Digital transformation is top of mind for most organizations today, and we all know that in order to survive and thrive in the modern business world, the enterprise needs to effectively leverage their digital assets.
Many technologies and solutions claim to help in this endeavor. However, a Content Services Platform (CSP) is uniquely-suited to help companies transition away from archaic and inefficient approaches to managing information and instead to a path towards digital transformation that will deliver greater efficiencies and drive the bottom line.
Here are three reasons why investing in a CSP can be the key to unlocking the value of digital transformation within your organization.
Utilizing Legacy Systems Is Critical
In order to move forward, we often have to address the issues of the past - and never more so is this evident than with the need to digitally transform legacy applications within a business. Research from AIIM has identified that 75% of organizations recognize that getting access to the information locked in legacy systems is vital, and this is a core requirement to achieve true digital transformation.
The need to leveraging existing legacy systems poses many challenges, arguably the biggest of which is the amount of valuable information that is seemingly locked away or otherwise inaccessible to many in the organization.**
Leveraging this information doesn’t necessarily mean moving away from the legacy system to something new however - at least not in the short term. A good Content Services Platform will integrate with legacy applications (and other core business solutions), map the metadata of the legacy system to the CSP, and ultimately get federated access to the information and content from that legacy system.
Simple federated search (i.e., access to the content stored within the legacy application) is step one, but once this is achieved it is relatively straightforward to start building new applications on top of the centralized information managed by the CSP. And this all gets really interesting when you start connecting multiple legacy applications together, allowing solutions to be built on information that comes from multiple sources, providing the end-user with all the information they need from multiple systems and repositories in one place.
If a digital transformation initiative within an organization has one overriding goal above all others, it should be to connect disparate information sources within the business, and to serve as a central hub for the delivery and exploitation of information assets within the business.
Users Want Their Work Tools To Be Like Their Personal Apps
When was the last time you used a system at work that delivered as much value as the ones you use in your personal life? It doesn’t happen very often for most people. But modern information workers are expecting this more and more. That means not just mobile- and cloud-enabled applications, but applications that do specific things and solve specific problems.
That concept is somewhat alien to traditional enterprise software - where a standard interface for all users is commonplace. But to deliver digital transformation, users need to be engaged, so the status quo is not going to be good enough. So how can a CSP help?
Well, one of my favorite terms relating to Content Services Platforms is content in context - or basically giving users the right information, at the right time, and allowing them to do relevant and useful things with that information. This capability is often hard to describe from a software angle, as everyone has very specific requirements, but from a CSP perspective, this is the ability to allow organizations, teams —— and of course end-users —— to create personalized solutions, without requiring custom code.
This flexible, rapid application development facility sits directly on top of the single, metadata-driven view of all of the information throughout the business. That means that solutions can be built to show information from multiple sources, to combine previously disparate processes, and to integrate modern, cloud-based services such as GIS mapping, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered analytics, and more.
And the best thing? Because these solutions can be built quickly and are mobile ready from the onset, you can build specific, app-like solutions that literally solve one part of the puzzle. Deliver that, and then build another, and another - all using the same information and development platform, which reduces custom code and minimizes support and maintenance requirements.
This level of personalization, built on top of a common and standardized platform, can not only speed digital transformation, but it can do so in a repeatable manner that delivers both short term return on investment (ROI) and long term reduced total cost of ownership (TCO).
Process Is Still King - But Not In The Way It Used To Be
One of the main areas that enterprise content management (ECM) systems were used within organizations for was to automate processes. Typical processes ripe for automation included accounts payable and receivable processing, HR onboarding and employee file management, and digital mailroom management. These processes were all largely transactional, meaning that they dealt with a high volume of documents and information within a well defined process.
The results achieved by automation were very impressive, but many organizations never delivered automation within their business. Why? Often because their own business processes were not well defined or rigid enough to be able to codify within an ECM system environment. Others failed because their processes needed information from multiple systems, and that level of integration was not possible at the time.
But this is all changing. Recent research from AIIM and Nuxeo has found that process automation is still the number one driver for using information management, but the way in which organizations are looking to automate is changing.
By definition most of the work that knowledge workers do within a business follows a process, but typically not a rigid one. For example, the onboarding of a new employee within a business always follows the same steps: creation of employee record, addition to corporate domain and email systems and so on. But the recruitment of an employee in contrast is very much an ad-hoc process. Yes, there are phases to the process and key milestones that need to be met in order to move between those phases, but the collection of information and content - and the timing around these - is definitely not fixed.
These ad hoc processes need to combine information and content from multiple sources, and deliver it to the end user via a personalized interface and solution that can drive the process- at the appropriate time. ECM solutions did not deal with these types of processes well but to achieve digital transformation, these are exactly the aspects of the business that need to be addressed. This is exactly what I have described earlier in this post and to reiterate, this is exactly what a Content Services Platform can deliver.
Digital transformation is not a “nice to have” - it has become a critical initiative for enabling enterprises to remain competitive today, and into the future. The technology to deliver digital transformation is here now, and Content Services Platforms form a core part of that toolset.
By combining the best of traditional ECM solutions with cloud, mobile, AI, and system integration capabilities, a CSP serves as the foundation for digital transformation that can revolutionize every business.