Keep Your Legacy Ecm Platform? Or Upgrade

A Brief Guide by GRM

Should you keep your legacy ECM platform or adopt a new one?

Let’s start with a dose of honesty. Both options represent some risk. But, a big part of business is about managing risk and you can‘t effectively manage the risks associated with an old ECM or Document Management System (DMS). The deck is dramatically stacked against you and eventually that unmanageable risk is going to catch up to you and your organization.

On the flip side, if you do choose to adopt a new ECM, you can dramatically minimize the risk if you make some intelligent decisions upfront. And with those decisions behind you, you’re likely putting yourself and your company on a path that will pay off for years to come.

As you continue to consider the proper route forward, think about the following things.

How modern ECM Looks like

The Real Risks of Keeping Your Legacy ECM System

Many companies (perhaps, including yours) are using ECM systems that may have been implemented decades ago and these systems just don’t deliver the same level of security, functionality and integration capabilities as newer cloud-native systems.

The risks associated with an old ECM are many and they’re all the simple result of the old system being outdated, rigid and incapable of delivering what modern organizations need. As mentioned above, this is a set of circumstances that you can’t manage with an eye toward a successful outcome.

Below are several of the key areas where a legacy ECM system is likely putting your organization at risk.

Older ECM systems typically don’t deliver the same level of security features and protections that newer systems offer. And given the sensitive nature of some of the data and volume of data that should reside within your ECM, this is an issue of tremendous consequence and arguably the single best reason to upgrade. The absence of modern security and the potential for financial and reputational harm that it enables could be disastrous and can be the result of multiple things:

1. Security

  • External attacks – More common and more sophisticated, cyberattacks prove costly in terms of ransom payments, lost productivity and reputation damage.
  • Compliance failures – Non-compliance with increasingly strict standards and regulations prove disruptive and potentially expensive.
  • Systems vulnerability – Older systems are often unable to identify and repel damaging malware and viruses given outdated security and quality assurance protocols. This issue is compounded by the integration of multiple systems with your ECM.
  • Employee-enabled breaches – Without sophisticated access protocols, it’s difficult to achieve the right balance between system access and system restrictions; often resulting in improper access to data and system exposure to external threats.
  • Disasters – Natural disasters and major power outages threaten productivity and long term data protection. Modern back-up technologies are paramount.

2. Downtime

As your ECM system ages, it has likely become increasingly prone to downtime, which disrupts your business operations, leads to lost productivity and impacts customer-facing activities. A key part of avoiding downtime is having visibility into ECM operating metrics via active monitoring capabilities.

3. Inability to Integrate

The inability of older systems to integrate with other corporate software platforms is an absolute killer. Aggregating all important data is one of the primary reasons ECM platforms exist and if your platform can’t aggregate corporate data, it’s not delivering on one of its primary reasons for being.

Quite simply, integration dead-ends lead to volumes of data sitting outside the system – resulting in missed opportunities, missed insights, complaince issues and huge efficiencies; not to mention incremental security concerns.

4. Difficulty Using the System

Many legacy ECM systems in the market were architected and designed almost exclusively for IT professional interaction and management. Interfaces are not necessarily intuitive and adjustments and additions typically require complex code to be written. Of course, this makes it difficult for employees to adopt the platform, beyond a handful of key, technically-oriented users. This difficulty ultimately results in the ECM system and maintenance of it not being top-of-mind for most employees and further hinders the percentage of corporate data that is aggregated within the system.

The Opportunity Costs of Keeping Your Legacy ECM System

Beyond the direct risks of continuing to use your outdated system, there are also a breadth of opportunity costs to consider. Although they don’t represent actual risk, the sub-par capabilities of your system could be costing you in substantial inefficiencies and missed business opportunities. Some of these opportunity costs come at the hands of:

1. Poor Collaboration, Sharing & Productivity Apps Integration

Most older or basic ECM systems don’t have the same level of collaboration and sharing as newer systems; whether enabled with native platform-specific capabilities or via integrations with mass market productivity tools like Microsoft Office 365 integration. The absence of this capability inhibits not only collaboration but a sense of teamwork and all of the benefits that go along with that enhanced teamwork.

And, of course, this ability to collaborate is that much more important with remote and hybrid work arrangements.

2. Poor Search Capabilities

Older ECM systems invariably do not possess the same level of search capabilities as more modern systems. The absence of advanced search makes it difficult for employees to find the documents and data that they need. As a result, processes slow down and effective decision-making is more difficult.

3. Poor Metadata Assignment and Management

Your ECM system may suffer from outdated metadata assignment and management capabilities; making it difficult to effectively organize, categorize and find documents and information. Beyond the general downside of disorganization and difficulty accessing information, the unsophisticated assignment and management of metadata will invariably also have negative implications on compliance and business intelligence.

4. Poor Reporting and Analytics

An area of ECM capabilities that has advanced dramatically in the last several years is analytics. While a breadth of data integration, personalization and design have improved analytics offerings, advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) have pushed things well beyond the simple analysis and graphic presentation of data. Advanced analytics functions available as part of newer ECM systems provide predictive insights that can have a major positive impact on important strategic decisions.

The Rewards of Upgrading to a Modern ECM

While no one will pretend that upgrading to a new ECM or DMS platform happens overnight, the modern architecture and system capabilities of modern platforms does make the transition simpler than you may think. However, the real benefits are fully appreciated once a new platform like GRM’s VisualVault is in place.

With VisualVault, you’ll get:

  • Scalability – platform size and a progressive approach to pricing accommodate your needs of today and tomorrow)
  • Simple integrations – architected to be highly customizable and easily integrate with a wide range of ERP, CRM and other systems; aggregating data to improve data management and decision-making
  • End-to-end content and document management – delivers a full user role-driven document life cycle to organize, access and process; covering document generation, workflow automation, Office 365 collaboration, Adobe Sign approvals and retention management
  • Workflow automation – intuitive and powerful low code workflow designer works in concert with intelligent forms to simplify the streamlining of business processes
  • Advanced metadata – auto-assignment of valuable metadata that not only organizes and makes documents searchable, advanced capabilities trigger workflows, work in synch with security permissions, etc.
  • Enhanced search – capabilities not found in your current system like full-text search, allowing users to find desired information quickly and easily


  • Modern retention policy management – leverage machine learning for automated record retention policy management to avoid premature or delayed document destruction
  • Calendar integrations – synch your platform with calendar engines such as Outlook, Google Business, etc. to integrate schedule considerations with workflows
  • Enhanced text extraction – next level intelligent text extraction capabilities that automate the identification, extraction and structuring of data
  • Modern low-code apps – apps that put the power to build solutions in the hands of line of business owners; reducing time to value
  • Collaboration and co-authoring – delivered via native features and integrations with popular productivity tools like Microsoft Office 365
  • Mobile access – supports mobile devices and offline iforms that capture data anywhere with no internet access and then auto-synch with platform to update data when back in range
  • Advanced analytics – sophisticated analysis showcased in easily customizable personal dashboards; giving you visibility into operations, trends and Artificial Intelligence (AI) giving you an informed look into the future

And not unimportantly, you’ll also get:

Migration services expertise – the experience, tools and expertise required to move all of your corporate data from your legacy ECM – and other platforms – to VisualVault


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