Migrating your Legacy ECM System to SharePoint – Part II

In the previous post within this series we revealed why and when to consider a legacy Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system migration to SharePoint.  Now that the wheels in your mind are churning, you need to know some of the common challenges and benefits behind a SharePoint migration in order to make an informed decision.

Are Migrations Complex?

SharePoint migrations may not be as long and complex as you think.  We have completed FileNet migrations with 3 million images (including OSAR proprietary hardware) in three weeks.  The key is planning and analysis and you want to make sure this part is not shortsighted.  The next (and final) blog post in this series will describe the planning questions you need to answer to ensure a smooth migration process.

Migration Challenges

The following challenges really apply to any migration, not just SharePoint.  These could even be challenges associated with upgrading your platform with the existing vendor.

  • The core features set of a new system doesn’t align 1:1 with your legacy system.  How are you going to fill the gaps?
  • Need to replace existing customizations such as workflows, forms and LOB integration.  How will they be handled on the new platform?
  • Determine third party requirements for features that may not be available in the core platform of a new system.  For example:  Scanning, Searching and Viewing, Records Management, Backup/Recovery, Departmental Applications (AP,HR) and Vertical Solutions (Legal, Healthcare).

Migration Benefits

If you look back at previous versions of SharePoint, there were some pretty big ECM gaps that provided challenges.  However SharePoint 2010 (and now 2013,) has proven to be a truly successful ECM platform.

  • SharePoint is a full fledge, very compatible ECM system.
  • There are many ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) that provide complimenting SharePoint functionality.  You only need to buy the add-ons that are really needed.
  • SharePoint resources are plentiful and easy to find.
  • Lower cost of ownership with SharePoint – If you are in the market for a legacy system resource, it is probably going to be tough to find and possibly expensive.
  • SharePoint is simple and integrated with Office.  This means ease of use and quick user adoption.

What’s the Catch?

Content is only half the battle.  When people think of a migration they mostly think about content.  There are other things you want to consider and evaluate during your research phase.  For instance, what about supporting applications?  What applications does your current system integrate with and how do you replace them?  Can SharePoint support the application needs?  What about the end users?  Many times we find users are not even using the current legacy ECM system that is deployed.  It is important to consider what process changes or improvements are required to motivate them to use the new system moving forward.  How do you keep this from being another failed project?  The answer is planning and analysis.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How committed are you to SharePoint?
  2. How is your organization really using ECM?
  3. Is there a real ROI in the migration?

Bookmark or Subscribe to this blog because we will continue this discussion in the final part of this series… coming soon!