By Max Kelleher – Head of Operations, Generis
“ECM is now dead,” wrote Gartner analyst Michael Woodbridge at the beginning of last year, proclaiming the “birth of content services”. Essentially, Woodbridge argued that centralized ECMs were no longer fit for purpose and a new age of Content Services – amalgamating platforms, components and applications – had been ushered in.
The Changing Tide
“The most common realization of the strategy formerly known as ECM was to provide a centralized enterprise (the E in ECM) wide platform that could meet one or all of the following primary goals associated with the utilization of “content”:
– Regulatory compliance and risk management
– Retention and dissemination of business knowledge
– Cost and process efficiencies
– Innovation and new ways of working”
(Source: Gartner ‘The Death of ECM and Birth of Content Services’: Michael Woodbridge, 2018)
While ECMs attempted to achieve this by centralizing information and content storage, this ultimately compromised on business functionality.
The rise in powerful APIs has since made seamless integrations with content management software possible. Data and documents can now be un-siloed through an end-to-end business platform which allows users to access the right data, precisely when they need it. Increased visibility also helps to connect knowledge leaders to everyone in the organisation. Rather than having expertise locked in the minds of individuals, their best practice can be shared and capitalised upon by the whole workforce.
With the help of AI, this “rebirth” of ECM will see organizations shift from one-size-fits-all solutions to a new frontier of individualized working, accounting for each employee’s unique work patterns. In other words, Content Services can actually deliver what ECM originally promised.
The CARA platform is an intuitive content interface emblematic of the shift towards Content Services. Put simply, it is a transformative tool allowing users to access their work from one place, regardless of the source of the application.
Unlike a traditional ECM, the CARA platform tackles information silos and data inconsistency through seamless integration, unifying and aggregating data and content in one user interface to make finding what you need easy and fast. Ultimately, by reducing the number of sequential steps users need to take to complete their work, CARA frees up time for the user, allowing them to be more productive. When a user has to work in multiple siloed applications around their ECM, the opportunity to build connections, draw conclusions, and collaborate effectively disappears; managing the location of content and information becomes a full-time task.
CARA is completely unique from the point of view of its “Family of Apps” integration too, with many in the market space still scrambling for control of the old centralized model. The core advantage of this is that in comparison to a traditional ECM, the Family of Apps is not overly reliant on any of its components. When one is no longer fit for purpose, it can simply be replaced; in the old model, extreme investments and data migrations result in a single point of failure, bringing the whole solution down as a result.
Essentially, a Family of Apps around the CARA Platform achieves an elimination of silos between regulated applications which provides a more vendor-neutral future, enabling customers to work across whichever applications they choose without compromising on productivity, access to content, or expert functionality.
AI in Content Services
AI equally has a huge role to play in the future of Content Services. It will improve functional efficiency by:
– Providing trend analysis, which will reduce spending on in-house analysts.
– Leveraging cross-organizational knowledge to eliminate data silos.
– Unlocking historical data, providing fresh insights from previously unobtainable resources.
The true power of cross-organisational insight using AI can never be fully realised in a landscape of siloed, single-vendor solutions with minimal integration abilities. However, by harnessing the power of Deep Learning, our intelligent end-to-end content services platform facilitates the creation of an expert regulated landscape, extracting insight and value from regulated and even non-regulated content.
CARA allows companies to re-focus their efforts on running their business, rather than running an additional IT company with perpetual, recurring problems. But I don’t believe this should come at the cost of expert functionality and at the retail price of a small town; leveraging the CARA Content Services Platform to drive insight and productivity across an expert Family of Apps will reduce unnecessary overheads, improving efficiency and achieve what Enterprise Content Management initially set out to do.