2019 - The Year of Modernization

By David Jones, Nuxeo

Enterprise content management (ECM) has been with us for almost 20 years now. In an ideal world, one could argue that this longevity has given us a deep understanding of how to manage content within an organization. The reality however is quite different.

Seventy-five percent of ECM users claim they can’t find the information they need to do their job in a timely manner. One of the main reasons is the failure of ECM to deliver on its “single version of the truth” promise. ECM systems were supposed to become the single, central hub for content within an enterprise. But we all know that never happened - and now almost all organizations have multiple repositories for content and process, let alone for data.

But let’s not paint every organization with the same brush. Some are blazing a trail which sees them taking very simple, traditional concepts and creating digital equivalents. Often, they do this to specifically address the disjointed, digital landfill that ECM systems have left them with. The use case below describes how the intelligent modernization of an aging information management architecture can be used to both strengthen compliance and drive competitive advantage.

The Data Vault

A leading global financial services institution needed to react to the challenges of new competition, increased regulation, and a desire for enhanced customer experience by taking an age-old financial concept and digitizing it.

The bank took the idea of a safety deposit box and created a digital version - a “Digital Data Vault.” The data vault would serve as a place where:

♦ Customers could access all of their bank- related information

♦ Customers could upload, store, and view their critical personal documentation such as deeds, contracts, insurance documents, etc.

♦ The bank could enhance their ability to meet regulations such as GDPR, while reducing the overall cost of compliance

To achieve these goals the bank had to overcome a number of challenges that will be familiar to many organizations.

The bank had vast amounts of information in various formats scattered across the organization in numerous systems that were difficult to access. Many of these systems contained data that was out of date, making compliance with regulations such as FATCA difficult. In this specific case, there were six legacy archives that were largely obsolete and expensive to maintain. The bank needed an architecture that could enable them to ease the transition from their antiquated legacy systems without disrupting the business.

Despite these significant challenges, the bank persevered and worked through a major technical and change management project. The project delivered a system that provides a paper-free, single point of access for all of their customer information, that:

♦ Enhances customer experience

♦ Provides a means to harvest and interrogate all customer-related content and data from one place

♦ Reduced costs by enabling the sunsetting of obsolete legacy systems

♦ Reduces time to market for new products

♦ Enhances compliance and financial crime/fraud capabilities

So how did they manage to deliver such a groundbreaking project? The key was their staunch focus on three pillars of good technical and business practice.

1. Business-Driven

Throughout the whole project the focus was on the business goals. Never did the project team deviate from why they were doing this. There were no technical egos at play, forcing particular tools or techniques into the project. The business goals were king.

2. Connected Content and Data

A core technical facet was that the vault needed to contain content and data from across the business, or more specifically, from across the legacy systems. That content and data did not necessarily need to be migrated into the new system but needed to be accessible from the new system. This subtle but important aspect enabled a gradual transition from old repositories to new and avoided the big-bang migrations of yesteryear.

3. Common Metadata

Content professionals know how valuable content is - data professionals know how important data is. But content and data typically live in separate worlds. Metadata is the marriage of the two, and the project team understood this. The value that can be gained from creating a common metadata layer to connect the two worlds is vital.


From a best practice perspective, the example cited above delivers some tremendous insight.

Many organizations rush blindly into digital transformation without ever asking what it really means for their business to transform digitally. At a minimum, an organization needs to truly understand what it is trying to achieve and how to change the way employees think about the business.

In many cases, the business change can be driven by the desire for enhanced customer experience - it is a very compelling driver in today’s world.

Collapsing the worlds of content and data into one is not for the faint of heart. But the benefits of creating a single, connected view of all of the “information” across an organization is immensely powerful - and a necessary step on the journey for any organization hoping to achieve digital transformation.

Only by having a solid information management infrastructure can an organization hope to perform against challenging and ever-changing business requirements. But, given the consequences of not adapting, of not reacting to the rapidly changing needs of the market, what choice do organizations have?

As a result, 2019 truly does look like the year of modernization.