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Enterprise Content Management on the Cloud

Office 365 Redefining Enterprise Content Management

Large enterprises have to deal with a tremendous  amount of content in terms of documents that need to be stored in a un-shredded  format, that can be  stored, indexed, searched, archived and can be accessed globally across different departments.

Typical functions of an enterprise-wide content management system:

  • Ensure that business users and applications can import documents easily using both online and batch systems
  • Ability to organize documents into multiple folders with respective security levels
  • Create document types, links between documents and item attributes
  • Ability to search using advanced searching conditions
  • Options for the versioning of documents , along with Check-In & Check-out features for document control
  • Support Workflow of business processes based on documents, and support document status
  • Provide options for automatic and manual approvals, especially based on organization hierarchy
  • Support enterprise goals on ILM (Information Life Cycle Management) with respect to Archival and Retrieval

Cloud and Content Management
Like several other business application patterns, cloud provides a good platform for hosting the content management solutions, mainly due to the  following attributes:

  • Large amount of storage needs
  • Dynamic and Elastic nature of access to Archived records, for legal considerations we may store years of older documents, but they may accessed only in specific situations like audit and hence pre allocating servers for them will amount to redundancy
  • Cost involved in licensing the COTS Content Management packages for small and medium businesses
  • Custom development effort spent for providing custom searches and rendering capabilities within the content management applications

The following are the current content management options on the cloud and  more options should be available shortly:

Office 365 And Sharepoint Online (SaaS Solution)
Recently Microsoft announced a limited beta release of Office 365, our next-generation cloud productivity service. Office 365 brings together 2010 editions of SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Lync Online and for the first time, Office desktop software, as a cloud service for organizations of all sizes.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is a central part of the Microsoft ECM (Enterprise Content Management) solution, which extends content management to every employee in an organization through integration with familiar tools like the Microsoft Office system.

Amazon EC2 with Content Management (IaaS/PaaS Solution)
On Amazon EC2 you can run many of the proven IBM platform technologies with which you're already familiar, including  IBM Lotus Web Content Management, while there are concerns about the usage and licensing cost model of these solutions, it should be  still considered as a option for hosting content management solutions over the  Cloud.

‘Database.com' for Scaled-Down Content Management (DaaS Solution)

  • Database.com is a stand-alone service available via its SOAP and REST APIs to any language on any platform or device.
  • Features include user management, row-level security, triggers, stored procedures, authentication and APIs, all in an easily scalable cloud infrastructure.
  • The product's relational data capabilities include tables, relationships, support for a variety of field types, triggers and stored procedures, a query language and enterprise search.
  • Enterprise search: Database.com includes powerful enterprise search services. Developers can access a full-text search engine that automatically respects enterprise security rules
  • File storage: for documents, video, images and more

Other Cloud Service Providers for Content Management
Some of the other smaller players are also mentioned, we needed   more case studies to assess the vendors, however  they are worth mentioning. Some  pure storage  offerings are also listed here.

  • Box is the cloud content management (CCM) platform, the company's website can be looked into further box content management features.
  • EMC Atmos is a multi-petabyte offering for information storage and distribution. It provides many features of Content Management with respect to storage like,
    • Content Protection using role based security
    • Multiple API-based access mechanisms
    • Automated system management

Summary
With the basic tenants of content management conducive for  cloud adoption and with the growing support for  platform offerings (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS) from major  vendors, content management on  Cloud will be a thing to look for and is here to stay.

At this time the Microsoft offering of Sharepoint and Office 365 looks to be  most complete solution available on the Cloud, but we can wait for solutions from others.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

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