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How to Sunset Legacy Document Management Systems in 8 Steps

Sunsetting a legacy document management system (DMS) can feel like open-heart surgery for an organization: It’s both painful and disruptive to normal operations. But just like heart surgery, there comes a time when you just can’t put it off any longer.

Poor planning before you go “under the knife” can lead to chaos, resentment, low adoption, and more work for administrators in the long run. But with the right preparation, your organization can be healthier than ever in no time at all.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the need for replacing legacy systems and then walk you through the steps you’ll need to take when undergoing this rigorous procedure. 

Security and Functionality: Problems with Legacy Document Management Systems

Legacy DMSs like Filenet, Documentum, and Questys cause many problems for you and your stakeholders.

Outdated security features are likely the most significant concern. In some cases, your legacy solution may no longer even receive security updates. This leaves you highly vulnerable to cybersecurity threats that expose sensitive data and damage your organization’s reputation.

Plus, many older systems have only rudimentary forms, workflows, and automation capabilities. They also may not integrate with your other solutions. This means your employees spend more time on routine tasks than high-value work—leading to higher labor costs and lower job satisfaction. Reduced efficiency also means longer customer wait times.

In contrast to older DMSs, a modern Content Services Platform (CSP) such as Laserfiche does more than store content—it’s an integrated, secure solution that provides repositories, APIs, solutions, and business process tools to support your digital transformation. And upgraded security features mean you can rest easy knowing your data is secure.

How to Sunset Your Legacy Document Management System

Migrating to a CSP empowers you to optimize your document handling, increase productivity, protect sensitive information, and confidently make data-driven decisions.

Ensure the success of your migration with the proper planning, preparation, and support by following these steps.

1. Identify your organization’s needs and goals.
Consider what your organization hopes to gain with a new system. Speak with executives about their goals. In addition to security, cost considerations, and features, you’ll need to determine whether you want a cloud-based or on-premises solution.

Next, interview the legacy document management system’s end users. Of course, you’ll gather valuable data about the pain points and limitations of the current system. Another benefit is buy-in buy-in—putting users’ minds at ease about the migration and reassuring them that their needs and voices are being heard.
2. Identify a replacement system.
Next, it’s time to research CSPs that meet your identified needs. Many IT professionals use resources such as G2 and The Gartner Market Guidet to understand what real-life users think about their CSPs.

Factors you should consider include:

  • Features
  • Cloud options
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of setup
  • Cost
  • Integration capabilities
  • Security Integration capabilities
  • Scalability
Once you have a short list of potential systems, contact vendors for demos to see which meets your needs the best.
3. Map out your project phases.
With larger projects affecting multiple departments, you may need to take a multiyear, multiphase approach. When planning, consider what needs to be part of Phase 1 and what may be done in the future. A common goal for the first phase might be to be sufficiently moved out of your older system so that you can go into read-only mode (and typically stop paying for support). Later phases of the project may involve implementing forms, workflows, and other advanced capabilities. This will allow you to sunset other systems you may be using for specific business processes. For the rest of this blog post, we’ll concentrate primarily on Phase 1.
4. Determine what level of support you will need.
Steps for your HowTo Schema instructions. It can be a single step (text, document or video) or an ordered list of steps (itemList) of HowTo Step.
5. Prepare for the migration.
After choosing your CSP and securing the services of a solution provider, it’s time to prepare for the migration by:

  • Conducting the necessary training for administrators and end-users
  • Determining and configuring your document repository structure and retention schedules
  • Mapping the data from the legacy system to the new system
  • Configuring user permissions and access controls
  • Setting up 3rd party integrations
6. Test migration and User Acceptance Testing.
A test migration on a subset of your data will help you work the bugs out of your system before going live. Conduct a thorough testing of the new system’s functionality. Be sure to seek input from end users before making necessary adjustments.
7. Final migration and cutover.
Once you’ve completed the test migration and resolved issues, announce the migration plan to all your users and stakeholders. Work with your service provider (if you have one) to execute the final migration into the new system. Ensure data integrity and completeness after the migration and conduct testing and validation. Then, it’s finally time to go live!
8. Training and ongoing support.
Ensure that all of your users are adequately trained in the new system. Remember that your end-users attitudes towards the system go a long way towards adoption, so ensure that you provide them with thorough, prompt support during the transition period. Congratulations! Phase 1 is now complete. Continue working on future steps and getting user feedback to help make their jobs easier.


Factors such as outdated security features, limited functionality, and poor integration with other systems signal the need for an upgrade. Additionally, feedback from end-users about usability issues and inefficiencies can further indicate the necessity of transitioning to a modern solution.

Organizations can effectively measure the success of their migration to a new Content Services Platform (CSP) by evaluating key performance indicators (KPIs) related to productivity, security, and user satisfaction. Metrics such as reduced document retrieval times, increased workflow efficiency, and enhanced data security can indicate the positive impact of the migration. Additionally, soliciting feedback from end-users through surveys or interviews can provide valuable insights into the perceived success of the transition.

The migration process duration varies depending on the organization's size, complexity of data, and chosen CSP. Generally, migrations can take several months to a year to complete. Factors influencing the timeline include the extent of data to be migrated, customization requirements, availability of resources, and unforeseen technical challenges. Additionally, organizational readiness and stakeholder alignment can impact the speed of the migration process.

To ensure data integrity and security during the migration process, organizations should implement comprehensive measures such as encryption, data validation checks, and access controls. Prior to migration, conduct a thorough data audit to identify and prioritize sensitive information. During the migration, use secure transfer protocols and perform regular backups to mitigate the risk of data loss. Additionally, involve IT security experts to assess potential vulnerabilities and implement necessary safeguards throughout the migration journey.

You deserve a team of knowledgeable professionals to guide you through the “heart surgery” of replacing your legacy document management system.

MCCi is the world’s largest Laserfiche Solution Provider, trusted by more than 1,100 clients to partner with them in their digital transformation journey.

If you’re considering moving to a modern Content Services Platform, contact us today about how we can help make the implementation as easy as possible!