Frequently, institutions and districts we speak with find themselves realizing that their document management system (DMS) no longer meets their needs. The symptoms of this situation manifest in a few different ways. The DMS might have frequent outages and may not be stable for a long time. The stored documents might be too numerous to be unmanageable. The applications are running on hardware that is nearing or is past its end of life. The administration lacks the ability to support the applications and is constantly challenged by their lack of knowledge of the system. Do any of these issues sound familiar?
In spite of all these drawbacks, institutions and districts feel reluctant to make a switch to a better system - mostly constrained by a fear of the document migration process. During a recent Softdocs webinar, Robert Cartin, a Senior Technical Solutions Consultant, spoke in detail about the aforementioned challenges associated with document migration and illustrated five areas for organizations to focus on to mitigate the challenges.
1. Change filing structure: An organization’s legacy document management system is usually a big mess - unfiled documents, outdated filing structures that may not be relevant anymore, and filing areas and archive names that don’t align with the current business structure. A messy document warehouse is difficult to navigate and makes life difficult for the users of the system. Data migration is the best time to fix and update the filing structure.
Etrieve clients have found that changing and updating their filing structure has been the biggest benefit they’ve seen from working with Softdocs. Each Softdocs implementation begins with Discovery. A Softdocs consultant will work directly with the client to review, evaluate and document current filing structures, existing document types, and key field data. These details are then compiled into a workbook and the consultant works directly with department stakeholders to configure Etrieve to file and store documents in ways to make each department successful.
2. Improve security: Once the filing structure has been revamped, the next step is to lock down access. A legacy DMS is usually shared across departments leading to a lack of visibility and control over who gets to see what documents. A new filing structure would ideally limit document access by document types and areas. E.g., Financial Aid documents should only be viewed by Financial Aid Staff. The key to locking down access will be to integrate the new DMS with existing active directory (AD) groups.
Etrieve can integrate with an institution’s active directory, and document-level security can be based on existing AD groups. Further, Etrieve can utilize SAML2 or Oauth2 identity providers to easily integrate with existing single sign-on (SSO) solutions like Azure AD, Google, Shibboleth, Okta, PortalGuard. The data will be encrypted, and access controls will be easily integrated so the admins can lock down document access easily.
3. Leverage the power of the cloud: IT staff in education are running thin and overworked. In an on-premise application, the staff has to manage numerous functions to keep the system running flawlessly - certificates, backups of the VM and database, patching cycles, antivirus software, physical hardware, etc. That doesn’t even cover the intrinsic application knowledge needed to administer the document management system. Worst of all, most of the time, people with this knowledge have moved on to new roles. Moving the DMS to the cloud will save all teams time and money.
With a migration to Etrieve, a massive burden is released from the overworked internal IT team. Storage in the cloud is easily scalable. The servers in the Azure cloud are always up to date on patching and the Softdocs team engineers are constantly monitoring and maintaining the cloud environments in which we host our clients’ data. Softdocs utilizes the Microsoft Azure cloud and has consistently delivered 99.95% uptime for our clients.
4. Begin with a good migration strategy: Timing and execution of the document migration are critical. When it’s time to upgrade to a new system, a good migration strategy goes a long way in ensuring success. The migration strategy needs to consider system downtime, key dates for the organization, and how to mitigate data loss from occurring.
At Softdocs, we have a proven strategy that we have executed hundreds of times. Migration is done in a methodical process that begins with discussions with stakeholders. The detailed process is explained and proper expectations are set amongst key stakeholders. Once the migration is complete, we frequently hear from our clients that are pleasantly surprised at the speed and efficiency with which the process occurred and the absence of any downtime for the users.
5. Go with an experienced solution provider: When it’s time to migrate, it is important to remember that vendors who sell a “one solution fits all” model rarely know the specific challenges of your industry. An inexperienced provider could not only end up creating the need for endless fixes and patches, but institutions could also end up with missing data, extended downtime, or even have data exposed to the wrong people.
At Softdocs, we focus solely on Education and take data security very seriously. Document migrations are something we do every day. We’ve built our own documentation on how to migrate documents, creating best practices for the industry’s most common document management systems, but are also equipped to handle “first of a kind” migrations as well. We have experienced team members that are brilliant at extracting data from any system, whether it be Oracle or MSSQL, and getting your documents into Etrieve with accuracy, timeliness, and zero data loss.
Data migration doesn’t have to be a source of stress or conflict for institutions. With the right kind of provider, data migration will not just be stress-free but it can actually improve the quality of document storage for an organization and help the users operate more effectively. Click here to listen to the webinar from an expert in document migration. Contact Softdocs to help you understand your data migration needs and suggest the best way forward.