Micro Focus Content Manager will be with us for many years yet. The constant stream of new features, significant user base, volume of stored documents, and lack of competitive alternatives guarantee it! The overarching reason, though, is that if it works and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The hype around cloud computing has some companies considering migrating to a cloud EDRMS (Content Manager is server-based). It can be challenging moving to a new software system i.e. sourcing, purchasing, installing, training, and maintaining. There is also downtime while transitioning, reduced efficiencies while users learn the new system, the likely need to hire additional specialists. This, of course, assumes a better alternative can be found.
This provocative word conjures visions of improved accessibility, reduced maintenance, predictable costs, unlimited storage capacity, and better data security. But is this really doable with a record management system? Anything is possible if you throw enough money at it but, that said, there are attributes of record management systems that make them unsuitable for the cloud.
- Cloud file storage and backup is expensive (10TB can be $2000 per month or higher)
- Data transfer fees can also factor into the costs
- Migrating documents to the cloud in volume is slow
- Document access is also slower for the majority of users
- Organizations have little control over the cloud servers and their security
- Availability is never 100% (even 99.9% uptime is 43 minutes a month downtime)
- Critical documents are entrusted to a third party and potentially offshore
For many organizations, these challenges make the adoption of a cloud-based record management system a non-starter.
Leaving Content Manager in place makes a lot of sense particularly if you can achieve the benefits of cloud-based record management by other means.
- Upgrade the Content Manager Edition to get storage optimization, multi-jurisdiction retention, and other advanced features
- Upgrade Content Manager to a more recent version to introduce new features
- Add feature modules to provide auto-classification, advanced disposal processing, OCR support, etc.
- Move to Content Manager Select to transition to a flexible subscription model and benefit from access to a range of modules along with free unlimited inquiry user access
- Extend Content Manager using custom development. Developers can use the .NET examples provided in the SDK to add new functionality or modify existing behavior. This is typically undertaken by a Micro Focus partner
- Use an independent external application to provide the features you need. For example, CastlePoint Systems enables users to find documents in Content Manager and other systems using a range of comprehensive search options
- Integrate with an existing cloud-based application. For example, T4S makes record management possible from Salesforce which improves Content Manager accessibility and enables wide-scale automation. Bear in mind that integration also enhances the companion system. In the latter case, Salesforce benefits include a reduced document storage footprint, improved document management, and that the integration lets users stay in the context of Salesforce
Industry hype has driven many to embrace cloud technologies on the promise of improved performance, and reduced costs. These gains are hard to materialize when transacting stored documents in a cloud-based EDRMS.
Before making the jump to the cloud, consider what Content Manager does well, not so well, and any additional features you need. This will clarify if your next move is to enhance, upgrade, integrate or replace your current system. Above all, don't jump without a compelling reason to adopt an entirely new system.