When it comes to managing your documents, eForms, and other kinds of content (and the structured and unstructured data associated with it), are you still relying on vulnerable and cumbersome legacy solutions? On-premises document management technologies leave your institution open to data breaches, and burden your internal IT/IS team with complex maintenance, disruptive upgrades, and seriously limited scalability.

These legacy content management products offer some basic features that allowed your organization to digitize documents in the past. But more recently, document management and process automation technology has improved by leaps and bounds, making first-generation applications obsolete. In some ways, legacy solutions are doing more harm than good. They’re inherently insecure, leaving you open to regulatory compliance violations and disruptive ransomware attacks, and other kinds of cybersecurity challenges. Such cybersecurity attacks have increased by 146 percent since 2021, according to EdTech. When your users’ sensitive personally identifiable information (SPII) is so easily compromised, it creates massive trust issues with students, faculty, staff, constituents—whomever you serve daily.

Another challenge with legacy content management platforms is the increase in vendors sunsetting applications they no longer wish to support. Once you get past the sunset date, you’re on your own. This places an immense burden on your internal IT/IS resources and diverts them from testing, implementing, and maintaining the rest of your critical infrastructure and tech stack.

Why Switch to Cloud-Based Document Management?

If everything you have read so far sounds all too familiar, then you might already be interested in upgrading your organization’s document management capabilities. In which case, you could not have picked a better time. The latest generation of solutions offer far more sophisticated yet easy-to-use features to help you quickly move beyond a static content repository and into more dynamic use of your documents, eForms, and data.

One of the most significant ways newer document management platforms let you level up is by replacing the outdated on-premises way with a cloud-based approach. Content and related data are stored in a secure data center rather than on your servers. This offers a much higher level of protection through adherence to industry-standard security protocols like SOC 2. A cloud-based document management system also provides redundant backup, so you’ll have peace of mind—and business continuity—should any of your physical locations suffer from a natural disaster.

Upgrading to a cloud-based document management platform also means you’ll automatically receive significant new product releases and point versions remotely, without your IT/IS resources needing to get involved. So rather than wasting several days every few months and potentially taking your system offline (which removes or limits user access to the content they need to do their jobs), you’ll be kept up to date with the current version of your document management system and be able to take advantage of updated functionality with minimal to no effort.

Tapping into Proven Domain Expertise with a Trusted Vendor

Switching from an on-premises approach to a cloud-based one will allow you to tap into the expertise of an industry-leading document management vendor such as Softdocs. By working with hundreds of clients across education and the public sector, we’ve been able to create a set of fully tested best practices and have assembled an A-team of experts with decades of cumulative experience in the field.

When evaluating vendors, be sure to ask for references and case studies or endorsements from their customers to make sure they can walk the talk. Explore how customizable the platform is and if it will meet your organization’s unique needs. In addition, ask each vendor to explain their vision for improvements over the next three to five years. As important as it is to assess their system’s current capacities, it’s just as vital to know where they are heading moving forward, and to know if they’re dexterous and flexible enough to adapt to the fast-changing demands of cybersecurity and industry-specific changes your company will inevitably have to face.

Making Migration from a Legacy Application Hassle-Free

If you go through the steps we just shared above as part of your thorough and thoughtful market analysis, you should be well on your way to finding and selecting a best-in-class document management solution. As you begin to plan for a migration project, consider the repositories you currently store your documents, forms, and other kinds of content in, and how you might want to combine these in an organized manner. The newest class of cloud-based platforms provide granular security features, so think about what user privileges are best for each job role and user type well in advance. This way the information each person needs to know is exactly what they are able to know.

Don’t forget to evaluate the expectations of your own customers, be it employees, students, parents, constituents or others. Consider how they want to submit applications and requests using an eForm, upload and send documents, or check the status of their case. It’s important to strike a balance between improving the process for your internal staff and for those you serve.

Lastly, ask your vendor what they might recommend for enhancing the end-user experience and how you can bridge the gaps between the current and future process. Tap into their expertise to discover new and exciting ways to make the lives of your staff and students easier. Collaboration is key! And it will ensure your document management migration goes smoothly and forges a productive partnership built to last.