been developed, quite literally, in a different decade, or even a different century.

Upgrading to a modern, cloud-based ECM system means that you will no longer worry about maintenance, and you’re much better positioned to regularly get new functionality upgrades. Companies who built these systems are regularly updating and optimizing the ECM platform and you’re always using a fresh version.

Also, adopting a cloud-ready ECM means that enterprises can offload the ownership, management, and cost of their hardware and software maintenance to the cloud provider. This is one of the key reasons why organizations opt for ECM modernization.

Improved Security

Many enterprises struggle to keep their data safe. This is especially true for organizations that store personally identifiable information. Banks, hospitals, schools, and universities are all prime targets for hackers who try to steal personally identifiable information.

Modern ECM solutions usually come with a hybrid or fully cloud-based solution. Industry regulations like FedRAMP, HIPPA, DoD 5015, and Veracode are there to help software developers build secure and scalable solutions. Companies who need a trusted ECM solution can easily find a supplier that is compliant with one or more of these regulations.

In some cases, cloud-based ECM Solutions come packaged with technology that meets most of these regulations:

  • Using scalable and secure servers from the Amazon Web Services platform is one way to achieve compliance with FedRAMP.
  • Using the Alfresco platform for data management, is one way of becoming DoD 5015 compliant.
  • Using ArkCase for case management ensures Veracode compliance.

These security regulations, and software providers who meet these requirements, are your best bet when planning an ECM modernization project for your organization.

Modularity The New Paradigm of ECM Modernization

Conclusion

Any company that handles large amounts of data knows that having a solid ECM solution is a critical component of success and security. But, because of this very reason, some companies are hesitant to give ECM modernization a more serious thought.

In this short text, I hope that I listed just a handful of benefits that would help your organization warm up to the ECM modernization idea.

We at Armedia have been helping companies and government agencies make the right ECM solution choice for almost 20 years. In our history, we’ve helped organizations merge disparate data sources into a single data repository. In some cases, this meant joining local databases stored in various formats, online databases, and vast amounts of paper documents.

In all this work, we’ve developed workflows and technologies that are helping us do reliable data migration even when there are terabytes of data.

We’d love to hear your concerns and what’s stopping you from considering ECM modernization with more ease. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts or send us an email using the Contact Us page. And, please don’t forget to share this article on your social media profiles. Perhaps, this is exactly what someone needs to see in order to make the next small step towards ECM modernization.

Modular ECM Modernization: Getting the Benefits with ArkCase as a Front-end ECM Platform

Modular ECM Modernization: Getting the Benefits with ArkCase as a Front-end ECM Platform

modular ECM modernization

Enterprise content is the currency that moves businesses. And logically, its management is often the key to a business’s success or failure. The very purpose of ECM is managing enterprise content in a way that it stimulates insights and decisions that drive corporate activities.

ECM Modernization Avoidance

Employees want to be productive anytime, anywhere, from any device or application. Enterprises want to find and share business documents just as easily as they can browse and buy a book online. It’s all about content management technologies that support remote and collaborative working styles.

The problem is that enterprises fear modern ECM. In fact, most enterprises fear IT modernization in general. The reasons for this are understandable.

Enterprises are afraid of high costs, loss of content through migration, and rejection by users of the new technology. All these fears are real.

The real reason for failure is the idea that the team would leave one well-known system and replace it with a completely new one that comes with a steep learning curve.

You don’t have to do all of this. In fact, you don’t have to do any of this.

You can take another path, another approach.

Modularity: The New Paradigm of ECM Modernizationthe new paradigm of ECM modernization

Integration can avoid the pitfalls of modernizing front-end ECM.

Instead of risky migration, high costs, and confused employees, you can just integrate a modern front-end ECM to your existing back-end ECM software.

Interesting, right?

This approach is getting very popular in the last few years. Large companies that don’t want to risk the safety of their content and money, but do want to upgrade their legacy ECM software, very often employ this solution.

Changing the approach and going with the integration of a new front-end ECM to your legacy back-end ECM can be beneficial in many ways. Not only in terms of security and money, but this approach will solve all of your ‘outdated ECM problems’.

According to a Forrester survey, only 7% of the organizations surveyed have migrated all their content to a new ECM system. The majority of surveyed organizations retain some or most content in their old systems.

This survey indicates that almost 90% of organizations that modernized their ECM adopted this modular approach.

Of course, modernizing your outdated ECM system has to be more than just an abstract goal. It needs to result in improved business outcomes.

Updating your infrastructure to take advantage of the benefits of a more modern cloud-based structure requires a content integration platform – and one that is flexible enough to evolve over time.

We’ve had a lot of positive experiences in doing such a modular ECM Modernization strategy with ArkCase.

Transforming Legacy ECM With ArkCase as Front-End ECM

transforming legacy ECM with ArkCase as front-end ECM

ArkCase offers an adaptive case management platform that is dynamic to support your business solutions. At the convergence of CRM, ECM, and BPM, ArkCase can help your enterprise reduce the complexity and unpredictability of your organization.

The ArkCase front-end ECM will replace your outdated ECM interface with a customizable interface that is easy to work with and organize. The modern features this solution offers can make all the difference for large businesses.

The ArkCase front-end ECM can easily integrate with almost any back-end ECM system on the market including:

  • Documentum
  • calvaDriv,
  • eX,
  • dotCMS
  • OpenText,
  • Fabasoft
  • Alfresco
  • Apache Chemistry
  • CEYONIQ
  • IBM
  • FileNet
  • IBM SmartCloud
  • LogicalDOC
  • Magnolia
  • SharePoint
  • NemakiWare
  • Nuxeo
  • O3Spaces
  • OpenCMS
  • OpenKM
  • OpenWGA
  • Oracle
  • SAP
  • Ptc
  • StarStorage
  • Laserfiche.

This unique capability makes ArkCase an excellent frontend ECM solution for your existing ECM backend system. It also provides:

  • Fast searchability of documents
  • Metadata strategies included
  • Customization of workflows
  • Document clustering
  • Data extraction, etc.

With ArkCase integration, you will get all the benefits of modern front-end ECM software without the need for full-fledged data migration, making the ECM modernization process much cheaper, safer, and faster.

“ArkCase software, which helps companies do more with less really appeals to our business units,” says Ian Rushton, Senior Vice President of Sharecare.

“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.” 

If you want to achieve the same, ArkCase is the right front-end ECM solution for you.

To Sum Up

Those 90% enterprises who took the survey already know that modernization helps in becoming faster and smarter in day-to-day operations, decision making, and delivery. Companies that fail to modernize risk falling behind their market competitors.

While some early adopters spent a lot of resources on ECM modernization, the more cautious majority can benefit from all the lessons learned and move on with modular ECM modernization. This way, they benefit from a more established set of procedures and experiences, adding up to a safer, faster, cheaper modernization process.

Integrate your existing backend ECM system with ArkCase modern front-end ECM and you will enjoy the benefits of a modern ECM system. No security risks. No migration. Just an integration. In fact, almost 90% of organizations that modernized their ECM did exactly that.

And for ArkCase and the benefits this platform brings, I wrote an article on this subject: Traditional Ecm: The Limitations And Risks Of Relying On Outdated ECM Systems.

They both elaborate on ECM modernization, back-end and front-end integration, and all of the benefits that a platform like ArkCase can bring to your organization.

If you want to find out more about this subject, please feel free to take a look at them.

And if you have any questions or thoughts, do not hesitate to contact us.

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

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

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.

Conclusion

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.