Does Enterprise Synch & Share Equal Enterprise Content Management?
January 17, 2017
The thumb drive is dead. It’s true that these formerly ubiquitous portable media devices are still around and are even useful in some cases. But the need to access shared content on mobile devices along with the sheer convenience of anytime, anywhere content access has made using an Enterprise File Synch & Share (EFSS) service a dramatically better option. Add to that the ability to easily and securely share content with partners outside the corporate firewall, and one has a flexible solution that solves a number of challenging problems. Not to mention that by switching to an EFSS you will also significantly lower your FedEx bill.
When EFSS appeared around a decade ago, it was not something an enterprise could even consider using. Security was non-existent, costs were relatively high, and network connections did not have the reliability or performance necessary to support even casual use. Obviously all that has changed.
EFSS of today is secure, conforms with all the major compliance standards, is cost competitive with other solutions, and the networks necessary to access them are dramatically better. Vendors like Box and Dropbox actively market their wares as replacements for on premise storage options such as traditional file shares. Whether they are or not is an open question, but a number of enterprises have accepted the challenge of finding out.
While sharing and managing ad hoc file systems is still the primary use case for EFSS, a number of the vendors are adding features traditionally provided by Enterprise Content Management (ECM) repository platforms. Lifecycle governance, user metadata, and workflow features are available in a number of offerings. While those features may not be at the level of capability provided by an industrial strength ECM repository, they more than satisfy the requirements for many ECM use cases. Plus they add a capability ECM really could never deliver on—securely sharing original, managed content with trading partners outside the corporate firewall.
So does Enterprise File Synch & Share equate to Enterprise Content Management now? I will offer that it can effectively satisfy a number of business needs ECM may have addressed in the past. And it will do so in a way that is substantially easier to deploy and administer. However, traditional on premise ECM is likely still the best option for high volume production content applications, although your mileage may vary.
It is more important than ever to have an enterprise content management strategy that defines the place for EFSS as well as traditional ECM and other content management technologies in your enterprise. Without a strategy, the use of technologies like EFSS can quickly spiral out of control and lead to legal, security, and compliance issues that will be needlessly difficult to resolve.
submitted by Randy Dufault
Director of Solution Development