ECM Modernization: It’s More Than Just a Technical Upgrade


Modernization of enterprise content management (ECM) is crucial for organizations facing the challenge of managing multiple content silos. Migrating from legacy systems to new solutions may seem like an obvious fix, but Jason Burian, VP of product for KnowledgeLake, explains why consolidation and integration are actually the keys to success.

As organizations continue to face the challenge of managing a growing number of content systems, the modernization of enterprise content management (ECM) has become an ever more critical business need. Migrating content from a legacy system to a new one may seem like the obvious solution; however, most organizations have multiple silos of content. Instead, modernization needs to focus not just on migration but also on consolidation and integration to streamline business processes and improve overall efficiency.

This article explores the need for effective ECM modernization, highlighting the benefits of a platform approach and the risks of failing to modernize. Ultimately, organizations must understand that ECM modernization is more than just a technical upgrade; instead, offering the potential to drive success in today’s digital landscape.

Why ECM Modernization Is Necessary

According to AIIM, 52% of respondents have three or moreOpens a new window ECM systems, and 22% have five or more systems. That’s far from ideal, leading to difficulties accessing siloed data and data loss risks. 

And it’s not just content systems that are spiraling out of control. While the introduction of new tech such as AI (artificial intelligence), RPA (robotic process automation), and low-code solutions is meant to enhance productivity, these advanced tools are too often implemented in a haphazard way, preventing users from extracting their full value. Only by centralizing them in one place can the full power of these technologies be realized—otherwise, workers are caught between tools, helplessly searching for the information they need.
That’s not the only consequence of failing to modernize. It used to be that falling behind the curve on ECM meant being unable to provide the continuity of access that has become a mainstay in today’s complex hybrid business world, where workers inhabit various environments—and expect to be able to access whatever they need in the cloud, wherever they are. But we are beyond that now.

Organizations are looking for ECM to deliver far more in the current climate, from productivity increases to enhanced integration across internal systems, websites, and mobile apps. Failing to modernize ECM also impacts the customer experience, with companies who fail to keep up potentially falling behind rivals who can deliver an improved experience for customers—who, in the modern world, expect a seamless, flexible experience across all the ways they interact with a business.

See More: The New MVP of the Modern Enterprise: Content

Best Practices for ECM Modernization

So, what does this look like in practice? Companies must look beyond a simple like-for-like replacement to reap the full rewards of ECM transformation. Unfortunately, organizations are in the habit of conflating modernization with simply implementing new technologies and solutions. The endless string of upgrades only creates a chaotic mix of systems that play poorly together.

It’s time to accept that the needs of modern knowledge workers have changed massively since the early days of legacy ECM. Today, businesses must not only prioritize the advanced features that help them work more effectively, but also ensure that any new systems can stand the test of time— supporting new business workflows suited to the evolving world of work. Simply having the new technology is not enough; businesses must ensure they evolve their operations holistically so workers can make the greatest use of the latest tools available to them.

Consolidation Is Key

ECM-integrated technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be hugely influential. An RPA bot, for instance, might remove busy work from human workers by automatically moving files based on certain criteria. Moreover, non-technical staff might easily set those criteria by leveraging low- or no-code technology that lets them create advanced automation behavior without prior coding knowledge.

But the focus must be on integration and consolidation with other enterprise content and line of business systems. Each new solution should reduce the information chaos within an organization–not add to it. By tackling the problem of multiple competing systems, ECM modernization can deliver various benefits, including improved access and visibility into data, increased productivity, and access to a holistic view of the organization. In short, true digital transformation.

Meanwhile, a cloud-based ECM solution is almost non-negotiable, future-proofing businesses by supporting the scalability, cost-flexibility, and ease of use that’s needed in the face of ever-increasing volumes of content. A quality ECM solution should ensure that every document is indexed, categorized, tagged, and completely searchable as soon as it enters the organization. That way, information silos become less of a threat, with teams gaining instant access to documents whenever needed.

Boiling these best practices down to the core steps for modernization means businesses should:

  • assess existing systems with a critical eye to discover areas of disconnection.
  • involve key stakeholders from across the business when designing a roadmap for consolidation and exploitation.
  • thoughtfully deploy new platforms, prioritizing consolidation and integration over flashy new features.

The Need for Consolidation in Modern ECMs

Organizations should understand ECM modernization as more than just an opportunity to improve efficiency. Instead, it can be a critical means of driving success in today’s digital landscape. It provides an information platform that fuels innovation, controls governance, and drives user and customer engagement in our new, increasingly complex business world.But businesses shouldn’t merely add new technology on top of the old. Achieving true digital transformation requires a next-gen ECM system with all the key ingredients for success—one that combines easy integration with advanced automation features and a secure cloud environment for easy access. By consolidating previously disparate systems and ensuring interoperability among its constituent parts, the technology can become an existential differentiator in the new work world we find ourselves in.

What is your approach towards modernizing ECM? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you! 

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