July 19, 2018 | Written by: David Jenness
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In 2016, analysts predicted that the next step in the evolution of enterprise content management (ECM) would be the cloud. They pointed out that cloud computing would change the business so radically that it could no longer be called ECM, but rather “content services,” as cloud architecture made it easier to build solutions by linking together services such as security, search, storage, metadata and collaboration, among many others.
Two years later, where are we? Is cloud-based content management at a tipping point?
Here’s a key quote from a March 2018 Forrester Research report: “An approximately $8 billion market is up for grabs — and nearly 90 percent of current ECM decision makers plan to expand their deployments in 2018. The tipping point for cloud-based ECM hasn’t happened yet, but the momentum accelerates.”
Cheryl McKinnon, Forrester’s principal analyst focusing on content and collaboration, believes that cloud, analytics and intelligence are the three drivers of content services today.
“Cloud adoption is unfolding in a phased approach,” she writes, “with software as a service (SaaS) being used to complement on-premises applications today, but moving to predominantly SaaS over the next two years.”
We saw this same adoption pattern at IBM after entering the market with cloud-based SaaS offerings in 2016. Many large organizations started small with pilot projects or dev and test environments and started to benchmark results. Hybrid cloud was the order of the day as organizations experimented with cloud-based content for new use cases, but kept the existing content processes under lock and key on premises.
However, several interesting things have happened over the last two years.
- First, a new type of customer has taken advantage of SaaS pricing to build innovative solutions: small to medium-sized companies that might have balked at the upfront expense of a traditional, on-premises content management system. Blueprint Genetics is one such example. It used IBM Case Manager in the cloud with text analytics to totally disrupt the DNA testing industry.
- Second, developments such as Kubernetes and Docker containers delivered on the promise of cloud as a way to deploy solutions faster and easier. Many organizations began to build private cloud networks using these technologies, improving in agility and speed while paving the way for public cloud adoption.
- Third, the portfolio of cloud-based services grew as customers demanded special features such as storage according to data residency regulations, cloud object storage and cloud-based WORM (Write Once Read Many), which is a legal requirement of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for many financial services use cases.
Here we are, at a moment that Forrester calls the tipping point for content in the cloud. After all the hype about moving content to the cloud over the past few years, there are still many misconceptions and reservations about when and how to deploy content services in the cloud.
Recently, Forrester analyst Cheryl McKinnon joined us for a webinar titled “Clearing the Air – What You Really Need to Know About Content Services in the Cloud” to provide additional additional insight on this topic and shared some emerging use cases for content in the cloud. Watch it on demand.