April 1, 2020

The Case for ECM Migration

Harvey Gross | VP, Product Management

As organizations continue to redefine internal and customer driven requirements for enterprise content systems, the importance of managing and delivering digital content has driven decision making and has influenced the move away from traditional content management systems.

It’s an accepted reality that giving customers a choice between receiving communications in print and/or electronic formats is essential to a positive customer experience. Modern ECM systems make it easy to store digital archives of print data for internal purposes but are somewhat dependent on the format the content is stored in.

However, as new communication channels continue to emerge, so does the need to satisfy customer preferences. Today, the fundamental basis for ensuring an excellent customer experience is to communicate with customers when, where, and how they want. Customers may want to have you contact them using web presentment of the printed document accessed via browser or hand-held device, e-mail or text.

Current content systems and customer communications archives and methodologies may not be ideally suited for the required immediate response and changing nature of required formats.

Additionally, legacy customer archive systems, some built on 20 plus-year-old mainframe platforms, are expensive to maintain, require specialized knowledge to administer and are inflexible in their approach to outside access and delivery.

In many cases there is no clear choice of action because document creation and output is often locked into legacy line of business and print composition systems that may not have the capabilities to produce information in anything other than printer-specific formats. These Printer Definition Languages (PDLs) do an excellent job of rendering the information for use in print and mail but do not provide the flexibility of producing electronic distribution-ready formats.

To further complicate the issue, todays’ customer will want to access historical information and documents by the same method they use to access current information.  If a consumer wants the statements from two years ago or all of the historical trade confirmations for a particular stock purchased over a period of five or six years, how will the request for that information be delivered in a format for consumption on a mobile device or tablet be satisfied when the information is stored in an ECM system as legacy PDL files? This needs to be accommodated.

To that end, many organizations are considering migrating from legacy ECM system to newer, modern content services platforms to achieve multiple goals – obtaining the flexibility in storage, presentation and delivery to customer preferences as well as improving efficiency, gaining operational cost savings and reducing administrative overhead.

Although migration of content systems to newer methods promises to deliver on multiple fronts, it is a project that is not to be undertaken lightly. As with any significant project - analysis, planning and preparation are absolutely required but, since legacy content systems may contain documents and data in multiple formats, the details of which have probably changed over time, expertise and successful experience in managing extraction and migration initiatives is mandatory.

ECM Migration – a daunting task but certainly one worth considering.