Records management in OT vs O365

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​Dear all,

I am looking for well-supported arguments to convince IT that it is a bad idea to go from managing content in OpenText (CS16) to doing it O365.
In my view if we must have O365, we will still need a hybrid architecture and have governance and compliance in OpenText, for which case I would like to hear about the integration… I would like to get some idea of the effort and impact on the records managers as well as general users.

If you are aware of any case studies or research done in the are, I would be happy to hear from you. I am also hoping Lorne will catch my post as he seem to have extensive experience in both areas.
Thanks and best,

Zsuzsanna Tozser Milam

Egad, I’ve been targeted!��

Zsuzsanna, I will contribute my 2 cents, but will, in turn, encourage @Richard Molique to contribute as well.  Additionally, Zsuzsanna, if you talk to your OT account manager, they will have competitive analysis documents and information they can provide you.

I know I have said this before.  In my opinion, even with the addition of the file plan and Labels functionality in Office 365 that can do a decent job of retention, O365 does not do records management.  Even for just the content stored within it’s boundaries.  And the Labels functionality doesn’t extend beyond those boundaries.  Not yet, anyway.  Will it in the future?  Unknown.  Can OT extend it’s capabilities to manage records beyond its borders today?  Absolutely.  Can O365 (OOTB) do records lifecycle definition and management?  No.  Can OT?  Yes.  Now, IF your IT folks want to add one of the 3 leading RM/IG suites for SharePoint/Office 365 in to the conversation, then the delta becomes considerably smaller.

Not knowing what version of OT you have, nor how you have it configured and deployed, it is impossible to say how big that delta is specifically for your organization.  There are a LOT of vectors to consider.

Obviously, making that change means a migration project, plus training, change management/comms, and platform retirement for OT.  Significant costs there especially in change management and training ranging from the staff in IT that support your OT platform today through your RM resources and out to your user population that uses OT.

That said, I suspect that you will not be able to prevent your IT from deploying O365 though as there are good reasons, outside of RM considerations, to shift a lot of workloads, that are probably on-prem for your organization currently, up to the MS cloud.  And, while having both platforms seems like a reasonable compromise so that WIP content gets created and lives in O365 while records live in OT, that entails the additional burden of even more change management and training and ongoing supervision and auditing around “what to put/find where and when and how” when both systems are available to users.  Essentially, you end up trying to turn all your users into mini records managers.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?��

You can, of course, choose to use O365 services exclusively as the front end with OT providing management ‘behind the curtain’ through AGA.  However, deploying and sustaining AGA is NOT an easy task!  And, as a consultant, I would recommend that there would need to be a significant use case to justify all that extra spend and difficulty.

Hope that helps and I’m sure others will have much more to add as well.


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Thanks Lorne for you “2 cents”, what you say reinforces what I think. As you said, I don’t think we can prevent the deployment of O365, so we have to prepare and try to build in governance from the beginning. Not an easy task.

Has anybody seen/read a good comprehensive summary of the RIM issues in O365? I have read a couple, but have not yet found one detailed and strong enough to simply use as is.

Thanks and best,

Zsuzsanna Tozser Milam

Egad, I’ve been targeted!  😉

We have implemented solutions for both, implemented AGA, and migrated both ways.

But as a general response, I can’t imagine moving from a fully featured established platform like OpenText would make sense for any organization for many of the same reasons Lorne mentions.

The new E5 version is getting quite good for RM.  Specifically, we have Federal clients now engaging with O365 E5. Even so, this is nowhere near as administrator friendly as it could be…I won’t regurgitate all of those points.  However, we are doing a lot of work in both of those spaces so I pitched it up to a fellow engineer architect who knows O365 better than I and this is what he came back with…I am hoping many of you find it helpful.  Note, this was written from the perspective of helping someone trying to choose between the platforms.  @Zsuzsanna sounds like this may help you out too.

Advantages of the OpenText Stack.

