Content, both structured and unstructured, play an integral role in almost every business process, from onboarding clients at a bank to providing healthcare services to patients in a hospital. As the volume and variety of content grow, how are organizations’ approaches to enterprise content management (ECM) evolving to meet their business needs and digital transformation goals?
Easy and secure access to information is critical in any business environment. For enterprises to operate efficiently, people – as well as the applications and systems they rely on – must be able to access and process the correct content, in a secure and compliant way, as swiftly as possible.
The ability to collaborate on content from anywhere in the world, on any device, also contributes to high levels of efficiency, productivity, and exceptional customer experience. For these reasons and more, every organization needs a sound ECM strategy and the tools to power this.
Traditional approaches to ECM
Until fairly recently, most organizations have been using on-premises enterprise content management (ECM) systems to capture, organize, store, and manage company documents and other information required for day-to-day processes and decision-making.
Many of these systems also supported risk management and compliance, by meeting internal data policies and regulatory obligations. By assigning user permissions and privileges, the content was kept secure, and designated users had access to relevant, up-to-date content. Also, with all information housed on one platform, managers had clear visibility over the lifecycle of content – from creation through every edit and interaction by identified users.
But now, several factors are changing the way that enterprises collect and use their content. Firstly, content is streaming in from multiple sources, in diverse formats and new technologies are emerging to help organize and distribute this overwhelming mix of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured content.
This means that organizations can now feed standardized content into modern business tools, like software bots and other automated systems. Secondly, more stakeholders want to access content and collaborate with their team members in shared digital workspaces via their mobile devices.
Many traditional ECM systems are unable to provide all this functionality – and organizations have moved on.
The shift from ECM systems to content services
As digital technology has advanced and business needs evolved, there’s been a move from traditional, on-premises ECM systems to cloud-based content services platforms.
The term ‘content services’ describes a much broader set of content-related technologies. These span services such as document management and version control, search, indexing, categorization, secure file sync and share, content analytics, and more.
While many contemporary content services suites are incredibly powerful – creating exciting new opportunities for collaboration, business optimization, and digital transformation – there are still challenges that need to be addressed. These include:
Integration capabilities vary across content services platforms. This makes it difficult to establish a unified and holistic content management strategy across the enterprise. When different content services platforms are being used by different teams (or for unique purposes), this can create information gaps that limit collaboration and hinder productivity.
A lack of oversight and control:
When multiple content services platforms are being used by people, applications, and systems, both internally and externally, it’s extremely difficult to coordinate and control access to content assets. This can create content governance and data security nightmare, which can be compounded when users are accessing their content from their mobile devices.
How can organizations address these problem areas without sacrificing the many benefits of modern and innovative content services?
One solution is to integrate content services into a Low-code application development platform
With low-code application development platforms like K2, companies can automate, manage, and monitor every process on one central platform. To take content management to the next level, K2 makes it easy for users to build custom applications, workflows, and forms that integrate with virtually any line-of-business system. This provides an enterprise with the tools to quickly and easily bridge any gaps that exist between the disparate content services platforms that their stakeholders are using.
Organizations can build applications on K2 that find and surface content that’s housed within SharePoint, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and other platforms. With this holistic combination of low-code platforms and content services technologies, users can access and manage all their content in one place, on any device – and circumnavigate the obstacles that come with using many different content service suites.
Managers can also track how content from any system is being used across all K2 business process workflows, which makes it easier to monitor compliance with internal rules and regulatory obligations. Every application provides a data trail that can provide evidence of compliance, should this ever be required by auditors or regulatory authorities. IT can maintain all regulatory and compliance standards, no matter whether people are working on-premises or in the cloud.
Towards intelligent content management
As organizations’ content needs continue to change shape, they’ll need a strategy for leveraging new business tools as they emerge. With a low-code application platform like K2, it’s possible to integrate developing technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) tools and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into the combined BPA and content services architecture.
This means that enterprises can gain new value from their data and content, through capabilities such as scanning, imaging, optical character recognition (OCR), advanced content analytics, and more. For instance, the use of AI tools can enable organizations to standardize unstructured and semi-structured content and make process automation tools like RPA more intelligent.
By combining their content services stacks with a low-code application development platform that offers agile integration, organizations can create an environment where people can access content faster, manage their data more securely, collaborate more effectively, and harness the benefits of new business technologies as these arise.
Beyond this, a holistic view of how content is performing within every business process helps to drive ongoing business optimization.