Cloud Enterprise Content Management

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1 Table of contents Overview...1 Content-Centric Applications: The Potential and the Challenge...2 Business Process Improvement...2 Cloud: A New Way Forward for ECM...4 The Inevitable Evolution to Cloud Platforms...4 Integrating Cloud with an Existing ECM Architecture...5 Conclusion...5 Cloud Enterprise Content Management A Cost-Effective Way To Solve Content Management Needs Overview Enterprise Content Management (ECM) promises organizations that they can implement a single, unified platform cost-effectively to address the range of content needs throughout the enterprise. Unfortunately, the promise often falls short of the reality. The disappointing results of most ECM initiatives reveal the shortcomings of this dream. In reality, what companies need are content-centric applications targeted to specific departments and business processes not a product that can only meet these requirements through costly additional development and integration. Companies looking to automate content management or workflow want to solve business problems, not implement or manage software. Traditionally, software has been the only choice. Today, however, the best model for the delivery of this more agile and efficient content-centric application architecture is through a comprehensive cloud ECM platform. Here are some of the benefits of delivering ECM via a cloud platform: A cloud platform allows a single ECM vendor to pre-integrate a broad set of ECM technologies saving the customer the expense of buying and maintaining each technology for each departmental application. The cloud vendor frequently upgrades the ECM platform and makes the latest functionality available seamlessly to all customers at the same time. The ready availability of a broad portfolio of ECM technologies makes it practical to solve 80 90% of the content management challenges faced by departments as diverse as HR, logistics, finance, corporate legal, etc., while leveraging the efficiencies of a unified security model, single web services layer for integration and unified search, e-discovery, and records management across applications. Because cloud solutions do not require hardware infrastructure investment for each deployment, they provide a cost-effective approach for implementations ranging from small departments to large organizations. Cloud offers rapid deployment (days versus weeks or months) with much less on-site engagement required, speeding time-to-value. Low initial costs make the benefits of the solution readily available to virtually any organization and fit easily within modest departmental budgets.

2 Delivered as cloud solutions, ECM and workflow automation can now be within reach financially and technologically for any size organization or department. For example, the initial costs of a cloud ECM solution can be as little as one-tenth those for a traditional ECM system customized for the same application. Unified security management and Web services minimize the costs associated with integrating and administering multiple applications, and the only ongoing cost is a subscription fee that grows and shrinks based on what is used. Meanwhile, time-to-deployment is often measured in days or weeks rather than months or longer. Cloud is already well-established as a model whose time has come. When applied to ECM, this model can rationalize and revolutionize the deployment and impact of contentcentric applications in the enterprise. Content-Centric Applications: The Potential and the Challenge For more than 30 years, the main focus of enterprise application development has been on managing data. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and other major software application markets have focused on managing data, usually stored in a database. Content has been relegated in those systems to BLOBS (Binary Large Objects) stored but not actively managed. Yet the biggest information management challenges for most enterprises center on managing content. In fact, analyst firm IDC estimates that unstructured data in traditional data centers will very soon eclipse the growth of transaction-based data, the bulk of enterprise data processing. While transactional data is still projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent, unstructured data will grow by 62 percent in traditional data centers. Business Process Improvement While the amount of content is growing, content now takes new forms: from electronic documents and to wikis, blogs, audio, and video. It also drives a broad range of business processes, such as: Generating and managing contracts. Processing invoices for payment. Managing resumes and interview notes. Maintaining and sharing health records. SpringCM attacks the two major weaknesses of ECM vendors: cost and time. It s not unusual for a company to drop $1 million on ECM software and services, and Gartner says it can take 6 to 18 months to deploy Cloud gets a tool into end users hands faster than with an on-premise deployment. -Information Week Managing legal matters. Completing and filing tax returns and associated supporting documents. Performing financial settlements and confirms. Developing complex proposals. Supporting M&A deal rooms and financial due diligence. Completing real estate/mortgage transactions. Processing college, credit card, and other applications. Traditionally, unstructured content was stored and accessed on network drives and shared via without being managed in any meaningful sense. This led to inefficient, error-prone processes that failed to leverage the full value of business content while leaving the business vulnerable to risks from compliance to business continuity. The ECM market has grown into a multi-billion dollar market over the years based on managing and automating content storage and retrieval. ECM has evolved to encompass close to 40 different technologies, including document management, imaging, search, taxonomy management, records management, workflow, business process management, e-forms, print and output management, management, and more. Delivered today in multi-product suites by leading vendors or as individual technologies by best-of-breed vendors, the ECM market continues to see doubledigit annual growth rates. Addressing the complete scope of most business applications, however, requires multiple ECM technologies. For example, an invoice-processing application requires imaging, optical character recognition (OCR), workflow, ERP integration and more; whereas a contract management application will benefit most from version control, document comparison, and e-signature. WHITE PAPER TITLE - 2

