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What Is Content Services and How Should It Influence Your Technology Choices?

Woman holding a mobile device connecting to content services

In January 2017, Michael Woodbridge of Gartner created a bit of a stir in content management world with this pronouncement in The Death of ECM and the Birth of Content Services: 

ECM is now dead (kaput, finite, an ex-market name), at least in how Gartner defines the market. It’s been replaced by the term Content Services, a strategic concept that covers three aspects, namely Content Services Applications, Platforms and Components.

Well, is ECM really dead? I certainly don’t think so. But what organizations are doingwith content –what many DocuWare customers are doing with content-- HAS outgrown the traditional definitions.

The industry organization AIIM describes this change:

“Retiring” ECM doesn’t mean the need for content management capabilities goes away, nor does it mean that everyone should run out and rip out all of those mission-critical ECM systems. But it DOES mean that ECM is an insufficient term to describe all of the “content-y” things people are doing, how they are approaching them, and all the different flavors of content solutions that exist to solve very different problems. It is also a recognition, that content intersects with all line-of-business operations, and its role is no longer confined to an isolated, centralized archive for compliance purposes, where “content goes to die.” Content is an active participant in daily decision making and needs to be actively managed as a key asset. 

In their most recent Digital Transformation market research report, three AIIM data points illustrate the transition that we feel is at the heart of the interest in “content services.”

  • In just three years, we’ve moved beyond the cloud “tipping point.” Even for organizations that were initially skeptical, for over 8 in 10 organizations, cloud capabilities are now a key part of the solution.
  • 70% of organizations want to move beyond the old monolithic model of ECM and pick only those content capabilities they need for each process or application.
  • 92% of organizations believe that something needs to change and that they must modernize their information management strategy.

Content Services explained

At DocuWare we rather like this definition: Content Services is a way to intelligently and efficiently capture information, send it to the right person, department, or process using digital channels, usually through the cloud. Because Content Services are based in the cloud, they ensure your business meets changing compliance requirements while remaining cost effective and scalable.

Of course, the labels that industry marketers put on technology segments do not ultimately matter very much to actual end user organizations. The organizations that we work with at DocuWare do not care so much whether the technology we provide is called document management or content management or content services. What they DO care about are these kinds of questions:

  • How can these technologies can improve our business processes?
  • How they can help in the drive to digital transformation?
  • Can they be deployed with a minimum of time and cost and business disruption? 

And so, as you think about Content Services, how should it influence your technology choices?

6 Content Services questions to ask about your next technology solution

  1. Does the solution have both on-premise and cloud options?
  2. Is there functional transparency across both the on-premise and cloud versions? (i.e., from a user perspective, do they work the same way!)
  3. Are there “pre-configured” business applications like employee onboarding and invoice processing to get you started?
  4. Is the solution easy to deploy? Really easy?
  5. Can you buy applications “by the drink,” or do you have to buy an entire monolithic platform?
  6. Does the solution work across applications? (i.e., is the content in one application available to other applications that might need it?)

See how DocuWare is helping finance teams reclaim their time and resources in just days with the preconfigured, cloud-based solution for Invoice Processing