Content Management in the Cloud seems to be very straightforward. It is supposed to be agile, simple, and cost effective. In my opinion, it is going to completely change the practice of Content Management. These statements make the following truth that much more bizarre. Users don’t care where their Content is managed; they just want their Content when they need it.

Omnipresent Content Management

Recently, Lee Dallas wrote a very clean explanation of What the Cloud Means to Real People. In his example, he describes reading a book using Amazon’s Kindle technology. During the example, he changes devices at will without having to transfer the content or remember where he had left off reading. Lee was using the cloud but he, the consumer, wasn’t aware of the cloud during his interactions. This is exactly what businesses need and want. Users want to be able to work with content and information without having to think about Content Management. Organizations don’t want to have to worry that important information isn’t being captured. Once Content Management is embedded into everything, the problems begin to start.

By making Content Management omnipresent, there will be a lot more content to manage. Even with diligent processes to remove unimportant/old content, the volume of content and related information will increase exponentially. With 35 Zettabytes already expected by 2020, the infrastructure needed to manage the volume is staggering.

Within this view, the cloud becomes the enabler of a better Content Management ecosystem. There is more to the story though.

Thinking Outside the Box

Of course, there is more to implementing Omnipresent Content Management than solving the issue of scale. Content is just like the people that create it; content thrives when it interacts with others. It could just be a few marketing documents that need to be published, but it could just as well be sensitive contracts and partnership deals.

This should be as easy as a user deciding to share the content and simply tagging it with the desired collaborator. This should be done easily without the user having to think about where the content is located as, once again, the user doesn’t care. The user also doesn’t want to have to worry about firewalls or if the other person has login credentials. As long as the user is confident that the content is getting to the right person, they don’t want to have to worry about the details.

This isn’t easy. Most people cheat and use email, which just makes more and more copies of the same piece of content and creates a whole new set of issues. The real answer is to move the content outside the firewall, the proverbial “box,” to an open system.

Liberating Business for Success

The biggest boon to moving to a world of Cloud-based Content Management is that it liberates businesses to focus on their mission. No longer are users thinking about managing their content. No longer is IT trying to figure out how to manage and govern all of that content. After defining an initial set of controls, organizations can focus on their core mission.

What about Content Management professionals? They now get to start helping the users solve new problems, like how to get more value out of their content and information. While it is hard to think about all the possible changes, consider these possibilities:

  • Every piece of content is captured and available to those who need it. That is a level of confidence that is missing from most organizations.
  • By removing email from the content sharing business, email can return to its core function, communication, at least until Social Media replaces it.
  • Business productivity will determine work location, not the need to be wired to the corporate network. Gone will be, “I’ll send those documents to you when I get back to the office.” Instead we’ll say, “I’ll share those with you right now.”

This is not a slam dunk. It doesn’t matter what any marketing person tells you, this isn’t easy and we aren’t there yet. I can tell you that we are getting there and it is getting easier. Open standards, like CMIS, make the sharing of content easier. Once we master the management of identities in the cloud so we don’t have to learn 20 different passwords and fear being hacked, we will be there.  

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