ECM in the Cloud

This is a quick post about an idea that came to me as I was driving today. I was wondering if there is much of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) play today in the Cloud Computing space. My answer is … sort of.

This is a continuation in a series in Cloud Computing. Starting with Is your Future Cloudy? and Part II was Your own Virtual and Private Cloud. The next post will be about “The Rise of the Cloudlet” and will continue with more specific posts like this related to ECM and other industries.

Is there a play for ECM in the Cloud?

My definition of ECM includes what I call the Four Pillars – Capture, Document Management, Workflow, and Archive. There are additional elements that roll into the ECM category and provide the “content” that should be managed within an enterprise. In my opinion – they can all be rolled into the big ECM bucket.imageFor each of the four pillars I have thought through where I think they are in the cloud and have summarized them in the table below. If you have a different opinion – please share.


Are they in the Cloud?

Not really. There has been a concerted effort by one of the leading vendors in the capture space for years to try and validate the concept of Remote Capture (which arguably is more of an internet play), but they have fallen flat and not driven the market wisely.

DocMan No. There is no clear leader in this space.
The Opportunity here is HUGE. This is the space the Big Three could have owned, but I think their time may have passed. Now it’s up to the platform vendors to make a stab at it.
Workflow Not yet. There are a few vendors trying to create “Process in the Cloud” services, but they are not quite ready for prime time.
Archive Yes. Archive is probably the #1 leading solution in the clouds. Everyone is using cloud based services to store everything from pictures and videos (picasa, ofoto, snapfish, photobucket, etc.) to enterprise corporate data (major retailers and many other enterprises use cloud based services)

That’s what I think. Do you have a different opinion? I’d love to hear about it. If you work for a company that is doing great things around “ECM in the Cloud” please contact me. I’d love to hear about it and perhaps tell more of your story.

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

** I am available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. My areas of emphasis are business development and alliance management at the Intersection of Enterprise Content Management and Social Media.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.


Bryce said…
One night while watching TV I was on the Microsoft Online services site. I openned up the chat with a rep window and started asking her about pricing for SharePoint Online. She told me it was $X per user.

I asked what about read only extranet scenarios. She told me it was $X per user.

I asked her about using SharePoint Online as a WCM. She told me it was $X per user.

I hope that they consider this in the future (especially the extranet one) be cause if you have to pay a CAL for everyone who may want to hit your extranet that will be a hard pill for some people to swallow.
seacat said…
This is really an interesting look at the gaps that currently exist in content systems and the processes that have to go with them. There's a funny thing that happens to people when they move processes and content to the cloud: dispersed usage. Centralizing and unifying the experience as you suggest would be nothing short of rocket science.
Shreya said…
ECM on Cloud : Increase Savings and ROI
All you wanted to know about implementing BPM and ECM on Cloud