Back in 2017, Michael Woodbridge from Gartner predicted the “Death of ECM”. Since then, much has been said about the death of ECM and the birth of the Content Services Platform.

TechTarget defines Content Services Platforms as follows:

A content services platform is cloud-based SaaS software that enables users to create, share, collaborate on and store text, audio and video content. Content services platform, or CSP, (not to be confused with cloud service provider) is a relatively new term that is gaining acceptance as a successor to enterprise content management (ECM) software

At Nuxeo, we believe a Content Services Platform will help better connect content silos, and make business-critical information available and usable to the relevant people within the business. Information management is critical to many organizations, and it’s important to evaluate your current systems in order to know if it’s time for you to switch to a Content Services Platform.

Content Services Platforms (CSP) vs Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

From a distance, a Content Services Platform may look like the enterprise content management products of the past — however, there are three areas in which a CSP significantly differs from an ECM solution:

  1. A CSP natively and effectively manages all of the data and content types that we use today—video, audio, social media, etc and does it at scale
  2. A CSP connects all information sources. ECM solutions were designed to be insular—they were sold as the “one place to store all of your content.” As we all know, that never actually happened.
  3. A CSP can be customized. Quite simply, this is about allowing users to store, view, edit, and interact with data and content however they want to.

You can discover more about the differences between CSP and ECM products in this short brief.

When to Use Content Services Platform

The purpose of a Content Services Platform is to offer the building blocks upon which to build your own solutions. These are either bespoke solutions, where customers leverage the platform for their unique business needs and benefit; or, they are repeatable applications, where vendors or their partners develop tailored applications to address specific horizontal or vertical (industry) business needs. Micro-services allow users to quickly develop specific solutions or applications, made for their own businesses. Rather than having a monolithic approach that tries to be all things to all people, developers can simply use modular services that deliver the specific feature they need.

Legacy ECM technologies are ill-suited for the needs of today’s enterprises, but you don’t need to rip and replace all of your legacy systems. A CSP allows users to leverage legacy information management systems by integrating them, mapping the metadata, and federating content. The COVID-19 crisis has proven that digitizing business processes is essential to survival. Yet, many organizations still use ad-hoc, manual processes. Using a Content Services Platform to combine information and content from multiple sources, and deliver it to the end user via a personalized interface at the appropriate time, is the best approach to successful digital transformation.

Read more about How can Content Services Help with Digital Transformation? in this blog.

But what are the key features that you should look for in your next content services platform? Here’s our answer:

  • scalability
  • flexibility
  • low-code
  • connectivity
  • cloud-native
  • trainable AI

Core Features of a Content Services Platform

1. Scalable

We live in a world where the volume of information hitting us is growing exponentially.

As a result, a content services platform needs to cope with this. The needs of a modern business require the management of potentially BILLIONS of content pieces, of any file type, stored in any system or repository. This is not optional - even the smallest organizations have multiple content and data stores. Join these together and the amount of information you are managing is significant - if your Content Services Platform does not scale accordingly, then it simply won’t work.

2. Flexible

A modern business does not run on word documents and PDFs alone.

The huge growth of file formats spans much more than simple office documents and now needs to include the likes of video, audio, 3D files and images. The integration of various file types into mainstream business processes is happening and therefore the management of any and all of these file types — natively from within the CSP— is a critical feature.

3. Low-Code

Remember the days when every user got the same interface to an application? Yep - so do I.

But those days are almost behind us - even for enterprise software. A key feature of a modern Content Services Platform is the ability for users to create customized content applications in weeks, not months or years. A modern CSP has a drag and drop development environment for personalized interfaces that make it easy and intuitive for users to quickly access the content, processes, and data they need, in a way that works for them.

4. Connected

Arguably this could be the most important feature of all because without connecting information systems within the business, you can’t provide a centralized view of your information assets, or deliver personalized content-driven applications to end-users, and you really don’t need to scale massively because you’re only working with one system.

In short, the capability to connect to multiple content and data systems throughout the business including Line of Business applications, other enterprise content management systems and both on-premises and cloud based file-shares - is absolutely essential.

Without it, you have just another silo.

5. Cloud-Native

We now live in the era of the cloud. Fact.

For many years, organizations were reluctant to move to cloud-based solutions, and indeed within certain industries there is still caution but for most, the power, scalability and capabilities available via the cloud simply cannot be delivered in-house.

To that end, software solutions that are built for the cloud fully leverage cloud-based storage, databases, elastic scalability, dynamic pricing and web-based services in an easily configurable manner - and they do that in their native form, not requiring large-scale conversions from on-premises legacy code bases.

6. Trainable AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more pervasive in our everyday lives. From personal assistants like Siri and Alexa to driverless cars. The age of AI is here. And the capabilities delivered by AI provide advanced and automated classification, and recognition and prediction capabilities at a much higher quality and volume than human counterparts. Not to mention that AI trained with your content and data multiplies its power and value.

The best Content Services Platform will be architected to take full advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities via the cloud and in turn deliver streamlined automation of previously manual processes, increasing overall productivity and freeing staff to perform more time-sensitive or complex work.

Learn more about how these 6 key features of a Content Services Platform translate into business benefits and can be used within your business by downloading the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms report.

You can also read our Content Services Platform reviews on Gartner Peer Insights