3 reasons to break up with your legacy ECM system

Let’s face it – even the happiest relationships take work. Or at least the publishing industry would have you think so. Browse a bookstore (am I the only one who still does this?) and you’ll find an entire section devoted to relationships:

  • How the keep the spark alive.
  • What’s your love language?
  • Men and women are from different planets!

Whether you approach relationships by the book, or by your instincts, I think we can all agree that healthy relationships boil down to a few key themes: compatibility, communication, and appreciation. And when these things break down, many people see it as an occasion to re-evaluate their relationships.

Questions like, “Do I still like this person?” and, “Are they the one for me?” begin to set in. Along with the big one, “Can I do better?”

Not all vendor relationships are a match made in heaven

Compatibility, communication, and appreciation aren’t just important for personal relationships. If you feel like your current technology solutions can’t support your vision for the future, are struggling with workarounds to get systems to share information, or are investing more time and energy in maintenance than what you’re getting in functionality, it could be time to re-evaluate your enterprise content management (ECM) vendor partnership as well.

Because ECM has evolved into content services – a much more effective way to aggregate content across multiple repositories to connect disparate applications and minimize IT sprawl.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Has your vendor stopped providing meaningful product enhancements?
  • Does its development roadmap still align with your needs?
  • How robust are the support and training programs?

Whatever the situation, if your organization has evolved to meet new service expectations and operational standards – but your ECM system hasn’t – it could be time to stop settling and move on.

When your ECM relationship starts feeling more Greek tragedy than love story, here are a few ways and reasons to break it off with your outdated or underperforming solution.

“I don’t see a future with you.”

If you’re still relying on an ECM system that doesn’t provide the features your organization needs, or can’t develop them, your business processes can’t evolve to create new efficiencies. Without continual product improvements, your legacy solution will require time-consuming workarounds, adding to your system’s mounting total cost of ownership (TCO).

Conversion is an opportunity to gain new functionality like workflow management, document capture, records management, or integration with email systems or mobile devices – all of which greatly improve access to information as well as your processes.

“We don’t talk anymore.”

You’ve invested in a core system – ERP, EMR, HCM, etc. – to manage key data and day-to-day operations. But you also have critical related content – from documents and forms to notes and emails – that these systems can’t effectively manage.

If your ECM solution runs on an outdated platform that doesn’t easily connect with other core business systems, you risk leaving your employees without easy access to all the information required to make decisions, manage processes, and provide excellent customer service.

“You take more than you give.”

The cost to go-live with a software solution is only a fraction of the lifetime TCO. Often, the system you’ve relied on for years grows too costly or too complex to maintain. Whether it’s heavy administrative overhead, third-party services, or custom development, maintaining an outdated system that no longer serves your needs drives up your TCO.

If your legacy ECM solution continues to add costs without continuing to add value, conversion should be part of the conversation.

Finding your soulmate

Reducing costs, aligning IT investments, gaining efficiencies, mitigating risk – there are multiple reasons why you might want to replace your ECM solution. Doing so will give you the opportunity to find a solution that better fits the needs of your organization today, helps you plan for the future, and will evolve with you as your organization grows.

When you’re ready to evaluate new options, make sure your new solution comes from an experienced vendor with an uncompromised focus on product development, as well as an expert in-house database conversion team with a proven toolset and methodology.

Otherwise, you could end up broken-hearted all over again.

Danielle Simer is a marketing portfolio manager at Hyland. Her mission is to share best practices and evangelize the power of enterprise content management (ECM) as a tool to automate paper-based processes and improve operations across accounting and finance, human resources, and contract management. Danielle joined Hyland after more than six years with a research and advisory firm devoted to helping senior executives manage their departments and teams more effectively. She received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and her MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Danielle Simer

Danielle Simer

Danielle Simer is a marketing portfolio manager at Hyland. Her mission is to share best practices and evangelize the power of enterprise content management (ECM) as a tool to automate... read more about: Danielle Simer