3 In reality, none of today s ECM platforms have all this technology in one complete, integrated solution. Consequently, the end-user organization or the integrator hired to implement the system must integrate add-on or partner products. This adds to the cost, time, and risk of the implementation and the ongoing maintenance effort of the cobbled together solution. Traditional ECM platforms require extensive customization to be effectively support a department s unique business process. Analysts estimate that the cost of maintain a typical software implmentation peaks at 3-5 times the software license cost. At this cost, many departmental applications cannot be cost-justified. Traditional ECM suffers from the same economic challenges as any large deployed project: For example, 75% of the cost is spent up-front before it is known whether the project will be successful. Projects can drag on as integrations and customizations are applied and tested, leading to months or even years before the project is delivered far too long for users to understand the business impact today. Customization becomes expensive to maintain and modify, leading to a lack of business agility and the inability to react to changes in the environment. Because a traditional deployed ECM suite, with all of its customization, presents an expensive and complex undertaking, it offers a solution to only the very highest value business applications or processes where the cost can be justified. For the typical business department, ECM remains out of reach. With current approaches to ECM falling short, it s useful to step back and consider the requirements for a more effective solution. Several essential characteristics emerge: While ECM platforms have proven problematic in practice, the premise remains sound: the integration of a broad set of ECM technologies within a single platform enough to address most of a typical organization s ECM needs would be the most cost-effective way to address multiple departmental challenges. A well-integrated platform will also provide a consistent user experience regardless of how the underlying technologies are combined, resulting in greater adoption and reduced training requirements. Cost of ownership must be reduced through efficiencies such as the ability to administer multiple applications (user management, security, records management and retention, etc.) through a single point of administration, as well as integrations that are maintained and updated simultaneously. The solution must be easily configurable to address specific needs without extensive onsite development or high professional services fees. The ECM platform should provide sufficient out of the box functionality and flexibility to deliver tailored content-centric applications cost-effectively to departmental buyers with departmental challenges. While these requirements have proven impossible to address under traditional IT architectures, a nextgeneration model offers new opportunities. Why Cloud Platform vs Point Solutions One vendor selection process for a range of applications. Customer can depend on a single service level, security framework, data backup policy, user interface, web services layer, and single sign-on. Why Cloud Platforms Make Sense Cloud technology requires a significant investment in infrastructures to support the service levels most customers demand. High fixed costs mean a cloud vendor needs the economies of scale that would be beyond reach for most single point-solution vendors. Each new point application brings with it a new user interface that creates user confusion and discourages adoption. New interfaces require more training resources and longer ramp-up time. In a business, vendors need to maximze the revenue from each customer, and selling multiple applications is one way to do this. 3

