Extending ECM to Office 365 fills in missing pieces
Over the past two years there’s been a lot of discussion about the future of ECM. Some old-timers form the vanguard by defending ECM systems that are (quite honestly) sometimes challenging to deploy, manage and use. Others like how products such as Dropbox, Box, and Microsoft OneDrive for Business are easier and cheaper to deploy, and advocate electronic file synch and share (EFSS) instead. There’s also the middle ground—managing documents with Microsoft SharePoint On Premises and SharePoint Online, even if these types of approaches are not as ready-to-run as EFSS.
Choosing is neither as simple nor as stark as the proponents say. Virtually every SMB and enterprise needs a combination. At a minimum, their needs depend on the:
- different types of users and usage within the organization, as well as partners and customers (e.g., individuals, workgroups, and departmental; and also casual or frequent users)
- value and risk associated with content for customers and internal operations (e.g., customer correspondence, safety documentation, maintenance records, clinical trials, contracts, new drug approvals, GMF compliance, etc.)
- proliferation of content from an explosion of sources (including social, mobile and cloud)
- location of content—whether on-premises, in the cloud or hybrid
There’s a big difference between 1) the system needed for an individual or workgroup—say for a budget report or internal presentation, and 2) mission-critical business content related to customers. That’s why high-end ECM continues to be, and should be, installed to manage crucial documents. It’s also why EFSS has spread like wildfire for individuals and workgroups, and why Microsoft SharePoint Online appeals to such a plethora of businesses and Office 365 is near ubiquitous.[i]
Therein lies a challenge. How do individuals using content in a high-end ECM system also manage their day-to-day documents for individual, workgroup and departmental use? Must they learn multiple systems and log into one product after another to complete their daily tasks? This could happen if the organization lacks a content strategy including extended enterprise content management (xECM.)
Forward thinking organizations integrate their content using these principles:
- Contextual – the user can access content within the context of his or her standard work environment, without learning another system with a different U/I
- Relevant – content metadata is shared or easily accessed
- Simple – individual, workgroup and departmental systems are easy to use and simple to deploy; simplicity is aligned to the relatively lower business value of the documents
- Controlled –content for mission-critical, core business processes with high value and/or high risk is managed in a more rigorous environment.
- Integrated – authenticated workers can access both types of content systems in support of their jobs.
Extending ECM through OpenText’s Content Suite integration with SharePoint On Premises and Office 365 (including a hybrid environment), is one way that organizations can apply these principles. The integration supports: 1) migrating content from Office 365 to the ECM system, 2) extending archival and records management to Office 365, 3) integrating business applications such as ERP, CRM and HRM with Office 365 through Content Suite and 4) allowing users to access cloud-based and on-premises content. Organizations can also implement information governance and compliance rules across the Microsoft and Open Text xECM product sets. Importantly, xECM illustrates one way for managing ECM across a spectrum of content needs, uses and business value.
For more on using xECM to integrate content with enterprise business applications, such as CRM, see this blog post.
[i] Microsoft’s Q4 2015 earnings call stated that Office 365 is used in four out of five Fortune 500 companies.