Content Services in the Cloud: Meeting Your Users Anywhere

Originally posted on the Hyland blog by Tori Ballantine

If you want to facilitate the best possible experience for users within your organization, you need to meet them where they are. Or where they want to be. And that’s what the evolution from enterprise content management (ECM) to content services is all about: an emphasis on the use of content, rather than the management of it.

Content services focus on how users access and utilize the information that they need to do their jobs. And, overwhelmingly, they want to access their critical information in the cloud.

A recent AIIM study asked respondents how they view their intended delivery/deployment methods for content services within the next two years. More than three-quarters are looking to leverage the cloud in some fashion. Forty percent of respondents plan to focus on a hybrid approach, utilizing both on-premises and cloud deployments, while 38 percent said they will deploy cloud solutions.

Only 17 percent plan to focus solely on on-premises deployments.

There’s a reason for the shift. The cloud allows users to access their information the way they want to, wherever they want to. It doesn’t confine users to accessing their content in the exact same way or in the same location. It enables remote workspaces, on-the-go approvals and innovative experiences that are fueled by flexibility in data retrieval.

Why should we go to the cloud?

The ability to access information where, when, and how users want it is a crucial component to content services in the cloud. This increased, yet controlled, access is only one of many compelling reasons to look to the cloud.

But what are the most appealing benefits, according to the IT buyers whose responsibility it is to pick the safest and best solutions for their organizations?

IDG surveyed IT leaders at companies with 250+employees who are involved in the purchase process for enterprise software solutions. They talked to CIOs, CTOs, VPs, directors, IT architects and managers. Across the wide range of industries and company sizes, clear trends emerged among the respondents.

The following were the most commonly-cited benefits of the cloud:

  • 67%: Disaster recovery

Sometimes, the worst happens. Improved disaster recovery capabilities, including the economic resources to replicate content in multiple locations, helps organizations get their crucial solutions running as soon as possible after an emergent situation.

  • 55%: Data availability

Organizations need to access their mission-critical information where and when they need it — as soon as they need it. Increased uptime of their service can lead to 24/7 data availability.

  • 55%: Cost savings

Hosting software solutions on-premises carries more than just risk; it carries operational cost. Hosting in the cloud reduces operational costs, including staffing, overtime, maintenance and physical security.

  • 45%: Incident response

Larger scale systems can develop more efficient incident response capabilities and improve incident response times than smaller, in-house systems can offer. As seconds tick by, compliance fines can increase along with end-customer dissatisfaction.

  • 41%: Security expertise

Organizations that provide hosted solutions constantly evaluate and evolve their practices to protect their customers’ data. These customers can take advantage of this aggregated security expertise to improve their own operations.

  • 37%: Geographical disbursement

Local network problems are less likely to influence performance and reliability. Having data stored — and backed up — in geographically diverse locations protects organizations’ solutions and data.

  • 29%: Expert access

The best-hosted software solutions employ top-notch security savants. Their customers have access, through their providers, to these specialists who deal with specific security threats and concerns.

Where do my users want to be?

Content services in the cloud is a natural fit. It’s an inherent alignment: The cloud lets users access their info reliably, where and when they need it. And with content services, empowering the user with customized solutions tailored to their unique needs and expectations is the name of the game.