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Alfresco Blog

Justifying the need to modernize and go cloud-native

Date: September 20, 2021
Author: Sean Baird
Category:Digital Transformation

Why it makes sense to migrate from IBM FileNet to Alfresco

In a recent conversation with a former colleague that works for an IBM partner, we joked that once you’re a FileNet Certified Professional, you’re always a FileNet Certified Professional. But then, our conversation moved towards IBM FileNet Content Manager (also known as FileNet P8).

IBM ended support for version 5.2 on April 30, 2019, leaving the only currently supported IBM FileNet version being version 5.5.x:

FileNet Table

What options do these customers have?

For customers that are on an unsupported version, there are a few options, including:

  1. Upgrade to v5.5.x: this might be the obvious choice, but many IBM FileNet customers have expressed frustration with FileNet’s complex, risky and expensive updates.
  2. Stay on an unsupported version: this should not be a real option for a business-critical application. And if it is not business critical, you might question why the customer is using a heavy-weight product like FileNet.
  3. Pay for extended support: customers can extend support up to 3 years after the official end-of-service date, but these extensions tend to be very expensive and without much value beyond basic support.
  4. Migrate to another platform: while many customers realize that there are more modern ECM and content services platform options, the perceived risks of a migration can hold them back.

Unfortunately, many affected organizations continue to choose option 3, but is that a sensible long-term solution? Not surprisingly, we strongly recommend that these organizations consider option 4 – and we believe there are important technical and business reasons to do so.

eBook: Five Drivers for Modernizing ECM

Why it makes sense to migrate from IBM FileNet to Alfresco

A strong history, but what about the future?

When it was acquired by IBM for c.$1.6b in 2006, FileNet was the leading ECM platform. It was strong in verticals including Banking and Insurance, the best scaling product on the market, and it offered a complete platform. But that was 15 years ago – a very long time in the software business!

Over the past five years, the pace of new releases and new innovation has slowed, and customers are questioning IBM’s long-term commitment to FileNet and content services. By comparison,

Alfresco offers a modern platform with frequent new releases and new innovation – plus Alfresco embraces its vibrant open-source community that also delivers ongoing innovation.

Developers want to be free to create - not locked in

As the IT landscape becomes more complex, and integrations and extensions into other business applications become a common requirement, development needs to be agile and leverage low-code tools just to keep up. Can a legacy system fulfil that?

Alfresco’s modern platform is based on an open architecture that allows developers to easily customize and integrate into other business applications. Customers consider our agility and rapid time-to-value as Alfresco’s unique differentiator, with agility being their most important requirement in today’s hyper-competitive market.

With applications shifting to the cloud, the cloud strategy of an ECM vendor in that realm is an important consideration for every enterprise. Assuming that IBM continues the practice of requiring their proprietary cloud, does it really make sense for an organization’s cloud strategy be restricted to a single vendor’s cloud? Or should customers have the freedom to deploy their preferred content services platform on their preferred cloud vendor?

Alfresco’s cloud-native architecture takes full advantage of leading cloud providers including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Demystifying Migration

Of course, migration comes with its own risks and concerns. But is it really more difficult, costly or risky than some of the other options? Let’s start by asking a few potentially provocative questions:

  • What is the risk to your organization of doing nothing?

  • What was the effort required for your last major IBM FileNet upgrade?

  • How risky was that process?

  • How much did it cost you?

If you find your organization is in a risky ‘do-nothing’ position, or your last upgrade was more costly and painful than you’d care to remember, then you should consider Alfresco. Alfresco has a proven methodology of combining experienced partners with the capability to migrate customers at low risk. So far, hundreds of organizations have migrated from major legacy systems to Alfresco. Below, you’ll find some of these customers’ stories:

Walk before you run

While some of our customers migrated their complete content from IBM FileNet to Alfresco, others started smaller, using Alfresco to implement a new project – even a proof of concept – to make sure that Alfresco meets your expectations.

And if you want to start even smaller, you can try out our modern platform right now — check out the free trial.

Finding the right motivation

The cost of maintaining a FileNet solution shouldn’t be the only motivation to migrate from IBM FileNet to Alfresco; customers that have adopted Alfresco point out the the organizational benefits of increased agility, faster time-to-value, and having access to a modern, innovative cloud-native platform. This means that your organization is more agile, able to take advantage of changing market conditions more quickly. The reduced cost is another nice bonus.

If you want to learn more about this topic or have specific questions, we recommend the following eBook: Five drivers for modernizing ECM. You’ll learn why forward-leaning organizations are embracing cloud-native content services platforms, and how these implementations deliver new and increased value.

Let us know your thoughts below.


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