It seems worth noting the shift in market terminology from ECM to Content Services that has taken place in the last year or so. This rebranding is rooted in the idea that ECM is too limiting or no longer adequate to describe the information management and interconnectivity that is needed today. I’ve even heard industry leaders declare ECM dead—a dramatic hyperbole which I feel is misrepresenting reality. ECM, the need to manage content and information whether it is paper, digital, static or dynamic is very much alive but due to changes in how people interact with content we needed a new way to describe it – Content Services.
The nature of content has changed dramatically. It now comes from many different sources, both inside and outside of an organization, and is often maintained or even created outside of the traditional enterprise boundaries. Organizations don’t always fully control the content or access to the content, but they need to leverage that information in their workflow, understand and manage it, and provide secure corporate-appropriate use to optimize their work product.
The moniker Content Services better addresses how organizations today leverage content no longer contained on a single platform within their enterprise network. Organizations have several ECM systems and services across on premises, private and public cloud services. A good Content Services solution will embrace and integrate all of them to provide access via the necessary channels and applications. And a good Content Services solution is not prescriptive, rather it is broad and flexible enough to focus on problem solving for a specific organization’s needs and challenges.
The real measure of success for Content Services is that it connects the information we need, regardless of where it is produced or where it exists, and makes it available to solve a knowledge problem. Businesses are more global and more geographically dispersed than ever before, with employees connected from distant locations. In addition, the rise in outsourcing functions such as services and support has increased demand for shared information to be more effectively managed and delivered on demand to ensure that employees have what they need to provide outstanding customer experience and timely informed decisions.
While I agree with the points that Michael Woodbridge of Gartner offers in his blog, the reality is that ECM was never alive so it can’t be dead. John Mancini of AIIM also provides excellent contributions to the ramifications and considerations around the shift to Content Services in his article, but without enough recognition that this new trend is sitting squarely on the practices built over several decades. Ultimately, what the industry seems to agree on is that both the technology and the need are changing. Enterprises are not what they were, content is increasingly created and consumed in mobile applications, relevant corporate information lives in many different places and workers are spread all over the world. But Content Services is still largely struggling with the core concerns of ECM: security, retrieval, performance, scalability, compliance, agility and digitization.
At Viewpointe, we aren’t hung up on what the industry and its observers want to call it. We are focused on providing comprehensive elastic Content Services solutions that bring the best practices of ECM, information management and information governance to the disparate systems and sources in play in business today. Viewpointe focuses on what the customer is trying to achieve to improve their business and access to content. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” – Shakespeare