Wednesday, 15 March 2017 17:02

The evolution of enterprise content management


At the Australian Local Government Association, national general assembly, Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher gave a speech supporting the need for innovation to drive Australia’s future success.

The bulk of his remarks highlighted recent requirements to move from paper-based government services to online and digitally-based government services. He said that there was a stunning difference in digital versus traditional service delivery costs.

Enterprise content management (ECM) underpins the digital transformation Fletcher wants, but there is a lot of confusion in the market over file/folder-based systems versus content insight, cloud security and privacy.

iTWire sat down with Nicholas Delaveris, Australia and New Zealand alliances and partner director at M-Files, to discuss key changes in ECM and how businesses can prepare.

The evolution of enterprise content management: it’s content management, but not as you know it

M Files Nicholas DelaverisEvolving trends in technology have seen businesses go from managing content in file folders to implementing expensive, monolithic enterprise content management (ECM) systems. In the quest for increased efficiencies, businesses have often stacked ECM systems on top of each other, creating a complex warren of information.

Q. Do businesses need a single repository to simplify their approach to content management?

No, the dream of a single repository is dead and most organisations will have multiple systems and repositories in place for a long time to come. It is important to re-think the role of ECM so that it helps organisations and end-users deal with this reality instead of fighting it at great expense. In fact, a single repository is unlikely to serve anyone particularly well.

Q. What do businesses need when it comes to enterprise content management?

Many organisations still depend on network folders and are unable to provide mobile access to content. Organisations need to make it easier for users to get the information they need when they need it. Consequently, ECM systems need to be simple, functional and easy to use, from anywhere and at any time. The role of ECM is to bring people and content together regardless of the systems in use.

Organisations need to find an ECM solution that leverages their investments in existing systems instead of adding more complexity and expense.

Q. What challenges are businesses facing when it comes to managing content?

The Privacy Act and increased security awareness mean most users want to treat data and content responsibly, but risks related to information breaches and non-compliance are everywhere. IT has been consumerised, which means users want simpler tools for accessing and managing information. This has resulted in a rise in the use of unauthorised cloud-based systems in the workplace, such as Dropbox, putting organisations at risk for security breaches and non-compliance with the Privacy Act.

Businesses need to choose tools that strike the right balance between control and ease of use. This will reduce the risk of employees using shadow IT solutions to store and access their documents.

Q. Does that mean businesses shouldn’t store content in the cloud?

Individuals have become comfortable with cloud-based technology but some organisations remain wary, usually because of security concerns. In fact, the degree of security provisions and controls implemented by cloud providers are likely to surpass anything a single organisation could implement.

Businesses don’t have to put everything in the cloud, to begin with. They can take a hybrid approach and continue to leverage on-premise solutions so that information is stored according to operational needs or compliance requirements.

Q. How is ECM changing from content storage?

ECM is evolving from content storage to content insight. The value of an ECM solution lies in its ability to extract insight and intelligence from content, as well as its ability to provide easy access to information when workers need it. More intelligent ECM can deliver smarter search functionality and relevant content, even automating key tasks.

To be effective, ECM systems must be based on what the content is, rather than where it’s stored. This requires a metadata-driven approach. When information is not tethered to a specific location, it can be accessed and synced between various systems and devices with no duplication. Metadata-driven ECM eliminates information silos and breaks down barriers between employees and their information.

Importantly, a metadata-driven ECM solution can sit on top of an organisation’s current, stacked ECM systems, delivering a single point of access for all the information without requiring significant investment or resources to migrate the content. This takes ECM from being a simple business system to acting as a layer that connects other critical business systems and lets organisations leverage the value of their existing repositories.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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