As the work increasingly happens in Microsoft 365, many lines of business systems do create unstructured data that requires a 3rd party content management system to store documents and records. This information could be files received or sent from a CRM or ERP system, e.g. proposals, purchase orders, invoices. Many organizations have therefore purchased and maintain parallel ECM systems from vendors like Hyland, OpenText, and IBM for the purpose of providing content storage.
The Microsoft Information Governance suite (including their new Records Management solution) does a good job of managing documents and records in Microsoft 365, but can it also be used to manage files from Line of Business systems? Some of our clients have already come to this conclusion. Below is an example of how Microsoft 365 through its native and custom connector options can be used to manage information from both cloud and on-premises (hybrid) line of business systems.
Microsoft 365 data connector overview
The increasing risks related to compliance and the need for demonstrating effective information governance are key drivers for integrating business systems and other content services platforms with information managed in Microsoft 365. Following use cases are common for integrating Microsoft 365 with 3rd party line of business systems:
Files are required to be stored from the ‘line of business’ system to SharePoint Online
‘Line of business’ system generates files which are required to be managed together with files managed through business collaboration workflows managed in Microsoft 365
Integrate organizational events with retention policies to manage lifecycle of linked content managed in Microsoft 365. E.g. Employee contract termination, litigation matters, etc.
A unified search experience through a single user experience in Microsoft 365
Knowledge management portals which require unified information from a variety of sources including the ‘line of business’ systems
Legacy content stored in an archived platform is required to be governed without migrating to Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 together with Microsoft information governance suite can now meet most of the scenarios with leveraging existing connectors for known business applications and further leveraging Microsoft Graph, Project Cortex, and Power platform to build smart integration solutions. The following architecture leverages the native Microsoft 365 components to provide a unified information view on traditional and modern interfaces.
Microsoft connector architecture for unified experience
Furthermore, Microsoft connector framework is extensible, and with minimum or no-code solutions, you can integrate ‘line of business’ systems with Microsoft 365.
If you already have a legacy content management system integrated using customizations with one or more line of business systems, consider then the value of replacing it this with Microsoft 365. The cost of Microsoft E5 or E5 add-on license to better manage information in Office 365 may be covered by the cost savings of replacing legacy content management systems with SharePoint Online. Feel free to contact us if you want to discuss this in more detail.
Some other blog posts that may be of interest: