Innovation & Technology

Migration: Not so daunting anymore

| Dominik Adams

An archive in accounting, a DMS in HR, plus file directories and workflow software spread throughout the company – this is not the model of modern information and business process management. With the right migration concept, however, you can consolidate the uncontrolled growth and minimize the effort and risks involved in this change process.

According to an international survey conducted by AIIM, more than half of the surveyed companies use at least three different ECM systems; one-quarter have five or more. It’s not uncommon to find an even higher number – 10, 20 or even several hundred systems – at large corporations. You’ll typically find such structures at companies with many subsidiaries or at companies in a post-acquisition/merger phase.

This kind of organically grown and heterogeneous IT landscape is neither cost-efficient nor does it support corporate processes and collaboration. The operation of these systems alone requires a huge amount of maintenance and personnel, never mind the necessary training for administrators and users. What's more, expensive license and maintenance costs for the legacy systems take up a great deal of the IT budget. IT consolidation gives companies the golden opportunity to dramatically reduce the complexity of the application landscape while also cutting operating costs. The free capacities resulting from the consolidation can be actively used to improve information and business process management and to achieve competitive advantages.

Organically grown information silos

Making the situation worse, outdated archives, DMS and workflow solutions no longer fulfill the requirements of modern information management. Their outdated software architectures can no longer handle the volume of managed documents, records or business processes and the number of users. The lack of interfaces exacerbates the integration with other applications. If current storage technologies are not supported, storage is expensive and slows down information retrieval. From the user's perspective, working with these kinds of systems gets frustrating over time – especially as work just gets slower and slower.

The result: chaotic filing structures, redundant data retention, and information silos. Not only is it hard for users to exchange data and information across the company, but it’s also difficult with external partners like suppliers and customers. If you add the information buried in email software and personal directories to the mixture, it quickly becomes clear that this is not a glowing example of efficient and conform data retention. A lot of potential is being lost here. Once you lose the overview on such a grand scale, you put your company at great risk of non-compliance.

It would be very foolhardy and costly to sit on your laurels in this situation. Even if you are happy with your application landscape despite these problems – you'll inevitably have to change something when support for your software solutions is no longer offered. The same is true for when the internal know-how for your system disappears over time. If you have system failure, no one can access your stored information – which can hardly be considered audit-proof archiving.

A method to the madness

How can you efficiently and intelligently make method of the IT madness that has emerged over time? It's important to start with a stable foundation such as SER's Doxis4. As a cutting edge ECM system, Doxis4 provides a sustainable and service-oriented software structure that grows with the functional and technical requirements. Comprehensive integration options help stop the accumulation of buried content.

The combination of ECM and BPM on one uniform platform is ideal for both users and administrators. It brings information together with business processes – regardless of whether documents are of high or low value to a process. Doxis4 makes it possible to create information and business process management across the entire system and company without media discontinuity.

One crucial step in an IT consolidation is unifying information in one system. Migrating key document sets and archives typically involves moving between 10,000 and hundreds of millions of documents and terabytes of data volumes. This also involves making sure the entire migration process is audit-proof – from data and document migration to tests and the documentation.

The size of such projects requires a solid integration and technology platform and a proven migration concept. While it's good to have a healthy amount of respect for a migration, it needn’t be scary. What you need are proven and efficient procedures, migration know-how and the right software tool. These allow you to calculate, plan and control the migration process.

Streamlining the chaos step by step

The Doxis4 Consolidation Service is an efficient alternative to classic migration, where all data of a legacy archive has to be exported first and then imported into the new system. The Doxis4 Consolidation Service, in contrast, allows you to migrate data step by step during operation. First, only the document metadata is transferred. Most of the data to be migrated initially remains at the original storage location and is successively migrated in the background without reducing performance. A special storage adapter ensures access to the documents in the source system, independent of the archive system. The Doxis4 users don’t notice any difference – documents are equally accessible both via the source system and Doxis4.

An independent migration environment ensures additional security and compliance conformity during the migration process. Moreover, all necessary metadata transformation is handled in the migration environment. In this step you have the opportunity to optimize the metadata, e.g. through conversion, restructuring and other measures. Throughout the migration process, the source system data is not modified. Another plus: The operating Doxis4 system is not overburdened.

Especially when dealing with a high volume of documents, this service makes the migration project less scary and considerably shortens project times. Essentially, companies save not only time, but also money. They can already decommission their old ECM systems directly after the metadata migration is complete. This saves significantly on operating and maintenance costs.

 

Room to grow

IT consolidation is not an end in itself: It definitely makes sense for companies to straighten out the chaos in the application landscape. If done right, not only will the IT landscape thrive, but so will the Company.

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