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Why enterprise companies should choose managed content services for scalability

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Author
Eric Leeson, Senior Vice President of Solution Consulting at Viewpointe

Enterprises are facing a critical juncture in how they manage their digital content. This encompasses a wide array of assets from documents and images to multimedia, with an added layer of complexity in regulated industries like banking, insurance and healthcare. The decision at hand is whether to develop an in-house system for content management or to leverage the expertise of externally managed content services. This choice is pivotal, as it significantly impacts a company’s ability to grow, adapt, and follow regulatory requirements in a swiftly evolving market.  

In this article, we explore why using managed services is a strategic advantage for organizations looking to maintain a competitive edge. Managed services not only alleviate the complexities inherent in technology management but also ensure scalability and efficiency, key drivers for sustained growth in the digital landscape.

The do-it-yourself (DIY) temptation

The idea of building your own content services system often appears attractive to enterprises for several reasons: 

Perceived cost savings: Enterprises may initially believe that building and managing their own in-house system will save on storage costs and licensing fees associated with third-party services. 

Customization and control: There’s a strong appeal in having a system tailor-made to the specific needs and workflows of the business, offering a level of control over every aspect of the content management process. 

Security concerns: Some enterprises feel safer managing sensitive data in-house, assuming it minimizes external risks. 

Realities of DIY content services

However, the DIY approach has some significant challenges that can impact both the short-term implementation and the long-term functionality. 

  • High initial costs and resource investments: The upfront investment goes beyond financial aspects. It includes time, labor, and technical resources. The costs of hiring experts, purchasing the necessary hardware and software, and dedicating time for development and testing can be substantial. 
  • Complexity of taxonomy: Creating a taxonomy that is both intuitive for its users and efficient for content retrieval and management is a nuanced task. It requires a deep understanding of how content is used across the organization and the ability to foresee future needs. 
  • Ongoing maintenance challenges: A DIY system isn’t a one-time investment. It needs continuous updates, bug fixes, and upgrades to stay relevant, efficient, and secure, requiring a dedicated team for ongoing maintenance. 
  • Document security: Protecting sensitive information is a complex undertaking, involving not just secure storage but also secure access, transfer, and backup protocols. This becomes even more challenging with the evolving nature of cyber threats. 
  • Limited scalability potential: As the company grows, its content management needs will continue to evolve. DIY systems can struggle to keep up with this growth due to limitations in the original architecture or technology, leading to potential system overloads or costly rebuilds. 
  • Retention, disposal, and audit requirements: Compliance with legal and industry standards for document retention, disposal, and auditing is a critical aspect that requires meticulous attention. DIY systems must be designed to meet these regulatory requirements, which can be complex and ever-changing, needing ongoing updates and modifications. 
  • Set of APIs: Developing and maintaining a robust set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for seamless integration with other enterprise systems and third-party tools is both technically challenging and resource intensive. Yet, this aspect is crucial for ensuring that the content services system can communicate and work effectively within the broader IT ecosystem of the enterprise. 

The pitfalls of proprietary systems

As mentioned earlier, the allure of building proprietary systems often lies in the promise of complete control and perceived cost savings. However, the reality of implementing such systems can be full of complexities and a myriad of challenges.  

For instance, proprietary systems often lack scalability, which becomes obvious when an enterprise, such as a global expanding company, struggles to handle increased volumes of data efficiently. Additionally, these systems are prone to performance bottlenecks, a situation similar to an online retailer experiencing system slowdowns during peak shopping times. 

Further complexities arise with the lengthy development timelines associated with proprietary systems. For example, a financial services institution may find its in-house system lagging in incorporating the latest regulatory changes due to slow development processes. Moreover, adapting these systems to evolving technologies can be a significant hurdle. A tech company might struggle to integrate modern artificial intelligence (AI)-based content analysis tools into an outdated proprietary system. 

Integration and compatibility issues are another issue. For instance, a healthcare provider may face difficulties integrating a new patient record system with its existing content management platform. Similarly, interoperability with third-party tools can pose challenges. 

