Just back from an inspiring Alfresco Partner Conference that was hosted together with Amazon, I thought I would share some thoughts on what is happening with the ECM market in general and with Alfresco in particular.
First of all – ECM is no more! Recent reports from Gartner and the latest ”Magic Quadrant” of the area does not recognize ECM (Enterprise Content Management) systems anymore. The ECM acronym has been replaced by the concept of Content Services Platforms (CSP). According to Gartner this represents a shift from self-contained systems and repositories to open services. Personally I think that Gartner has hit a bulls-eye with this rebranding of the area and the shift of focus.
Why Content Services Platforms?
For a content and business process platform to be competitive in the digital landscape of today and in the future, it needs to be easy to adapt and integrate with information from various sources and formats. It also needs to be very competent when it comes to structuring, storing and presenting information to the right receiver at the right time. The receiver can be a physical person accessing the information, but it can also be an application or other automated device that needs access to digital content. Considering the amount of information that will be produced and flow through our systems in the wake of the digital transformation, our Content Services Platforms, needs to be extremely good at process automation and distribution of content. The Content Services Platform also needs to be easy accessible, whether it is a web app, mobile app, client application or anything else with an end user in front of it. Gone are the days when we had one single interface to our content platforms and everyone were forced to cope with it. Users of today expect apps to be easy to use, present relevant information to them and often in a time line related way. This is why Content Services Platforms also needs to be easy to attach with different graphical user interfaces for various end users and purposes.
The Alfresco Content Services Platform
Gladly, this is also the direction of the development taken by Alfresco for their Content Services Platform. Recent product updates from Alfresco and the Community suggests an understanding for the functionality requested by future users of CSP solutions. With the Alfresco Content Services, the platform will efficiently manage all the digital content and information that your Digital initiatives will produce and make sure that that requested information will be available when requested. The Alfresco Process Services ensures that you can design automated processes to increase efficiency and help your users to access the right information at the right time. To further enhance the user experience, the Alfresco Application Development Framework (ADF) makes it possible for developers to design an user interface that is appealing and easy to use for an end user at a given moment. This can be a web app, mobile app or maybe even an interface to a robotic device or whatever feature or machine your CSP solution needs to communicate with in the future. To support all of the above, to avoid network latency in a global world and to further future proof your CSP solution in the wake of the ”cloud era” your platform also needs to be able to deploy in various configurations supporting cloud or hybrid deployments. With the Alfresco CSP already being there with ability for both multi zone AWS and on prem – cloud hybrid deployments, it is safe to say that the Alfresco product development and community have been successful in turning the Alfresco ECM solution into a ready made Content Services Platform to support your digital initiative and brings us to the future of content and process management.