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What Constitutes a MODERN Content Management System?

A young man working at a computer

Traditional content and document management systems have been around for two decades. As is the case in many other areas, the achievements of these past systems influence our expectations as we think about where content management is going.

Enterprise Content Management, or ECM, initially focused on automating content-intensive, complicated, integral processes.  The solutions were somewhat difficult to use and required lots of training. It really didn’t matter because the people who used these systems were records specialists, not average knowledge workers. The solutions were complex, custom and expensive, but that didn’t matter so much because of the mission-critical process problems these systems solved.

The vast success of ECM technologies – in automating large-scale and strategic processes like new drug applications and managing insurance policies and processing checks – casts a long shadow, one that we’re only beginning to escape. That shadow is a tendency to define every on a large scale. It assumes that every user will be as diligent about managing content and information as a records manager.  And that every user is sitting in a conventional office, working on a desktop.

The reality is that the technology landscape has changed profoundly over the past decade, driven by radical innovations that originated in the consumer realm, and fueled by the computing expectations of millennials.

So what does modern content management look like? What does the new generation of content management users expect from their systems? 

Here are six expectations I hear from users:

  1. Our solutions must meet the “consumer” test – they must be as easy to learn and use as those in our everyday lives and work seamlessly on every device and in every location.
  2. We want solutions with a clear cloud strategy – even if we say we’re not ready for cloud right now.
  3. We need help in cost-effectively complying with growing industry- and country-specific privacy and regulatory requirements and automating these high-risk processes.
  4. We need to do more than just capture documents; we need to ingest information of all sorts and turn it into data to drive processes.
  5. We want to be able to deploy new applications quickly with a minimum of customization.
  6. We want to do away with the “two screen” phenomenon, and easily integrate content into our core business applications.
That’s what a modern enterprise content management system should deliver.

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