Is Enterprise Content Management (ECM) dead? In our today´s world, digital transformation is one of the major topics. In such a dynamic industry as information technology, the market is undergoing constant changes, so that ECM also needs to evolve – and so it does. According to Gartner, one of the leading research and advisory companies, ECM will merge with Content Services in the near future. Gartner’s competitor Forrester sees ECM as the foundation for digital transformation. Both of them are right with their assumptions.

Digitization is still a key challenge

Content Management is obviously transforming from capturing, storing, searching and retrieving content into a holistic, process based approach, which is called process content management. Digitization of business processes is still one of the major challenges for many companies.

Existing core systems are yet unable to digitize or mobilize business processes the way they create a real business differentiator in terms of cost, time or customer experience.

This fact makes most companies hesitate. The project risks and switching costs of a big-bang, the replacement of existing core systems with new, modern solutions that enable a complete digitization and mobilization of the business process, seem to be too high for companies. They therefore remain in lock-in effects. In most cases, companies are tied to the process design offered by the core system vendor, and a change or replacement appears risky and uneconomical. This is even more difficult for mergers of companies, where it becomes necessary to connect different units with different backend systems.

Digital signature processes are even more integrated into the content services platforms – with trusted certificates that reflect the current state of technology.  The digital signature accelerates processes and reduces costs, replacing the complex signature and approval process.

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Content Management Technologies: Areas of Application

This is where modern content management technologies find their application and their playground. Content Management Systems have a tradition in archiving and managing data in a trusted manner; they therefore have interfaces to most of the existing core backend systems with a deep integration to handle data.

Modern content services platforms are able to manage workflows and use a variety of services to design modern, digital and mobile processes. The ability to deal with data from all major backend systems and creating workflows based on modern customer frontends solves the customer’s dilemma. The modern content services enable customers to modernize and mobilize without a big bang approach.  So they are no longer locked in with only one vendor’s process design.

Agile Processes

Connecting all of a company’s backend systems to a content services platform that allows to leverage all kinds of services and flexible process design with modern and mobile customer interfaces has the ability to digitalize business processes in an agile fashion. Companies can take a process at the time and deliver small increments to the market to evolve its digitization and mobilization. This is a low-risk, fast and agile approach that is based on standard technology platforms; it will be configured rather than customized or programmed.

Technology is additionally able to slowly migrate complete infrastructures by making content accessible to core systems across the whole enterprise while legacy systems can be retired.

Digital Authorization and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Digital signature processes are even more integrated into the content services platforms – with trusted certificates that reflect the current state of technology.  The digital signature accelerates processes and reduces costs, replacing the complex signature and approval process. It improves usability and makes customization of processes and applications a reality. Consumerization is the buzzword.

The next wave of content service will rely on artificial intelligence to capture and interpret content along the business processes. With Artificial Intelligence (AI), a new level of content interpretation can be tapped to drive agile process execution, finding the right person for a transaction or further automating the process. AI content services have the potential to create a real competitive advantage in terms of cost, time and customer experience.

The next step: Trusted Content

Finally, trusted content exchanged between parties, will become more important in the future than it is today. Trusted content enables the authentication of content throughout the process – even beyond company boundaries. In many ways, this is going to be more relevant to businesses, e.g. when reviewing transactions, external certificates or health data and the like. These authentications can be integrated into the modern content services platforms by blockchain technology.

ECM creates opportunities

Modern content services platforms will be required to digitalize and mobilize business processes. In this field, the implementation of modern content services will play a major future role. In summing up it becomes clear, that ECM is not dead but it will actually become a core competency which will be moving into content services.

In it’s new appearance ECM will be driving the digitalization and mobilization of business processes in companies. For companies, this creates the opportunity to transform own digital worlds of processes in an individual and agile way.

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About Dieter Weißhaar
Dieter Weißhaar is Chairman of the Executive Board of EASY Software AG and has been an executive in the technology industry for many years. He enjoys rowing to balance the agile and innovative tasks of a company in the digital growth market.
Dieter Weißhaar

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