4 Cloud: A New Way Forward for ECM More than just a subscription model applied to traditional ways of doing business, cloud represents a fundamental shift in the way enterprises leverage application functionality. Unlike hosted services, today s cloud platforms are built on multi-tenant architectures that can be operated at a fraction of the cost of single instance implementations. Departmental solutions can be configured easily without custom programming, and partner ecosystems complement core functionality with specialized features that address specific needs. Rapid deployment and the elimination of up-front customer costs for hardware, configuration, and installation greatly reduce project risk. The success of the cloud model can be seen in strong and growing adoption of a broad spectrum of solutions from CRM (Salesforce.com) to online video (Netflix.com). In a recent survey by Cutter Consortium nearly 75 percent of respondents reported that they currently use cloud solutions in the enterprise. Cloud also offers compelling advantages for the delivery of ECM functionality: Multiple ECM technologies such as document management, BPM, imaging, search and more can be thoroughly integrated once by the vendor, with the cost amortized over thousands of customers, providing powerful economies of scale. The broad set of technologies broader than installed vendors can support means that a Cloud ECM platform can address percent of a typical company s content management needs across many departments. Platform upgrades take place in the background, transparent to the user. There are no additional or unexpected costs for maintenance and upgrades, just a single predictable subscription fee that s ideal for departmental budgets. Departmental applications are configured, rather than programmed and compiled. Customization occurs in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional systems and changes can be made easily, leading to rapid response as business needs change. A unified cloud ECM platform simplifies administration, including user administration, security policies, single sign-on, and the enforcement of compliance policies for records management. A single web services interface across applications simplifies the integration and maintenance of integrations. A single SLA can be negotiated across all applications. A single vendor also simplifies vendor management. Cloud offers a low-risk alternative to traditional ECM. The initial cost to deploy a Cloud ECM solution can be as little as 10 percent of the initial cost of traditional installed software and hardware. The ongoing monthly subscription fee will be less than the maintenance cost for traditional software. The Inevitable Evolution to Cloud Platforms As cloud gains in popularity in the enterprise, cloud solutions evolve toward a platform approach to application functionality. In essence, a cloud platform, like a traditional software application development platform or suite, consists of a preintegrated set of technologies and services used to develop, deploy, integrate, and deliver multiple applications. Key characteristics of cloud platforms include: Examples of Contentcentric Applications: Airline Maintenance Board Of Directors Management Clinical Trials Management College Admissions Engineering Drawing Management Contract Management ediscovery Electronic Bill Presentment Grant Management Insurance Claims Processing Invoice Processing ISO 9000 Management Land Records Legal Matter Management Letters Of Credit Marketing Management Mergers And Acquisitions Mortgage Applications / Servicing Patient Records Personnel Records Policy/Technical Manuals Resume Management Shipping Documents (Pod) Student Transcripts Training Content Development 4

5 A single instance, multi-tenant architecture in which the vendor is maintaining on instance of the platform used by all customers. This is why cloud vendors are able to keep costs under control while supporting multiple applications and customers. The ability to configure the vast majority of all application functionality through software switches, settings, and other easily modified means instead of developing or compiling code thus enabling tailored applications to be rapidly deployed, yet automatically upgraded as the platform is updated. A unified (typically web services-based) integration capability across applications. Unified security and user management across applications. Unified billing, metering, provisioning, and performance management across applications. A development sandbox environment for testing application prior to deployment. A production / runtime environment. Infrastructure management (network, server monitoring). Today s cloud market has thousands of point solutions, but pressures on both customers and vendors will drive their consolidation into core platforms even faster than has been seen in deployed software markets. According to a recent analyst survey by Cutter Corporation, respondents say they are selecting cloud providers that offer platform capabilities (see below). About onethird consider it important to select cloud providers that offer both platform and point solutions. The ability to provide the flexibility of a point solution, with the comprehensive range of a platform should be a best practice criteria for most organizations looking for cloud ECM solutions. As cloud applications expand and consolidate into platforms, enterprises should seek out the most viable platforms for data, collaboration, and contentcentric applications, and should plan their IT investments and deployment strategy accordingly. Integrating Cloud with an Existing ECM Architecture For all the promise of an ECM platform delivered as cloud, it raises an important question: how do you reconcile this new type of solution with your company s installed infrastructure? Current best practices suggest that introducing cloud applications for new business process solutions, especially those that cross organizational boundaries where the economics of traditional ECM and alternatives like Microsoft SharePoint are especially poor This will provide an initial proving ground for the cloud approach. Once you gain comfort you may find (that it is less expensive to implement cloud ECM for departments where you are considering extending existing ECM applications. With the Cloud approach proven in an initial application, this is the next natural place to expand. Then as legacy applications reach end-of-life, or the software license comes up for renewal, it makes sense to do a cost comparison of the annual maintenance cost, the vendor service level, and other factors, and compare those figures to the cloud platform. Conclusion As organizations struggle to manage an ever-growing volume of unstructured business data, they need to develop a strategy for effective content management applications across the enterprise not simply one-size-fits-all ECM. A Cloud ECM platform makes it possible for companies to overcome the high development and maintenance costs, administrative complexity, and barriers to adoption of traditional, deployed ECM software solutions. The emergence of cloud platforms as secure, stable, enterpriseclass solution providers mean that organizations can now deploy multiple ECM applications cost-effectively throughout the enterprise without adding new hardware, software, or services. SpringCM is the leader in Content Cloud Services for the enterprise. We deliver clearly more than cloud storage and file sharing we put content to work. Our applications help global brands and public agencies increase revenues, cut costs, mitigate risk, engage employees, and delight customers. 350 North Orleans Street, Suite #900, Chicago, IL

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