Organizations traditionally relied on Enterprise Content Management (ECM) for their content lifecycle management. And, time and again, ECM fulfilled the promise by managing the content end-to-end, right from creation to disposition.

However, times are changing. Today, business success depends on how agile an organization is in responding to customers, catering to their needs, and thereby exceeding their expectations. This requires organizations to go beyond the centralized, monolithic approach of content management and rethink their digital content strategy.

Change Drivers of Content Management Strategy

Content plays a vital role in this changing business landscape. Businesses can drive success with access to the right information at the right time by empowering knowledge workers to drive contextual customer interactions and make smarter decisions with deeper insights. In order to leverage content efficiently, it is important for organizations to acknowledge the five key drivers that are challenging them to redefine their content management strategy:

1. Digital customers demand anytime – anywhere services

Digital customers demand instant results out of any engagement, which could be initiated anywhere, across any device and at any given time. Customers look for unified cross- channel experiences, where businesses offer flexibility to engage with them- with any content in any preferred format (message, video, image, document, form, picture, tweet, post, comment) across any mix of channels (social media, phone, chat, email, fax, postal, face-to-face) and over any device.

2. Employees expect “Boundaryless Access” to content

This approach differs drastically from the traditional organizational view of “Controlled Access” to To efficiently

service customers, the digital workforce (including employees, vendors, partners, etc.) expects mobility across multiple devices, networks & platforms and collaboration over a secure work environment. The challenge is to implement organizational content strategy around digital work style of employees while ensuring security.

3. Organizations need flexibility

Today, businesses are more exposed to business/market risk and opportunities than ever before. Organizations should be able to adapt to changes in real-time across the growing and declining business This requires enterprises to build and procure technologies that provide them elasticity to upscale or downscale, extend applications, and tap innovative strategies or technologies as and when they want. Organizations need to have scalable applications that can help them quickly embrace the changing business demands.

4. Business operations are not in silos anymore

Organizations must involve workers across different functions and processes to leverage content for planned outcomes. Various systems that are used by different teams and departments should be able to collaborate

so that there is a seamless information flow, maintaining concurrency of data updates and triggering respective actions across various team members. Employees should be able to easily collaborate with their team members so that the work gets instantly done.

5. Compliance and Governance are fundamental needs

With information access and control in the hands of users, it becomes more challenging for organizations to control and secure information without limiting the user experience. Governance and Regulatory Compliance need to be taken care of by content management technology to mitigate any business risks posed by the users.

Enterprise Content Management powered by Content Services

Considering the above drivers, businesses need to rethink their content strategy to address the current challenges and meet the future needs. Today, a digital business model comprises employees, customers and other external stakeholders. This requires enterprise content to seamlessly flow across internal and external stakeholders. ECM needs to evolve to enable digital business heads to manage, use and re-use content as per their business needs.

The answer to these evolving needs is Content Services. Content Services can be the fundamental building blocks of the next generation ECM platform. ECM platforms powered by content services can utilize a microservices architecture to create rich consumerized ECM applications.

It moves away from the monolithic, centralized approach and offers flexibility and extensive integration capabilities, enabling easy integration with third-party applications and tools.

How does an ECM platform powered by content services work?

Let’s take an example of smartphones to understand how an ECM platform powered by content services works. A smart mobile phone has several mobile apps. And, all the apps work independent of each other and can be updated without disturbing other apps or the phone itself. ECM powered by content services works on a similar concept. ECM platform utilizes content services provided by single or multiple applications, repositories, ECM tools or components. Content can be further tapped by users, apps, and other applications such as ERP by using the published content services. The platform renders flexibility to business users by doing away with the one-size-fits-all packaged ECM software approach.

A Holistic ECM Platform

To efficiently use and consume content, businesses need to leverage content services and enable organizations to build customer-centric business applications, which drive context in content throughout a customer transaction or a customer lifecycle. In order to accomplish that, an ECM platform should demonstrate all the necessary functionalities from content capture, content processing & storage, management of content- centric processes, delivery of information to archival of documents and records. And, further, all this functionality needs to be available through loosely- coupled content services that can be consumed from anywhere without losing the necessary context.

According to Gartner’s market definition, “a content services platform must provide a baseline set of common services and microservices focused on essential administrative, security and functional capabilities that support generalized CM and processing use cases”2 (as seen in the below figure). To devise the right content strategy, businesses need to identify specific business use cases and consider the operational and functional aspects of their business, thereby leveraging the right set of services from the content services platform.

Content Services Platform Baseline Services

Content Services Platform Baseline Services