Finally, the risks associated with security and compliance add layers of complexity, particularly in sectors like banking, where data security and regulatory compliance are crucial. Thus, while the idea of a proprietary system might seem beneficial initially, it demands a thorough evaluation of its long-term implications, especially in terms of resource allocation, expertise requirement, and the enterprise’s ability to grow and adapt in a fast-paced market.

The solution: managed content services

Definition and Benefits 

Managed content services are third-party providers, like Viewpointe, that work as a direct extension of your IT team and handle the creation, management, and delivery of digital content for enterprise companies. These services offer a suite of benefits that address many of the challenges faced by proprietary systems for a wide variety of regulated industries: 

Scalability: Managed services are designed to grow with your business. For companies in regulated sectors, such as financial services or healthcare, scalability is crucial. Managed services can effortlessly scale to accommodate increased data loads without the need for substantial in-house infrastructure changes. 

Cost-effectiveness: Instead of significant upfront investments, managed services typically offer subscriptions or consumption-based pricing, turning capital expenses into operational ones. 

Continuous updates and improvements: In industries like healthcare, where regulations and standards are constantly evolving, managed services can help to verify that systems are always up to date with the latest compliance requirements and technological advancements. 

Access to expertise: Managed services provide specialized knowledge crucial in fields like banking, where handling sensitive financial data requires adherence to strict security and privacy regulations. 

Dedicated teams of specialists: These services come with highly skilled, dedicated teams who can help make certain the system operates smoothly, allowing businesses to focus on core activities. A financial institution, for instance, can concentrate on client service and product development while the managed service handles the data management. 

Adherence to industry best practices: Managed service providers stay abreast of industry trends and standards, can help make sure clients benefit from the latest best practices. This is critical for industries such as legal or accounting, where keeping up with industry standards and practices is essential. 

Compliance with industry standards: They can verify compliance with legal and industry-specific standards, which is vital for businesses in heavily regulated industries like banking or pharmaceuticals. 

Robust security measures: Given the sensitive nature of data in fields like finance and healthcare, the advanced security protocols offered by managed services are crucial for helping to protect against data breaches and maintaining compliance with industry-specific privacy regulations. 

Overcoming resistance

Addressing concerns about managed content services 

Enterprise companies may hesitate to adopt managed content services due to concerns about losing control over their content management processes. However, modern managed services are designed to offer a high degree of customization and flexibility. They work closely with clients to understand their specific needs, ensuring solutions are tailored to fit seamlessly into existing workflows. Additionally, many providers offer robust reporting and analytics tools, enabling enterprises to maintain oversight and make data-driven decisions. This level of customization and control effectively addresses the fear of a one-size-fits-all approach and assures enterprises that their unique requirements will be met. 

Flexibility and customization in managed services 

The flexibility of managed content services is a key advantage, allowing businesses to select a service model that aligns with their desired level of involvement. From fully managed to co-managed options, enterprises can decide the extent of their direct engagement in content management.  

Providers are also equipped to tailor systems for specific content types, integrate seamlessly with other enterprise applications, and follow industry-specific regulations. This ability to customize solutions means that managed services can be adapted to any business model. 

Financial implications: Return on investment and reduced total cost of ownership 

When it comes to the financial aspect, managed content services present a compelling case through long-term return on investment (ROI) and reduced total cost of ownership. While the initial transition to a managed service requires investment, the long-term savings in infrastructure, software, and specialized IT staffing are substantial. The ROI extends beyond direct financial benefits to include improved productivity and efficiency as enterprises can then put more focus on their core business activities.  

Additionally, managed services provide access to the latest technologies and industry best practices without the need for further investment. This ongoing access to cutting-edge resources ensures that an enterprise’s content management capabilities remain efficient and competitive, emphasizing the financial and operational value of choosing managed content services. 

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Why enterprise companies should choose managed content services for scalability