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What ECM Challenges will Nuxeo & Simflofy Address Together?

Nuxeo, a New York and Paris, France-based open source enterprise content management (ECM) developer, announced a strategic partnership with Simflofy, a provider of Content Integration Services. The purpose of this collaboration is to help Nuxeo’s customers mitigate the cost, pain, and risk of content migrations typically associated with ECM implementations. How exactly will Nuxeo and Simflofy help organizations intelligently achieve their ECM objectives, you may ask. I inquired Chris McLaughlin, CMO at Nuxeo, with this question and more, however, in order to make more sense of my interview with McLaughlin below, first, I'd like to give a glimpse into both organizations' backgrounds and what they have been up to lately.

What Will Simflofy Bring to Nuxeo?

First and foremost, let's have a look at what Simflofy does and what the value the vendor brings to this equation. Simflofy was founded by Content Management, Data, and Integration experts with over 50 years of combined experience working with 35 of the fortune 100 and a large portion of the fortune 500 and global 5000. Simflofy’s Content Integration Services provides access to content from over twenty different Enterprise Content Management and Electronic File Sync and Share platforms through a single service. However, one thing that the platform can tackle struck me most in particular which is the fact that Simflofy can create a migration to any repository, even a temporary location or none at all. That way, organizations can audit all of the content types and attributes stored in their existing systems, and then find out which document is duplicated or where their expected type matching doesn’t fit the stored content, even before deciding on a new content management platform. After this spring cleaning, users can point Simflofy at the new repository and start their migration. When they determined the right content platform, they can run Simflofy again to migrate their content to the new platform from the previous repositories. Therefore, with this partnership, the vendors strive to enable organizations to get all the benefits of an ECM system without having to move their content. And, when the organization is ready, they can move their content at their own pace, avoiding the pain of a huge migration, according to Eric Barroca, CEO, Nuxeo.

What’s Been Cooking in Nuxeo?

Nuxeo leverages advanced metadata modeling to ensure that knowledge and caseworkers only see the information they need, facilitating efficient, informed decisions. In the latest Forrester Wave for ECM platforms, Nuxeo received a shout out for being an open source content platform architected as a highly scalable content platform for a broad range of content types, addressing use cases for ECM, digital asset management, and case management. Its platform is used by over 1,000 organizations to run business-critical applications, including TBWA, Electronic Arts, Verizon, Sharp, Capital One, and the U.S. Navy.

Since the vendor received a $20 million investment from Goldman Sachs in September 2016, it has been utilizing the investment to advance its technical innovation in order to help enterprises which face increasing content and digital asset management challenges, particularly in terms of the complexity, volume, and diversity of digital content and its delivery channels. In July, for instance, the cloud-native content services provider announced the release of Web UI built on a modern JavaScript stack (Polymer) that leverages Web Components to provide a responsive, configurable and extensible user interface that delivers a compelling new user experience (UX). According to the company’s claim, the Web UI is fully customizable and able to cater to the specific needs of an organization, whether their priorities are digital asset management, enterprise content management or case management.

The Evolution of ECM

As the CEO of Nuxeo also pointed out, the traditional ECM doesn’t cut it anymore as they mostly result in leaving a patchwork of business applications and processes built around different silos. When ECM disrupted the space back in 2000 by consolidating the three fundamental platforms; enterprise document management (EDM), web content management (WCM), and digital asset management (DAM), the point was producing business and personal productivity through integration and simplicity. Well, in reality, since the ECM solutions were offering organizations the illusion of control, it didn’t take them too long to fail at end-user adoption. Some of the table stake functionalities such as filing and classification of documents were not user-friendly and became obsolete, so individuals discovered ways around it. What went wrong was a matter of an approach. Traditional ECM solutions took a single monolithic approach focused on the library aspects of documents which created silos.

Therefore, to me, with this partnership, Nuxeo, once again, demonstrates its commitment to more modern and intelligent approach. Together, Nuxeo and Simflofy aim to provide connectivity to a broad range of siloed content repositories, including legacy ECM systems, business and productivity applications, cloud storage and Electronic File Sync and Share (EFSS) solutions.

Content Silos – You are Going Down!

Just like everything happens for a reason, silos have been formed for some reasons in the first place. One of the most common reasons why they exist, for instance, is the need for organizational structure to avoid chaos. When it comes to creating silos around the company’s content group, the motivation may be their various focus areas. For example, while a content creator in the public relations department is specialized in curating press releases and such, their counterpart in the product development division may focus more on creating technical materials. Have being said, just because content silos have existed for years, doesn’t mean they are here to stay many years more. Though breaking down silos is a joint effort across organizations, it still requires smart use of technology in the creation, assembly, storage, and distribution of content. In recognition of this emerging need combined with the use case where enterprises are demanding for true modern cloud elasticity, technology providers like Nuxeo took the matter into their own hands and embraced a multi-repository approach to managing content regardless of its source repository, and intelligent functions like enterprise search to create agile cost-effective solutions.

Chris McLaughlin Weights In On the New Partnership and the ECM Industry

Following OpenText’ acquisition of Dell EMC, first CTO Jeroen van Rotterdam left to join Citrix as SVP of Technology, then, Rohit Ghai, President of Dell EMC’s enterprise content division stepped down. Lastly, eight months ago, Chris McLaughlin followed suit and steered his ship towards another strong organization, Nuxeo.

On the hot heels of the newly announced partnership, I reached out to Chris McLaughlin, CMO at Nuxeo to pick his brain on the key benefits of the partnership with Simflofy and the importance of breaking down content silos as well as the upcoming trends in the ECM space.

