Will 2018 be the end of legacy systems?

It’s not news that many organizations are implementing cloud ECM and DM systems. Cloud platforms are gaining popularity and share of the marketplace. Could this mean the end of legacy on-premise systems?

Trends we are seeing

In the past few years, the legal industry has seen a shift from on-premise to cloud platforms. In the US Top 200 firms, iManage owns 70% of the marketplace. While iManage offers both on-premise and cloud document management solutions, there has been a definite trend of firms upgrading from iManage on-premise to iManage cloud. Net Documents, which is a true cloud document management system, holds about 17% of the US Top 200. The remaining is held by other DM systems like OpenText, Worldox, and SharePoint.

Another trend we have spotted is that most DM and ECM vendors are expanding their product offering to include some sort of cloud capability. This trend has allowed organizations to upgrade their systems to the cloud, rather than completely overhauling their DM or ECM and move to something new. These new product offerings and upgrades have also hinted at the beginning of the end for on-premise systems.

Concerns with the cloud

Data breaches were also a trend in 2017. The Equifax breach most certainly comes to mind when we talk about data security. 2017 was also plagued with malware issues, DNS hacks, and human errors like the one made by a third-party employee that uploaded Verizon customer data to a public cloud. While any of these things can happen to both cloud and on-premise systems, there is a specific area of concern when it comes to cloud. Companies feel like they lose control of their data when they implement cloud systems. Some even feel like the added cost of hosting data on site is worth maintaining the control over that data.

Benefits of the cloud

While the concerns about cloud are understandable, the benefits of cloud-hosted DMS and ECM systems also need to be addressed. First, contrary to popular belief, cloud systems are generally more secure than people think. However, there are some legal and governance reasons for why some organizations stay with on-premise systems. Most large organizations implement their cloud applications by partnering with cloud service providers. These providers are responsible for maintaining the security of content stored within them. So instead of an in-house IT team taking on responsibility for maintaining the security of the data, it is outsourced, and you can free up time for your IT team to do other projects.

Another benefit is that you don’t have to spend the time and money to update hardware every few years, or anytime your organization grows. This is also taken care of by whoever maintains the cloud network. Additionally, the storage capacity is more flexible in the cloud. On-premise systems usually require investment in hardware when you’re in need of more storage capacity.

So, will 2018 see the end of legacy systems

Probably not, but we are going to continue to see the cloud trend through 2018 and beyond. There will always be an organization out there who is perfectly happy with their legacy system and the costs associated with maintaining it. But if vendors want to be competitive, they will seek to provide cloud offerings for their clients, and maybe one day in the future, everything will be cloud-based.

Posted on: December 22, 2017