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The March to Cloud Content Management – Resistance to Cloud Solutions is Futile


cloud-content-management-874867-edited.jpgBack around 2009, I would raise the prospect of buying things online with my wife, and she would express security concerns and that she was uncomfortable handing off her credit card to “the web” and questioned whether it was particularly wise for me to be doing this sort of thing at all.  I would counter with, “You are comfortable giving your credit card to an 18-year-old in a restaurant who disappears with it for 10 minutes. How is that better?”

In my marriage, this was an ineffective counterpoint. But in business, I am vindicated. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. quarterly e-commerce has grown from $34 billion in the first quarter of 2009 to $102 billion in the last quarter of 2016. Just sayin’.

That got me wondering about our own data. As I warn my kids with regards to their online social behavior, “electrons never die,” so I knew the actual data for our Amazon behavior must be lurking out there.

And here it is.

In 2009, we had 8 Amazon orders, often for multiple items to consolidate shipping cost, and mostly by me for large ticket electronic doodads. The total was $1,084.81.

In 2016, we had 78 orders. Freed from the tyranny of shipping costs by Amazon Prime, they were mostly smaller ticket orders. The total: $3,065.10. (I should be embarrassed by my 7 separate orders for Nespresso capsules for my espresso machine -- 350 total servings -- at a cost of $282.91. Particularly since I’m the only one who consumes this product.)

My point in all of this is that in less than 7 years, we – and everyone else -- experienced a fundamental and irreversible change in purchasing behavior.

And I think we are on the cusp of a similar scale of change in how organizations view their content and document management systems. That change is driven by the irrepressible march of cloud solutions.

We’ve already begun to see this transition to cloud solutions in the process arena – kicked off initially by Salesforce – via SaaS solutions. The “business” now has the power to implement single-process cloud solutions – often without a lot of IT involvement.

Until recently, attitudes toward cloud-based “business information” and “documents” and “records” had not caught up. As recently as 2013, 45% of AIIM survey takers said they were “unlikely to put content in the cloud.” Even today, there remains a gap in personal versus business perspectives; 79% say they “embrace content in the cloud” in their personal lives, while also saying at only 59% of the organizations for which they work do so.

But the cloud content management gap is closing; we are approaching a tipping point. 78% of organizations say that “if they were considering a new, replacement or consolidated ECM system,” hybrid cloud capabilities would be important. 18% say these capabilities would be “vital” and an additional 32% say they would be “very important.”

That’s the key to thinking about cloud content management. It will be a factor in just about every organization’s future. Yes, some content might remain on-premises. Yes, some organizations will go faster than others. But the direction of change is clear.  Which means that hybrid cloud content management capabilities will be critical.

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