Selecting an Enterprise Archive Solution

By Richard Medina posted 04-27-2013 14:51


In What Should You Do with Your Legacy Archiving System?, I offered a simple procedure for helping you decide what to do with your archiving systems. In this post I provide a quick overview of the three general solution options you have for archiving:

  • Option 1: a High-Volume Document Archive Solution
  • Option 2: an ECM-Based Solution
  • Option 3: a Hosted Solution

Let’s say an “archive” is a system that:

  • Securely stores primarily customer documentation
  • Retains the documents as long as needed
  • Purges documents when they are no longer needed for legal, compliance, or business purposes
  • Provides authorized users (both internal and external) with access to the documents for various purposes (e.g. for business processes, customer service, customer or agent self-service, and discovery)

The types of documents in scope for this kind of archive are primarily system-generated output (e.g. statements, EOBs, correspondence), and sometimes also include images and e-communications. The scope should not include unstructured “dynamic” documents such as Microsoft Office documents that require version control or collaboration capabilities. (But you’d be surprised what some folks put in archives.) The scope also does not include structured data such as information in line-of-business applications or databases. The following figure depicts the primary, secondary, and out-of scope types of documents (shown as green, yellow, and red, respectively).

There are three general options for the kinds of solutions you can use for this kind of archiving. You can go with a high-volume document archive solution, an ECM-based solution, or a hosted solution.



  • These are solutions that are purpose-built for archiving high volumes of system-generated output (traditionally print output). They provide print stream ingestion, scalable repositories, multichannel output delivery and print management, with support for a broad range of platforms.

Example Vendors

  • ASG (ASG-ViewDirect Suite, formerly Mobius ViewDirect)
  • AXS-ONE (Central Archive)
  • BMC (Control-D)
  • IBM (Content Manager OnDemand)
  • RSD (Folders, EOS)
  • Systemware (Content Server)

Typical Benefits of this Option

Typical Drawbacks of this Option

  • Significant vendor risk and product risk associated with many of the players in this market segment; most of the specialists in this space have spread their focus to email archiving, records management, e-discovery, and even broad ECM
  • Few in this category can provide the required fast access to high document volumes (except for IBM and ASG)
  • Few in this category provide adequately granular records management for retention and disposition



  • These vendors include archive as an add-on component of their suites that manage a broad range of content types including scanned images, “dynamic” documents that need capabilities such as version control and revision history, and web content. Some solutions use a separate repository, while others integrate with their core repositories.

Example Vendors

  • DocFinity (COLD/ERM)
  • EMC (Documentum Archive Services for Reports)
  • FileNet (IS and P8)
  • Hyland Software (OnBase)
  • Open Text (Open Text Report and Output Management)
  • Oracle (Oracle WebCenter, UCM)

Typical Benefits of this Option

  • Many organizations already have some of these solutions in use for archiving
  • Leading vendors in this space are relatively stable
  • Products in this space provide the best records management capabilities out-of-box (e.g. regulatory compliance, retention, disposition, hold) with most successful deployments
  • ECM suite candidates typically provide better indexing and search than candidates in the other two categories

Typical Drawbacks of this Option

  • ECM solutions are not optimized for high-volume output ingestion, archive, and e-presentment
  • Expect challenges with scalability for output archiving
  • Major product risk for most in this category (archive is non-core)
  • Some solutions require the overhead of an ECM suite foundation in addition to the specific archive module and a (usually separate) records management module for retention and disposition
  • Some candidates entail bringing a new ECM vendor into the organization



  • These are hosted solutions for archiving and presenting high volumes of documents, under a subscription-based model that may include charges based for volumes stored, numbers of users, retrieval volumes, etc.

Example Vendors

  • Diversified
  • DocuLynx (DocHarbor)
  • HP Autonomy
  • Merrill
  • Pitney Bowes
  • RR Donnelly
  • SourceHOV
  • Unisys
  • Wipro
  • Xerox/ACS

Typical Benefits of this Option

  • Lower up-front costs than on-premises software
  • Potential savings over on-premises approaches (money, infrastructure, and resources)
  • Growing, consolidating market segment

Typical Drawbacks of this Option

  • Information security concerns
  • Many of the candidates cannot meet high scalability needs and are not focused on customer communication output, but rather on hosting broad ECM, or captured images, or email
  • Many cannot meet records management requirements
  • Many cannot meet fast accessibility requirements
  • For most, a hosted archive is just one of many services they offer, often inherited through acquisitions and not well integrated


#enterprisereportmanagement #COLD #mainframeoutput #ElectronicRecordsManagement #ERM #IDARS