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    Digital Transformation

    What ECM Modernization Is and Why It’s Key to Digital Transformation.

    Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is an essential component of digital infrastructure. ECM software encompasses the strategies, tools, and processes used to manage an organization's information assets – especially the endless volume of documents that every organization deals with.

    ECM solutions provide organizations with the ability to manage unstructured data, including documents, images, and video, while also providing collaboration and workflow tools that help to optimize business processes. This includes creating, storing, managing, and distributing content across the enterprise.

    Talking about ECM is not as in vogue as it used to be, but there’s no questioning its continued importance. And as organizations continue their digital transformation efforts, the need for modernizing legacy ECM systems has become increasingly important.

    In this blog post, we will explore the concept of ECM modernization, what it entails, and the key factors that organizations need to consider when upgrading their legacy ECM systems.

    What Is ECM Modernization?

    ECM modernization refers to the process of upgrading an organization's existing ECM system to take advantage of the latest technologies and capabilities.

    Upgrading ECM can take more than one form. It could mean enhancing the capabilities of an existing ECM system by adding complementary (typically cloud-based) applications and tools that bring new features and functionality. It also could mean a whole-sale migration to a modern cloud-based (SaaS) platform. In either of these scenarios, organizations may also consider consolidating multiple ECM platforms into one.

    The challenges with legacy ECM systems are characterized by outdated technology, limited functionality, and a lack of integration with other enterprise systems. This can lead to poor customer and employee experiences, inefficiencies in business processes, slow response times, and increased costs. In addition, on-premise ECM systems are often unable to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change and the growing demand for mobile and remote access.

    It is important to note that while ECM modernization almost always involves a cloud solution, it does not necessarily entail ripping and replacing your legacy ECM software. Rather, existing ECM systems can live in harmony with a modern solution – one that enhances the usability of legacy systems.

    Digital Transformation of ECM

    Digital transformation is driving the need for ECM modernization. Organizations that want to remain competitive need to be able to access, manage and use their documents, and the data those documents contain, more efficiently. This requires an ECM system that can handle large volumes of data, provide real-time access to information, and support collaboration and workflow across multiple devices and platforms.

    Rather than just a place to store documents, modern ECM systems now may include or integrate with intelligent capture solutions that ingest high volumes of documents that can separated, indexed and fed into AI-driven automated workflows. (Learn about the four advantages of intelligent capture here.)

    Cloud-based ECM Solutions

    Of all the ECM modernization options, moving to a cloud-based ECM solution, or at least incorporating complementary cloud tools — offers the most benefits.

    Cloud-based ECM solutions have several advantages over traditional on-premises software. By their very nature, cloud-based solutions are more flexible and scalable. Depending on how and where organizations deploy them, they also can be more cost-effective. They also provide better security and compliance capabilities, as well as the ability to access data from anywhere, at any time.

    Cloud-based ECM solutions also provide better integration with other enterprise systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This can help to improve business processes, streamline workflows, and provide better visibility into data across the organization.

    ECM Platform Consolidation

    Consolidating multiple ECM platforms into a single system is another key aspect of ECM modernization.

    Many organizations have multiple ECM platforms that are used in different departments or business units. These information silos mean that IT departments end up supporting solutions that do roughly the same thing but don’t speak to each other. Obviously, this can lead to inefficiencies, duplication of effort, and increased costs.

    Consolidating multiple ECM platforms into a single system can help to reduce costs, simplify management, and improve collaboration and workflow across the organization. It can also help to standardize processes and ensure that data is consistent and accurate.

    ECM Migration

    Like other migration projects, IT leaders may look at ECM migration and say “no way.” Too burdensome, too time-consuming, and too cost-prohibitive.

    But that doesn’t have to be the case.

    In our twenty years of experience migrating ECM systems, including the documents they contain, migration is not necessarily an “all or nothing” venture. Some organizations can archive existing content or otherwise leave it behind. Some even delete it. Other organizations choose to migrate only selected content (after “cleaning” it for migration with the appropriate tags and categories). This hybrid approach means that old content is retained for compliance or other purposes, but newer “active” content is managed in the cloud for greater utility.

    There is plenty to talk about on the migration aspect of ECM modernization. You can start by reading our guide, A Roadmap to Agile and Adaptive Enterprise Content Management.

    Key Factors to Consider

    When upgrading or modernizing a legacy ECM system, there are several key factors that organizations need to consider:

    1. Business Objectives: The first step in ECM modernization is to define the organization's business objectives and align them with the capabilities of the ECM system. This will help to ensure that the new system provides the functionality and features that the organization needs to achieve its business goals. Do you want to automate business processes, or just need a place to store documents?
    2. Data Migration: Data migration is a critical component of ECM modernization. If an organization needs to retain documents and other content, it is important to ensure all that data is migrated correctly and securely to the new system. This can be a complex process and requires careful planning and execution.
    3. User Adoption: Any new cloud-based tools or new ECM system should be easy to use. But you still need to train employees on how to use them effectively. This will help to ensure that the new system is fully embraced by the organization and that it delivers the intended benefits.
    4. Integration: Integration with other enterprise systems and applications is another core benefit of upgrading an ECM system. Integrating with other enterprise systems such as CRM and ERP ensures that data is consistent and accurate across the organization.
    5. Scalability: Any new system should be able to handle the organization's current needs and enable future growth and expansion. This requires careful planning and consideration of the organization's potential future needs.
    6. Security: Security is ever critical. Any new or modernized system should provide robust security capabilities that protect sensitive information and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.


    ECM modernization is a critical component of digital transformation. Upgrading legacy ECM systems to take advantage of the latest technologies and capabilities can help organizations manage their information assets in a much easier way, improve business processes, and enhance collaboration and workflow. Cloud-based ECM solutions, ECM platform consolidation, and data migration are all key aspects of ECM modernization that organizations need to consider when upgrading legacy ECM systems.

    By carefully considering these factors, organizations can ensure that they select a new ECM system that meets their business objectives, improves user adoption, and provides the scalability, integration, and security capabilities that are critical to the success of any ECM system.

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