An enterprise’s content is its most valuable asset, and modern enterprise content management systems are an attempt to go get beyond sterile legacy of text documents, and harness the power of database to store, manage, preserve and deliver the richer, more diverse output of digital information being dynamically created on the fly, by a mobile workforce untethered from their offices.
Popular Social media and mobility tools make it easy to generate and share content in a variety of digital and multimedia formats, and together, are responsible for doubling the amount of data each year. The continually increasing amount and variety of data to be stored is certainly one of the biggest challenges for an Enterprise Content Management system.
How does one store multimedia, streaming, webpage, software, or graphic formats? The content management technologies for storing many of these types of “unstructured” digital formats are not yet mature. If capturing and storing is a problem, then dare we ask if everything in this vast ocean of content is equally valuable and worthy of storage in an Enterprise Content Management system? If necessary, how would one screen the gems from the dross? Is there a “shelf life” to any of this content?
Mobility is a big challenge to ECM. How does IT support demand and generation of data over the wide range of platforms used by the continually evolving models of mobile smart phones and tablets being sold? What about the huge number of transactions generated? Most workers feel their productivity is enhanced by being free to access social media or other content at any time, from any place, on demand, using a preferred device. These demands and the huge number of interactions generated strain precious IT resources as well as the Enterprise Content Management system.
How does the cloud impact ECM systems? The cloud has promised to decrease enterprise IT’s footprint and costs, so it’s no surprise there are now cloud-based enterprise content management systems being offered by cloud computing companies. Security is still an issue with cloud however user education and compliance can mitigate many of the problems. The good news is that the right cloud computing companies help you handle the diversity of smart devices by allowing changes to your infrastructure to accommodate increased mobility, where they makes sense.
With cloud, there are two important ECM issues to consider. You need to clarify with your cloud computing vendor “who owns the information?” It would be a catastrophe if your administrator was locked out of your ECM and unable to access the system or if critical content became lost or difficult to retrieve. The second issue is reliability. Even top cloud computing companies like Amazon, have suffered outages. A redundancy plan and local backups of your ECM system content is vital.
At present, more than half the IT workforce works remotely at least part time, and so accessing content is now the norm. Cloud computing and social media are driving the evolution of enterprise content management systems, and will continue to, in the future, and this will increase pressure for the support of a wider range of mobile devices and collaborative decision making.
And so, while some Cloud computing companies may currently not cover every mobile consumer gadget, the problems of accommodating multiple mobile devices and platforms, and will certainly become less of an issue. Most ECM vendors now deliver some form of mobile access to their ECM solution, and those ECM vendors currently without mobile applications should be able to provide reduced functionality through a mobile web browser. Future enterprise content management system changes will depend on the disruptive innovations that may materialize for cloud and the continued evolution of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0.