Over the years, many document management systems have come and gone. What was once state of the art is now obsolete, unsupported or the unwanted stepchild of a large company. So what do you do if you are in this position?
Let’s start by looking at what caused this problem in the past and the reason this trend is about to accelerate.
In the past, the document management software industry was filled with vendors selling proprietary systems. Over time, some of these vendors sold out to other vendors, not all of whom were document management companies. In some instances, these companies sold out to hardware companies that wanted the customer base so they could sell more hardware.
Worse yet, some of these hardware companies bought multiple competing products. When this happens, products get put into maintenance mode or wind up discontinued. Remember, the hardware companies bought the document management companies so they could sell more hardware.
It’s not much better when one software company buys another. If they have competing products, one of them becomes the stepchild. Again, they only wanted the customer base.
Today’s legacy document management companies are in a precarious position. They’ve built systems that compete with an emerging industry standard and with the new Cloud computing model.
On the industry standard side are products that companies get along with another product. The product may say it does document management or enterprise content management but does it, really? But you say “it was free!” Well, in the last 20 plus years we have seen our share of free document management and we know the costs of trying to implementing free. That is in another article we wrote in our August 2010 Newsletter. More troubling for these legacy application vendors is the paradigm shift away from installed applications to cloud computing. Legacy software vendors have a very hard time competing against a subscription model that does not require hardware, software, capital purchases and an IT staff.
Over the next decade you will see an accelerated consolidation of the remaining legacy vendors and their application.
The problem for users in this scenario is that their on-premise document management system will become obsolete, and worse yet, probably unsupported. Will they offer to export and then input your information into another system? No, that information might even be in a proprietary format that does not export into standard file types that can be imported. The best to hope for is that it can be exported and converted to information that can be used.
The solution for current customers of legacy systems is to begin the transition to true Software as a Service (SaaS) document management delivered via the Cloud. Cloud providers also are known to provide great service and create newer versions of their product based upon their customer’s feedback. Why? Because you are subscribing to their service and, similar to cable or phone service, you can cancel your subscription at any time. With the SaaS model, users are insulated from software, software upgrades, hardware and hardware upgrades. And because the SaaS vendors manage the application and the infrastructure, the user is protected from obsolescence.
For organizations that are looking to solve their document management challenges for the first time, start off right with a true SaaS document management solution. For those that have legacy software, think about converting while you still have access to the current provider and ensure continuity of your system.
For more information, please read our page on SaaS Document Management Software.