Preparing for a Cloud ECM Migration - Roundtable Discussion

In one of our recent Doculabs Practitioners Roundtables, participants spoke about their experiences preparing for a migration to cloud-based enterprise content management (ECM), and best practices that they’ve learned along the way. In this post we offer highlights from this discussion of real-world cloud ECM migration.

Critical Functional Requirements for Cloud-based ECM Solutions

Participants noted that any cloud-based ECM solution should carry over core features from the legacy solution, such as records management, compliant WORM storage, and syndication. It should also have some kind of integration mechanism that business units can tie into, and it must have the ability to scale. How a solution scales is important to know. For example, does the system take advantage of native capabilities of the cloud providers, or is the application simply running in a container?

Solutions that can offer the following were top of mind for our roundtable participants:

  • Robust APIs for application integration
  • A cloud-native architecture (as opposed to mimicking the architecture of a legacy solution)
  • Scaling on a component basis
  • Advanced indexing to enable deeper search functionality

Interestingly, a number of practitioners noted that they expect to be in a hybrid environment for quite some time – five to ten years for some, and perhaps longer for others who struggle to get certain business units on board with moving.

Cloud Solutions from Legacy Providers vs. New Cloud-Native Solutions

There was significant discussion around cloud-native architecture. While practitioners feel that there are some solid cloud options available now from the traditional ECM providers, there is a preference for cloud-native solutions. Participants noted that build-your-own can work well in certain circumstances as well. (For more information on this option and a few others, read this post on 4 options for moving ECM to the cloud).

Prioritizing Applications for Migration to the Cloud

Deciding which applications to move first depends of course on the industry. Participants noted that their first method of prioritization was by risk - they started moving less risky data first. The second level of prioritization noted was cost. In an insurance industry example, claims data was the first to be migrated, and HR documents are expected to be the last.

When asked if any type of content was completely off-limits for migration to the cloud, none of the participants felt that was the case.

Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud

There was discussion around the benefits of moving ECM to the cloud. The general consensus among participants was that there aren’t significant cost-savings once you go to SaaS ECM, unless you build your own on Amazon Web Services (which is only a good idea in certain circumstances). Key benefits of cloud ECM noted by our roundtable participants are:

  • Flexibility to grow/scale
  • High speed computing power

Desired Innovations in Cloud-based ECM

ECM providers, take note – practitioners also discussed a few innovations they’re hoping to see in the near future.

  • Incorporation of data science/data analytics
  • Additional AI capabilities – particularly in the capture context
  • Expansion of file sizes that can be uploaded (e.g. video file sizes continue to explode)

Continuing the Conversation

As more enterprises move their ECM to the cloud, those in the trenches have important lessons to share. If you’re a practitioner planning an ECM migration, reach out and let us know. We’ll invite you to the conversation.

Download the ECM in the Cloud Preparation Checklist

Rich Medina
Amy Smith
I am the digital marketing diva for Doculabs, and a Nielsen Norman Group certified UX professional.