What the Shift Away from Traditional Enterprise Content Management Means for Information Governance

While traditional enterprise content management (ECM) platforms were designed to give organizations more control over their information, these systems never really enjoyed widespread adoption thanks to poor user experiences, extended rollout periods and the rise of BYOD, among other things.

Where ECM platforms have failed, however, enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) tools—those which allow employees to store and share documents in the cloud—seem to be succeeding. Designed with a focus on the end user, thanks to their ease of use and functionality, these tools may very well displace ECM platforms altogether.

While it’s undeniable they provide a ton of utility, because of their nature, EFSS tools can still provide challenges relating to information governance at the enterprise level. Luckily, there are some EFSS providers that have built their solutions with those challenges in mind, making it easier for organizations to control their information and harness its power.

All this is according to a recent paper written by Chris Walker, The Next Generation of Enterprise Content Management. The publication explores what these next-generation EFSS tools mean for enterprise content management and information governance. In the paper, Barclay T. Blair, founder and executive director of the Information Governance Initiative, shares his thoughts on the ECM-to-EFSS evolution and its associated information governance implications:

The Next Generation of ECM Paper

Beginning a long, long time ago with Lotus Notes databases, continuing to shared folders in network file systems, collaboration folders in ECM systems, then SharePoint, and now shared drives in the sky, the ability for users to self-provision collaboration environments has time after time focused on the short-term problem while creating a long-term disaster. The current crop of providers in the space continue to successfully leverage the viral effect of these collaboration tools, but in my view many are shockingly irresponsible in ignoring the obvious legal, regulatory, risk, privacy, data breach, intellectual property, value extraction, and other information governance issues that are created and exacerbated by their products. Frankly I think it’s a bit cynical. We’ve been doing business digitally for decades and the need to control and manage information as an asset has been long established, but continues to be ignored by providers who pretend that these issues don’t exist, or wave their hands and claim that the customer owns these problems, not the provider, or that it’s merely a “policy” issue. That’s such an outdated idea. The only way we will ever responsibly manage and leverage our information assets is by baking these capabilities into the technology itself. Kudos to those providers who are taking the tougher, but more mature path, of sacrificing dramatic growth to provide business-grade solutions that address these requirements.

Click here to read the paper in full.