Is the future of ECM located on the cloud?

Is the future of ECM located on the cloud?
Enterprise Content Management (ECM) in the cloud has become an increasingly appealing option, writes Lauren Horwitz, Executive Editor of Business Applications and Architecture at However, she adds that it has taken some time for the market to catch up with the needs of its potential clients.

In fact, according to Horwitz, the past several years have seen many users in the ECM make the switch to file-sharing applications thanks to their ease of access to information and opportunities for collaboration. Other companies, frustrated by difficulties involving software, have retreated back to shared company drives rather than rely on outsourcing their ECM, which could potentially improve efficiency, security and compliance.

All this is happening as mobile devices, cloud computing and social media are transforming the landscape of modern information management. One of the effects of this change is that ECM providers are taking a hard look at their changing (and sometimes reluctant) client base and making their own transformations in product to suit user needs. One of the most promising prospects, according to Horwitz, is the hybrid cloud.

Hybrid clouds allow normal, traditional ECM functions, such as mailroom, data capture and imaging , but also permit easier access for a company’s remote workers and security that is stronger than standard file sharing. These clouds are based on a central location from which a company’s workers can access, share and edit documents from anywhere, complete with version control, workflows and audit trails. Corporate data is kept secure behind the firewall, and records management and disaster recovery are enabled via file synching.

According to a report from the Radicati Group Inc, the ECM market is expected to grow to nearly $10 billion by 2017. With the biggest ECM-related challenge (according to a SearchContentManagement survey being deploying and managing cloud-based ECM, the convenience and security of the hybrid cloud could be the solution for many companies.

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