As mentioned in multiple posts, TSG has many clients stuck on Legacy ECM tools like FileNet, Documentum and OpenText. While most of the posts here are focused on how to migrate to a modern ECM environment sometimes the burden of moving all of the documents and interfaces can be too daunting. For this post, we will discuss how one client was able to add a modern interface (the TSG OpenContent Compliance Solution) to a Legacy FileNet system.
TSG OpenContent Compliance Solution – Why was it Chosen?
For the client, a nuclear utility, the OpenContent Compliance solution offered the following benefits over the current systems and other document compliance solutions.
- Multiple Nuclear Clients – A core part of the solution was the ability to handle change control for SOP compliance. The main compliance user saw the Nuclear change control process in the TSG Learning Zone and initiated discussions with TSG. Dynamic Form and Workflow were key requirements seen in the demo that were lacking in the other alternatives.
- Modern Interface – Rather than client server or other old interfaces, the compliance solution offered a modern web based interface that easily depicted the change process and package. OpenContent Search, Case, Forms and OpenAnnotate were all part of the desired new approach.
- Services Partner – The TSG compliance solution comes along with Technology Services Group, to configure and enhance the product. With the legacy FileNet environment, the client was having a difficult time finding both a viable solution and the services team to implement the solution.
Initial Approach – Can you move it to FileNet?
The OpenContent Suite approach is depicted below.
OpenContent currently supports ECM repositories including Alfresoc, Documentum, Hadoop and a light version with Solr/Lucene. In initial discussions with the client, the client requested that the entire suite be moved to FileNet. In discussions with the client, it was determined that the move to FileNet was problematic for a variety of reasons including:
- Amount of Effort – Accessing FileNet for all services required for OpenContent (see OpenContent JavaDoc) would be a large and time consuming effort. The client did not have the funding to pursue such a major effort.
- Ability of TSG to maintain the solution – The client would be the only user of the FileNet OpenContent service and wouldn’t benefit from other client’s improvements to the base platform.
- Strategic Direction – TSG was not interested in diverting consultants from modern ECM platforms to work extensively on FileNet due to our own observation on how many clients were moving away from the FileNet platform.
Hybrid Approach – FileNet for Major Versions – Hadoop for Minor and Approval
The team finalized on the approach depicted below:
The approach provided the best of both worlds.
- Released/Approved documents would remain in FileNet without any change to existing access or integrations.
- When a change was initiated, the current document would be copied to a minor version in Hadoop (and locked in FileNet).
- The “out of the box” TSG products for the Compliance solution provide dynamic form and workflow review and approval with minimal changes.
- Once a document is approved, it is copied back into FileNet as a Major approved version.
With the approach above, the client was able to preserve their existing FileNet investment while rolling out a new interface and capabilities. Since Hadoop, Activiti and the TSG Compliance Solution were available at minimal costs, the client did not need to purchase a complete ECM replacement.
Clients on legacy ECM tools like FileNet would benefit from considering modern interfaces but a light integration approach. For one FileNet client, the ability to stage documents in Hadoop allowed them to extend the life of their existing ECM system while getting the benefits of a modern interface and ECM system.