Replacing your old ECM software: Is it time?

Completely dismantling information silos can seem like a chore that never ends, and there’s always another rabbit hole to go down before it’s done.


Ask that question to a user and they’ll complain about needing to learn a new system, that the old one works and so on. Ask the question to IT and they’ll explain the challenge of ensuring the new system has all the required functionality, the risks of migrating to a new solution without causing operational issues, etc.

The cautions and objections raised by both audiences are valid and form a large part of the reason why we still see so many legacy applications in enterprises today. It takes a CIO with a very strong nerve to replace an existing solution with something new.

System migrations can be brutal

Didn’t your last enterprise content management (ECM) vendor promise you that this would be the last product you would ever need to buy?

Didn’t they promise you that this would be the last painful, costly, and time-consuming migration you would ever have to go through? They did!

Yet here you are again.

New products often require migrations, and if you haven’t experienced a large-scale migration previously, you owe it to yourself to talk to someone who has. The journey can be brutal.

Part of you is probably saying to yourself “We don’t have it so bad. Yeah, what I have is expensive; it doesn’t integrate easily; it barely meets the business requirements; it takes forever to modify, and our people can’t find what they’re looking for. But it beats the nightmare of swapping out another large- scale system!”

But then there’s the part of you that feels a true sense of urgency because you see the struggles and inefficiencies resulting from the inability to quickly find and access information residing in various systems within your organization.

You see how difficult it is to deliver information-rich customer experiences and to match your competitors’ speed in delivering new products and services.

The truth is: migrations don’t have to be painful, costly or time-consuming.

Hyland’s approach significantly eases that journey, delivers a quick return on investment (ROI) and reduces your total cost of ownership (TCO) — while connecting information across the enterprise.

Explore our Complete Guide to Digital Transformation

Why “rip-and-replace” projects fail

The reality is that if upgrades or migrations were easy, then it would have been done already.

Incurs high costs and delays

Information silos can create major headaches, as well as direct and indirect costs — but rip-and-replace projects often require high implementation costs that don’t always make sense from a business perspective.

At Hyland, our customers tell us that previous attempts at rip-and-replace projects often took 2 or 3 times longer to implement than initial estimates.

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Lower adoption rates

After spending a huge amount of money and time on projects that promise to make information accessible and secure, enterprises are often shocked to discover that their new system is underutilized and faces persistent difficulties with company-wide adoption.

What many businesses forget in their rush to implement radical change is that individual teams have strong preferences about the applications and workflows they currently use. Team members can feel like a rip-and-replace project completely changes the shape of their days.

Often, these changes are seen as unwelcome, and team members resent being told to use a new system.

Formerly happy, productive teams begin to feel bogged down in technicalities, and start getting “creative,” implementing workarounds (aka “shadow IT”) with more flexibility than their information management systems would allow.

In the end, it can be just as difficult to fulfill information requests as it was before the rip-and-replace project started — a frustrating state of affairs for executives and end users alike.

While it’s critical to make sure that information is visible across your organization, modernization doesn’t have to mean leaving behind what works best or alienating hard-working teams that may be resistant to change.

Today’s executives should consider a balanced approach: seek out a solution that works with the way your information is stored and accessed today, but that is flexible and forward thinking enough to ensure scalability and compatibility with the technologies of tomorrow.

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