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Moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be all or nothing

This blog is co-authored by Alison Clarke and Sandi Nelson.

The last thing any organization needs in 2020 is more disruption. Digital transformation, including a shift to cloud content management, is essential in the COVID-19 world of remote work. But it doesn’t have to be a rip-and-replace scenario, according to a new study by Forrester Consulting.

Recognizing that the journey to the cloud is different for every organization, OpenText™ commissioned a survey to explore the use of cloud for content storage, management, and collaboration. More than 200 decision makers in enterprise content management (ECM) from North America and EMEA participated.

The results, not surprisingly, showed that companies with cloud enterprise content management solutions see substantially greater benefits than their on-prem peers. But the study also demonstrated that a hybrid approach delivers more advantages than cloud alone in some areas.

Based on these findings, Forrester recommends that organizations take an as-needed approach to moving content to the cloud. Companies can gain the agility and flexibility of cloud content management while migrating at their own pace, maintaining some on-premises investments, and avoiding unnecessary stress and disturbance in an already uncertain environment.

“Migration doesn’t need to be a big-bang lift and shift in order for organizations to benefit from newer, modern content platforms.” – Forrester Consulting study

The benefits of a hybrid approach to content management

The survey found 64% of organizations that store all their content on-premises believe they’re at a competitive disadvantage. And they are, especially when it comes to customer satisfaction, security, usability, innovation, and collaboration.

Yet, not all organizations are ready or willing to make the leap to cloud-only content management, especially in this turbulent climate. Held back by concerns about security and the cost and complexity of migration, they’re turning instead to a hybrid approach – for good reason, according to Forrester.

Companies that take a measured, methodical hybrid approach to cloud content management cited marked advantages over those that attempt a full lift-and-shift with all the disruption and volatility that entails. Some advantages of the hybrid approach compared to a cloud only include:

  • Improved customer satisfaction (80% vs 64%)
  • Faster sales cycles (58% vs 46%)
  • Better flexibility to support cloud environments of choice (70% vs 46%)
  • Enhanced collaboration (67% vs 58%)

How to take a phased approach with hybrid architecture

The reality is that migrating at least some content to the cloud is vital to stay competitive and resilient. A gradual approach allows organizations to leverage existing investments in on-premises platforms while extending or adopting solutions where the cloud will offer the most value.

When deciding whether content should go to the cloud or stay in its original location, Forrester advises striking a balance between employee/customer requirements and governance/compliance obligations.

The rise in remote work, for example, has come with increased use of unapproved file share apps and more non-compliance risks. A hybrid tactic would be a cloud-based solution with all the advanced features employees expect and integrations to your on-premises content platforms for 100% compliance and governability.

“Assess architectures that provide integration capabilities to existing on-premises applications and seamlessly find and move relevant, current content to the new cloud platform as user need emerges.” – Forrester Consulting study

Most organizations will live in “the world of hybrid” for the foreseeable future, according to Forrester. On the inevitable path to the cloud, organizations should assess the ongoing value of on-premises content applications and look to cloud content services for new uses cases.

Download the 2020 study

Cloud content management may seem like an inevitability after the changes we’ve experienced in 2020, but the path isn’t always simple or straightforward. By taking a hybrid approach to the cloud, organizations can take big or small steps – depending on their comfort level – and still be headed in the right direction.

Download “Hybrid Cloud Enables Agile Content Management and Collaboration” for additional insights and recommendations for evolving your cloud content management strategy.

Sandi Nelson

Sandi is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at OpenText™, working on the Cloud team. She is passionate about technology marketing, and working on products that help customers drive digital transformation with cloud.
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Alison Clarke

Alison is Director, Product Marketing for OpenText Content Suite and Extended ECM. Alison and her team are passionate about helping organizations use content services technologies to distill more value from information, supporting the needs of individuals and teams to improve productivity and strengthen information governance for the organization with content services-enabled solutions.

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