Modernizing Legacy Systems via the Cloud

Posted by David Jones, Guest Blogger, AODocs, - Sep 21, 2020

Organizations can face challenges with information management systems. Dated technology stacks, built on-premises in expensive data centers, with little positive user-experience cause huge problems from technical and staffing perspectives.

In our previous guest blog for Onix, we examined the challenges surrounding legacy systems and touched upon the fact that the solution to these stumbling blocks for many is to look to the cloud. Now, we’re going to dive into what that means.

Don’t Repave the Cowpath

While it is clear that incumbent legacy solutions are no longer up to the task, organizations still need to find secure, easy-to-use, compliant alternatives. There are two approaches to this replacement conversation:

One approach is to look for a direct replacement, something that performs in the same way as the old system but is more modern, perhaps mobile and cloud-based, with a flexible pricing model.

Beware with this approach. Many “cloud” versions of existing legacy solutions use what I call “fake cloud.”

lightbulb cloudsModern cloud-based solutions are built for the cloud. They make use of the latest software development tools and techniques to get the best out of the new environment. Fake cloud solutions simply take an on-premises application and put it into a container that allows it to run on a cloud server.

This is NOT “true cloud.” It simply moves an old application off of your server and puts it onto someone else’s server in the cloud. Yes, you will get cost savings, but overall, the approach misses the point for me. It simply “repaves the cowpath,” and doesn’t deliver real long term benefit.

A second approach provides more value. This method sees the organization take the opportunity to rethink the way in which it operates, the way in which technology can fundamentally redesign processes, supply chains, and every part of the business.

In doing this, organizations quickly realize that the only way to power that agile, dynamic, modern environment is via the cloud.

Balance, Not Symmetry

However, this does not have to be an all or nothing approach. Leaving legacy systems in the background but connecting them to a cloud-based, collaborative user interface offers a perfect bridge to the future.

Leaving legacy systems in the background but connecting them to a cloud-based, collaborative user interface offers a perfect bridge to the future, says @AODocs via @OnixNetworking 

At AODocs, we see several examples of this approach as organizations move to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and G Suite. Many will continue to operate legacy systems on-premise but connect them to newly built applications using a Content Services Platform such as AODocs.

Let’s focus on a specific example — quality management. Controlling quality within an organization, whether a life sciences organization or a manufacturing plant, is much more than just the quality of the finished product.

quality managementQuality management is also about the processes put in place to manage overall quality and the quality management of those processes themselves. For example, quality management certifications such as ISO 9001 involve extensive audits of internal documentation processes for example.

In the (not so) distant past, this was a manual paper process, and many took a massive step forward with the digitization of that process using document management systems.

It was progress but, as mentioned above, it also was really a case of simply digitizing what was there before, good or bad.

At AODocs however, we see this as an opportunity to rethink the process.

Consider the management of policies or procedures documentation. In the paper process, only one person could make changes to these documents, because they were paper. In the document management version this changed, right?

Well, no, in most cases it did not. The legacy document management systems work in silos, isolating users from each other very much in the same way as the old paper process did.

document managementAODocs' approach is radically different. By leveraging the collaborative editing features of Google Drive, AODocs allows the policies and procedures team to work together when they create or update their documents, while at the same time controlling the life cycle of these documents.

As such, the policies-and-procedures team benefits from the user-friendly G Suite collaborative environment and AODocs ensures that these same documents are properly locked against further modification when they are published.

Strict version control is enforced and auditable in compliance with ISO 9001, GxP and FDA regulations (for companies in the Life Sciences and other regulated industries).

Are You with Us?

Everyone knows that change is difficult. Moving to a new cloud-based system from your legacy application is no different. But to counter that change I want to make two simple arguments:

  1. Are you really happy with your current systems, and do they make your job as easy as possible?
  2. Do you really think your competitors are not exploring the exact changes I am proposing?

If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, then good luck. I would argue that you are either delusional or simply lying to yourself.

If, hopefully, you answered “no,” then come with AODocs and let’s start exploring what the system of tomorrow — scratch that, today — looks like and, more importantly, how you can drive the future success of your organization by breaking the chains of legacy right now.

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Meet the Author

David Jones, Guest Blogger, AODocs

David Jones, Guest Blogger, AODocs

David Jones is an information management professional with more than 20 years’ experience. As VP of Marketing at AODocs, David develops the global go-to-market strategy and execution plan for AODocs modern, intelligent Content Services Platform. David was formerly a VP of Marketing with Nuxeo, and has held leadership roles with AIIM, Konica Minolta and Hyland. David is Vice Chairman and an elected member of the AIIM Board of Directors.

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