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Anyone who works in or follows the enterprise content management (ECM) industry will remember when Gartner redefined ECM and changed the term to content services.

Michael Woodbridge, a research director at Gartner, outlined the reasons for the change in a blog post at the beginning of 2017, and ECM has never been the same since. ECM changed from being a self-contained system and repository, to a system built on open services. The change, Woodbridge explained, reflected a reality and the way many vendors were already moving. Content Services Platforms (CSPs) were, and are, the new ECM.

So, who would lead the industry now, and would the Magic Quadrant for Content Services (paywall) be the same as the old Magic Quadrant for ECM? Well, two years after the changeover, the usual suspects are still there. There are 18 vendors listed in this year’s Quadrant:

  • Leaders: Microsoft, Hyland, IBM, OpenText.
  • Challengers: Oracle, Alfresco, Laserfiche, Newgen, SER Group.
  • Niche Players: Micro Focus, Fabasoft, GRM Information Management, Everteam, DocuWare.
  • Visionaries: Box, M-Files, Nuxeo, Objective.

Microsoft, OpenText and IBM retained the top three positions in the Quadrant, while OpenText showed the highest organic growth, largely due to acquisitions. The report also showed that software-as-a-service (SaaS) has fueled much of the content services market. New deployments were often delivered through SaaS, with the legacy CSP installations remaining on-premises. In addition, the content services sold as standalone, while on-premises products have become a declining portion of the market.

OpenText Gets Tighter With Microsoft

However, just because competition across this industry is red hot, it doesn’t mean there aren’t partnerships and alliances to better cut up the enterprise market for managing content. Such is the case with the recent release of OpenText’s Extended ECM Enabler for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Services.

The new solution, developed in partnership with Contesto, integrates OpenText's ECM portfolio with Dynamics 365 for Customer Service to deliver a complete set of content services that will enrich process flows and enable seamless customer engagement.

OpenText Extended ECM Enabler by Contesto for Dynamics 365 for Customer Services enables intelligent and connected enterprises to transform sales, marketing, customer and field service automation by securely integrating content services into business processes.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service handles contracts, resources, work hours, unified service desk (USD), contacts, accounts, case management and custom entities through the Customer Service App, which is best used on a desktop browser for case management, and the Customer Service Hub, which can be used on both a desktop browser and mobile device for managing knowledge articles and case management.

Extended ECM allows customer-facing employees to contribute and consume critical business content from directly within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 business applications.

The integration of OpenText's ECM solutions with Dynamics 365 for Customer Service enhances business processes, it also enables the enterprise to maximize the value and insight from unstructured content and structured data. Through the OpenText Extended ECM Business Workspace customer-facing roles remain within the Dynamics 365 business application, while also providing access to the data from across the organization needed to provide efficient and outstanding customer service.

Oracle’s New Digital Assistant Platform

Oracle is rising to the digital workplace challenge with the release of the Oracle Digital Assistant, which will enable enterprises to build their own personalized digital assistants to help employees work smarter and more productively.

Built on the Oracle Cloud infrastructure, it allows enterprises to build an assistant that can be "trained" to support multiple applications. So, instead of needing several digital assistants for individual departments, enterprises will be able to build one assistant for disciplines as diverse as HR, ERP, CRM and CX.

Using AI, the new digital assistant understands context, derives intent, and identifies and learns user behaviors and patterns to automate routine tasks like expense approvals and meeting reschedules, on behalf of the user.

Users can converse with the Oracle Digital Assistant via the voice interface, but it is platform agnostic and is equally optimized to support popular messaging platforms like Slack, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Alexa.  It also comes with built-in analytics so businesses can monitor usage to gain real time insights into user behavior and app performance.

WhatsApp Beats Office 365 as Most Used Mobile App

Elsewhere, research from analyst firm, CCS Insight suggests that WhatsApp is now the most widely used mobile business app, pushing ahead of Microsoft Office 365 (29 percent) in a survey of 672 employees across US and Western Europe.

The survey looked at workers ‘attitudes to digital technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and smart assistants, security, privacy and trust, enterprise mobility and devices and usage of business-related applications in the workplace.

It showed that employees are ready to embrace digital assistants, almost half of respondents expect them to be widespread in the workplace within a year, with Google taking an early lead with Google Assistant. However, a third of respondents (60 percent) said they are worried AI will take their jobs, this fear of job losses will impede adoption.

According to 30 percent of respondents, features such as conference and video calling, and the launch of WhatsApp Business in early 2018, which allows small business owners to communicate with customers, positively reinforce the trend.

Other findings showed employees trust Microsoft more than any other company to protect their data. Forty-five percent favor Microsoft, followed by Google, which is the clear leader among millennials.

Leaders, Workers Disagree Over Tech

One further piece of research worth noting this week comes from PwC with the impressive title, Our Status with Tech at Work: It’s Complicated (pdf), a global survey of more than 12,000 workers. The overall conclusion is that while enterprises say they’re choosing tech with their people in mind, employees don’t agree.

Furthermore, while 92 percent of C-Suite execs said they’re satisfied with the technology experience their company provides for making progress on their most important work, only 68 percent of staff agree. The disconnect possibly arises from the fact that when tools don’t function the way the boss thinks they should, there’s usually someone to delegate the problem to. Workers, however, have no choice but to muddle through.

That experience gap matters, according to the report. When you don’t have a clear and accurate understanding of how people use technology in their jobs, and what they need and want from those tools, the overall experience people have at work can suffer.

A subpar employee experience can have a ripple effect across the organization, the report says shaping everything from how engaged people are to their enthusiasm for delivering a superior customer experience.

So what do your employees really want? Changing work environments mean more people want greater mobile capabilities, but only 60 percent of employees say they’re satisfied with the mobile options available to them at work. Others want to gain a stronger sense of control by having more input before leaders choose the systems they will use regularly.