What trends or challenges will this collaboration address for current Nuxeo customers?
McLaughlin: The key trend that we are seeing is that many of our customers are looking for newer, more modern content services platforms to address diverse content, case and digital asset management challenges in their organizations. The unfortunate truth is that most Enterprise Content Management solutions were architected twenty to twenty-five years ago and it is becoming increasingly difficult for customers to leverage these legacy ECM suites to address business challenges in a digital era. From a customer perspective, these legacy solutions are: difficult to scale, upgrade and maintain; expensive to operate; incapable of addressing modern content types like video, audio, and social media; and inflexible, making it difficult, if not impossible, to be agile in response to changing business or competitive conditions.

And, to add to these challenges, most of our customers have five, six, seven or even more existing content solutions in production today, which not only compounds their challenges but also creates fragmented, information silos inside of their organization.

So, as organizations look to modernize how they work with content, this presents an interesting challenge: how to deal with massive amounts of existing content that is trapped inside of existing legacy ECM suites, and how to do so without disrupting their business. This is why we have partnered with Simflofy. With Simflofy, we are able to offer customers a much more intelligent approach to modernizing their content infrastructure. We liken this to an application modernization strategy. Simflofy’s proven architecture and a broad array of out-of-the-box connectors for both legacy and current content management solutions enable customers to:

  1. Leave existing, mission-critical content applications in place, while still allowing Nuxeo to access and retrieve content contained within these applications. This minimizes disruption in the business, while customers deploy Nuxeo for newer content applications. We call this approach content federation.

  2. Quickly and easily migrate content from other applications and repositories, enabling these systems to be decommissioned and allowing customers to immediately begin reducing the costs associated with legacy ECM suites.

  3. And, finally, the collaboration between Nuxeo and Simflofy also enables what we term “lazy migrations” where, over time, customers can continue to access vital content via federation; but, over a period of years, move their most valuable information – the information they directly access and use – to the Nuxeo repository, eventually allowing them to archive their inactive content and decommission even more legacy systems.

Simply put, Nuxeo provides the industry’s most modern, scalable Content Services Platform (CSP). In collaboration with Simflofy, Nuxeo can manage any content, anywhere, regardless of whether it lives in the Nuxeo repository or not. And this gives our customers a complete choice in terms of how they work with existing, legacy content.

Why is it so important to break down content silos?
McLaughlin: Many organizations truly struggle to get a complete view of the information that they use to run their businesses on a daily basis. This is particularly true of unstructured information – or what we like to refer to as content. According to the most recent Gartner estimates, more than 80% of the information in the enterprise is unstructured and the amount of this information is growing at amazing rates. So, if this unstructured information, or content, is spread across any number of siloed systems, how can any organization properly manage its most valuable asset, its information?

Let me give you a practical example. We have a large, international banking customer in Europe who is currently working to comply with MiFID II regulations. In order to do so, they have to maintain a complete view of all of the communications they have sent to each customer in the process of doing business with them. Like any global bank, they have – over the years – grown through merger and acquisition and employ dozens of different systems to produce customer communications. With Nuxeo, they are now able to access all of these communications through a single solution and instantaneously respond to inquiries and audits from regulators.
 
And, we see examples like this across a number of different industries. In banking and insurance, our customers are working to establish a 360-degree view of their customer information. In retail, manufacturing and consumer packaged goods, customers are seeking to better manage all of their brand assets, to avoid the spiraling costs of recreating assets that they already have and to speed distribution of these assets to a rapidly increasing network of digital consumers as well as retailers, distributors and other partner organizations. Finally, in Government, both federal and local agencies are looking to bridge siloes to provide better services to their constituents.

In the ECM space, what trends do you see on the horizon or where do you think we will see the most innovation in the coming months?
McLaughlin: We see a significant number of trends in the ECM. Some of the most important include:

  1. The rapid shift from traditional, ECM suite offerings – often cobbled together through acquisition – to purpose-built Content Services Platforms that are designed to be true information (content) “hubs” for the enterprise.

  2. The increasing importance of the Cloud and Cloud-native ECM architectures that provide greatly improved scalability and performance at a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

  3. The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to better describe unstructured information (content) and to enable CSPs to be more predictive and accurate in the way that they deliver content to knowledge workers.

  4. And, the continued consumerization of the user experience. This is expressed both in terms of mobile-first design paradigms as well as the emergence of new, consumer-grade Content Services Applications that address critical business needs and use cases.

My POV

ECM has been hidden in a single repository world in over a decade. A Forrester study revealed that 93 percent of companies are using multiple repositories to store content, with 31 percent using more than five systems to manage it. Additionally, the findings demonstrated that in the recent two years, 50 percent of respondents have seen a more than 10 percent rise in the volume of unstructured data. As the pace of business and the need for collaboration persist to accelerate, enterprises have been struggling with managing and protecting their sensitive content as well as enabling their multi-cultural teams to collaborate on the same project in real time. To address all these issues, leading ECM vendors like Nuxeo have begun to rethink how enterprise content is managed. I’m really impressed by the approach Nuxeo and Simflofy are taking in terms of empowering their customers – the collaboration enables their customers to choose how they work with existing, legacy content, regardless of whether it lives in the Nuxeo repository or not.

Though these fundamental changes will still undergo an enormous change, fortunately, it is very promising to see that today’s “next-generation” ECM solutions are designed for an effective deployment of web content management, digital asset management and social collaboration platforms that make it easy to develop granular applications, minimizing/eliminating the need for code and incorporating analytics at the core.

Even though the ECM technology evolves and addresses the common issues that enterprises are facing, organizations which run their digital activities in silos will, unfortunately, fail to get the maximum benefit from digital investments. Not to mention exposing themselves to unnecessary levels of risk.

Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.