4 trends reshaping traditional content management

We are all keenly aware just how much technology is changing the way we work and the way business operates. Mobile technology and cloud computing, to name just two, have revolutionised work habits and processes.

In turn, expectations around what can be done with technology have also changed. For example, people now expect to be able to work from anywhere at any time on pretty much any device they choose.

Enterprise content management systems are used by most organisations to store, move and manage information within the organisation. Sadly, however, many of the original – or legacy – ECM systems have not kept pace with changes in the way people work and the technology that underpins those changes.

>See also: 8 tips for getting the most from SharePoint

Four major trends are forcing a reshape of the entire ECM field and mandating a new approach to managing content.

1. New ways of working

Allowing employees to work anywhere, anytime and on any device puts a lot of pressure on IT teams to support a new class of connected employees, whose expectations for ease of use have been shaped by consumer web services.

Information workers want to find documents as easily as they can browse for books online. The approach to work by Millennials in particular is shaped by these expectations. Over the next five years, organisations will increasingly need a solution that will support this more dynamic working style as, according to BPW Foundation,

Millennials are projected to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2020. Currently most legacy ECM systems, which are already in failure mode due to poor user adoption, can’t keep up and lack support for inter-company sharing and remote access.

2. Emergence of the extended enterprise

Organisations are extending their value chains and engaging more deeply with external companies, such as suppliers and distributors. It’s becoming increasingly common to see product design, marketing, sales and service performed by remote contract workers and vendors that function as if they were part of the client firm.

However, this type of collaboration only works if there is controlled, two-way information flow across organisational boundaries. Legacy ECM, historically delimited by the firewall, does not serve modern enterprises that are not bound by the limits of IT infrastructure.

This approach constrains productivity and growth as mobile workers struggle with VPN issues and external partners lack the access they need to collaborate effectively. The extended enterprise requires a new approach to ECM that supports easy, controlled sharing of content and process inside and outside the organisation.

3. Massive explosion in digital content

We live in a data-centric world, where the sheer volume of information and content flooding IT systems is leaving many organisations battling to manage it. This tidal wave of content being created isn’t going to go away anytime soon – IDC is projecting a stunning 50-times growth in digital content from 2010 to 2020, with 90% of it in unstructured information such as emails, documents and video.

The rise of social media and collaboration tools has also created a new class of enterprise content that is shared with a supplier, the video of a failed piece of equipment and its geo-location data, and the photograph of a competitor’s shelf display with resulting comment thread. It’s crucial that the new generation of ECM must put content in context so that people and processes work more efficiently and effectively.

4. New IT infrastructure

Sometimes trying to change enterprise IT is like changing direction of a supertanker: it changes slowly, but it is definitely on the move. The IT in today’s businesses is being transformed by the adoption of public and private cloud, along with hybrid cloud deployments of core business systems.

In tandem, the IT department has to manage support across a variety of new mobile platforms to meet growing demand from workers. The problem for old ECM systems is that they are trapped in software architectures from an earlier, more homogenous era.

Their platforms are generally not built for cloud scale and offer only limited mobile support.  By contrast, a modern ECM system needs to support the full range of deployment options and device types.

>See also: CIOs at ECM tipping-point as cloud matures

Looking at these four simultaneous trends as a whole reveals a completely changed world for enterprise content management. New workers with new expectations are doing their jobs in new ways – while the volume of content explodes and the traditional IT architecture falls away.

Next-generation ECM systems must support the now commonplace ‘work anywhere’ norms, as well as seamless, secure collaboration with external business partners.

ECM needs to put companies in charge of their content strategy and provide flexible, hybrid deployment options to support their needs.


Sourced from John Newton, Alfresco

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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