  • The OpenText Content Server and Archive server has a long reputation as a top tier ECM platform. Because of this the product development is significant and encompasses almost all areas of ECM
  • By way of the products available in the OpenText stable, all areas of ECM can be addressed with an integrated solution.
  • The OpenText product is able to deal with significant volumes.
  • The Content Server system satisfies most regulatory frameworks including government and industry.
  • The OpenText platform can be installed on most cloud platforms including Azure and AWS amongst others.
  • Can be deployed with multiple DBMS technologies, preferably MS SQL or Oracle
  • Can be deployed on both Windows and Linux technology stacks
  • Recent acquisitions have given the OpenText stack significant capabilities in the eDiscovery and Auto-Classification space
  • Standard integration to major ERP systems including Oracle and SAP.


Disadvantages of the OpenText Stack.

  • A recent criticism of the stack is the licensing model, most vendors are moving towards a consumption-based model, OpenText still operates within the standard license and maintenance model.
  • For very large datasets the OpenText stack requires a high level of Database maintenance as there are a handful of tables that are used across the table for all transactions, so any Index or other database issues cause system performance problems.
  • Although the Content Server 16 release has brought about a modern “Tile” look a feel, the interface is not user-friendly.
  • As with all the “legacy” ECM platforms, a number of approaches have been developed and implemented to facilitate the movement of content from the source of creation to the ECM repository, however, there is still a need for a user to move an object from the source to the repository.

Advantages of the Office 365 technology.

  • The Office365 technology, now that the Records Management capability has been added has become a compelling offer that needs to be taken into serious consideration when looking at future ECM strategies. I believe this based on a very simple observation. All other ECM solutions require external content to be consciously moved into the system and at this point, the ECM platform takes over. With the Office 365 solution, content is placed under ECM control from the minute it is created, because the content is being created within the ECM framework of Office 365.
  • User adoption of ECM systems have always been an issue, and in most cases very difficult to navigate, with the Office 365 solution, the user in most cases is totally unaware of the RM functions being applied to the content that they are creating.
  • Secondly, and equally compelling advantage that O365 has over its competitors in the ECM world is the ability to apply the governance standards relating to PII, financial data flow and other critical compliance requirements. Most ECM solutions will alert administrators to the ingestion of content at adheres to specific compliance requirements, O365 goes a step further it will alert and based on rules block the movement of data identified, so, not only will it alert designated people of the defined data being put into the system, it will notify these designated people of that data being accessed, moved, emailed copied or being deleted.
  • Finally, legacy ECM systems are part of the content management universe of an organization, the Office 365 solution makes content the center of the content management universe. Because of the overall Office 365 design, the content stored within the system becomes the central point of effort for all the user productivity tools in the stack, so Social media (Yammer), Instant Messaging (Teams), email (Outlook), workflow (Flow) Organizational file plan (SharePoint and OneDrive) etc are all content-centric.
  • The final benefit to highlight over all the other ECM solutions is the licensing model, pay per user per month, and most of the tools are available with the entry-level license plan.

Disadvantages of O365

  • DoD 1550 compliance is still not available.
  • Strict management policies need to be implemented to manage the growth of SharePoint, it has the ability of becoming quite unruly very quickly.
  • Functionally is still far behind the other major ECM providers, however every release of the product brings it slightly closer to them.


Richard Molique
ECM Consultant
IQ Business Group, Inc.


Fair to assume my royalty payment is being processed currently? LOL!��

I agree with all the points presented except 1:

“Although the Content Server 16 release has brought about a modern “Tile” look a feel, the interface is not user-friendly”.  The Suite 16 ‘simple’ or ‘role-based’ UI can be something verging on a thing of beauty.  And is, without a doubt, a sea-change from the UI of old.

That said, this brings up one potential major disadvantage not mentioned; in order to use the role-based UI, the organization has to have roles defined.  Not job descriptions, roles.  In many organizations ( I would hazard to say most), this is an area of activity for HR.  And, in most organizations of 1K+ staff, it is a significant undertaking.  And if your HR department hasn’t already done this, or isn’t finished/ready yet, that means that in order to use CS16, you have to either:

  1. Kludge together a “non-approved” set of quasi-roles and perhaps risk the ire of the HR department
  2. Use the old UI which was practically the poster-child for unfriendly

I would like to mention again though, in terms of the current immaturity and limitations of the O365 RM capabilities, those can almost all be heavily mitigated through adding in 1 of the 3 leading addon solutions for that.



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