Alfresco's New Platform Powers Digital Transformation
Alfresco announced the biggest platform rollout in the company’s history, the Digital Business Platform, to deliver customizable, content-rich digital process automation. Available on-premises, in the cloud, or as a hybrid deployment, the platform combines Alfresco’s open-source enterprise content management and business process management services. Following the product release, CMS-Connected reached out to Chris Wiborg, Vice President of Product Marketing at Alfresco, to inquire what the new platform means for customers and the Enterprise Content Management market.
During the interview, Wiborg briefly touched upon on the three milestones of content management marketing and said that the first phase was understanding the concept of digitalization, where people moved away from the analog world to structure things into a digital format. According to him, this phase gave rise to the traditional ECM market. After that, he talked about the second phase, where businesses focused on serving up the right content at the right time. This focus drove the demand for purchasing a set of various applications. The complication people faced at that point though, was not knowing how to combine and manage all those applications which gave rise to the business process management market, Wiborg believes. He actually gave a great quote on this topic that he heard from one of his clients: “There is no content without workflow, there is no workflow without content” Lastly, he elaborated on the third phase which the business world is approaching now; the quest for digital transformation, also the driving factor behind Alfresco’s new release.
Like Chris Wiborg, for many of us, hearing of this term begs the question: Aren’t we already there? Well, the answer is no! There are so many studies out there telling us that many organizations have just started heading down the path of digitalization. I mean of course, almost every single business transformed some of their business tasks into the digital environment but what we are talking about here is a holistic approach to digital transformation.
According to Alfresco, the automation and integration of process, content, and governance are the first steps of digital transformation. Therefore, this capability of Alfresco is considered as one of its differentiators. With the new release, the vendor aims at helping enterprises quickly build new content, processes and governance apps. For instance, an insurance company can securely automate the entire handling of an auto insurance claim, from the moment the customer call is received, to the processing of the record with claim handlers and adjusters, to auto shop reimbursement, to timely customer notification throughout each step. An integrated platform providing process, content and governance services exposed via openRESTful APIs to enable organizations to build collaboration, case management, and compliance solutions. With the new release, Wiborg also said that Alfresco moved away from the product-centric mindset to a platform-focused mindset.
If you are interested in the statics and the challenges of Digital Transformation, I highly recommend you checking out one of our most read articles entitled Transforming to a Digital Future Today.
The Application Development Framework
“The second step is to integrate application development – the prime factor that enables businesses to respond quickly and remain agile to support ever changing business needs and market conditions, address the threats of new competitors and meet regulatory requirements,” said John Newton, CTO and Founder of Alfresco.
Amazon AWS Optimized Deployment
As we reported in November, Alfresco announced early access availability of its Alfresco platform as a single-tenant managed service hosted in an Amazon Web Services Virtual Private Cloud, which lets you provision a logically isolated section of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud where you can launch AWS resources in a virtual network.
During the interview, Chris Wiborg stressed how excited they are about the partnership with Amazon. He said that with Alfresco Quick Start, users can build a full production environment and it takes roughly only 42 minutes. He claimed that the platform rapidly shrinks the time and effort of deploying Alfresco down from days to a matter of minutes. The solution seems to be well received in the market as Alfresco had a 150,000-seat deployment up and running in six weeks thanks to Alfresco Quick Start.
Changing landscape of ECM
Yesterday, here at CMS-Connected, we published an article on the future of ECM entitled Death of ECM, Birth of Content Services. In the article, we discussed if ECM will die or live on in new clothing. In the light of all these changes within the industry, Laura asked Chris Wiborg if the new release means Alfresco is moving away from categorizing itself as an ECM company. He said: “I certainly wouldn’t say that we have gotten out of that business.” However, he agrees that the market has shifted in recent years. In the past, he said, the perception of ECM was inflexible centralized documents repository that the folks in IT used to forcing people to check in and check out the document. He believes that gone are the days of utilizing traditional ECM. Today, their customers want to explore the ways of integrating content services and process services into different experiences and more bespoke solutions that people are building.
According to the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for ECM 2016 report, Alfresco has been slow to introduce native integration via connectors or plug-ins with ERP and other popular LOB solutions. However, with the new release, the open platform integrates with applications such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, Google Drive, SAP, and Salesforce.com so users can orchestrate content within a single, integrated workflow when it comes to versioning, permissions, security and records management.
Having strategic technical partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Salesforce is leveraging Alfresco’s platform. The vendor has recently been focusing on platform expansion, optimization, scalability, and extensibility thus the newly announced platform seems to be a good indicator, telling us that the company is heading in the right direction.