Internet Debate: Box, Dropbox not a real ECM

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I was very upset to read following tweet from @Contentverse:

The tweet is basically related to this article, again published on Contentverse Blog, which claims that the Box and Dropbox are not document management system. Go ahead and click here and read the article first before proceeding further.

The views expressed in this article are very much anti cloud. Chris Walker (@chris_p_walker) wrote an excellent reply to this post. Click here to read his reply, it’s an interesting read.

ECM being shredded by cloud storage by ThinkstockECM being shredded by cloud storage Credit: Thinkstock [4]

As per a recent article on CIO.com, companies are opting for smaller, more specialized and customized solutions as opposed to bigger, more well-known brands. This is partially the result of digital disruption; business is moving faster than ever and competitors are cropping up where companies least expected them. You need to be able to move quickly and move according to the specs your organization needs, not the specs that an enterprise giant assigns to most of its customers. ECM isn’t dying at all. It’s living a renewed life of specialization and customization.

Is the future of ECM software in the cloud?

SearchContentManagement did a two part series on future of ECM in Cloud, you ca read it here (part 1 and part 2). As per this article it’s clear that despite many challenges, growing adoption suggests that ECM in the cloud has a future, many vendors have already started to offer hybrid model.

 

Dropbox’s Exodus from the Cloud

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Moving to cloud has been the talk of the boardrooms for a long time. Many startups have launched their products using different cloud providers and few have been moving on an off cloud. One example I particularly remember is when when San Francisco based social gaming company Zynga reached its own hyper growth phase, the company moved off of the cloud and into its own data centers. But then its business imploded, and it was left with infrastructure it didn’t really need. It’s now back on Amazon. (Read full story here)

While the companies are busy planning their migrations to cloud, but at the same time we should plan for the moving between the clouds, to avoid vendor lock.

Data migration is a particular problem because a cloud storage service is often seen as the ultimate data archive and the capacities an organization will try to transfer can be very large — petabytes instead of terabytes. Migrating large data sets is always a challenge, but public clouds have the additional issues of limited bandwidth and potential download fees.

Wired magazine recently published the story on Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud, following is an extract:

“Just getting the bits out of Amazon and into other data centers was an epic task. Digitally moving petabytes of data from one machine to another isn’t exactly on the same scale as downloading a few songs for your laptop. Even the fattest Internet pipes only have so much bandwidth.”

Read full story here: The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud Empire via WIRED

Moving those bytes around is a huge task. Even small and middle size companies will have to face this challenge in due time.

Are you prepared?

 

Need for MobileUI in ECM Systems

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Recently I faced an interesting problem therefore thought to share it here, our ECM system is the single source of truth for standards and policy related documents. Also it’s easy to share the link of the document rather than attaching the whole document while sharing information.

Since most of the users check their emails using mobile devices, therefore now they are facing a new issue. Whenever they try to opens a document link shared using email, it tries to open the document in mobile browser using the same layout as if it was being opened on a desktop. This makes it very hard to open and edit the documents.

This issue has created a demand for a mobile compatible interface for our ECM system so that they can at least browse and read content using mobile devices.

It’s interesting to see, how just moving one application (emails) to mobiles, has created a demand for mobile compatible version of another system (ECM).

Most of the ECM technologies needs add on modules (with extra licensing cost) to support mobile devices. Or a mobile app needs to be developed using SOAP or RESTfull APIs.

We are using one of the product from Leaders Quadrant of Gartner Magic Quadrant for ECM and we have two options 1) either pay to buy a new product for mobile compatibility or 2) develop our own app using APIs.

This is one of the areas where new vendors like Box.net have an advantage over established players, as it is built for cloud and mobile. It works smoothly on all kind of devices (desktop, tablet and mobiles) without any need of customization or add-on software.

A piece of advice to ECM vendors, don’t just design a system which works on desktops only, design a adoptive UI so that default it can be accessed from any kind of devices.

Everyone is talking about Documentum

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The news of Dell buying EMC has started a discussion in ECM world about the future of Documentum. But before I jump into this discussion following is the most exciting news I read about EMC-ECD(house of Documentum) has been doing this year:

Earlier this year, EMC announced it is replacing Documentum with a set of cloud-based modular apps that can be consumed at will, and due to be launched by the end of 2015, under its Project Horizon program.

The new platform is not just Documentum in the cloud, it’s an entirely new platform and apps marketplace for content management.

Following are some the blogs where experts have been discussing about it:

The general consensus is to wait and watch as more details about the deal is disclosed.

Analysts noted that Documentum, formerly less than 3% of EMC’s revenue, will be an even smaller portion of the Dell/EMC combined company’s revenue.

After reading all of these blogs, overall Dell+EMC deal looks great and promising and if you are focused exclusively on unstructured content, ECM or information governance the future looks cloudy. But if Dell may want to sell Documentum after buying EMC, I can’t see any real buyer. HP, IBM, SAP, Oracle already have setup their ECM shops.

SaaS ECM: Managing Content in the Cloud

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As per a report from global research firm TechNavio, on-premise enterprise content management systems currently hold a 90.73 percent share of the global ECM market, that number will fall as SaaS-based systems continue to grow. The study shows SaaS-based systems can expect to see a 31.11 percent compound annual growth rate by 2018. 

Faisal Ghaus, Vice President of TechNavio research, explains the appeal of SaaS-based ECMs. “[They provide] all the benefits of on-premise ECM systems in a trouble-free environment so that customers can focus on their core business activities while achieving a significant reduction in the total cost of ownership,”

The number of vendors with solutions in the cloud ECM space is growing. Cloud ECM vendors include Alfresco, Nuxeo, SpringCM, OpenText and EMC.

True, SaaS-based systems do put the responsibility of backup, maintenance and so on squarely on the shoulders of the provider. In some instances companies can also realize a substantial decrease in IT costs as well as access to stronger disaster recovery measures than with on-premises options. Some reasons why Cloud ECM is so attractive compared to On-Premise ECM solutions include:

  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • IT Consolidation
  • Robust Computing Architecture
  • Increase Productivity
  • Adaptability and Scalability
  • Transformation
  • Manage Risk
  • Automate Business Process

That said, SaaS ECMs don’t really make the environment “trouble-free.”  They’re still vulnerable to security breaches, system failures and a host of other issues.

An AIIM study released last year revealed that although some IT pros are willing to move some ECM components to the cloud, a full 50 percent of respondents said they are “unlikely to ever put content applications in the cloud, mostly for governance and security reasons.” Records management seems to be one place where IT departments are willing to bend, however. According to the study, “47% would consider it and 14% are already doing it.”

For more:

– download the AIIM report

– view TechNavio’s blog post