Is Enterprise File Sharing and Sync (EFSS) the Death of Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
The management of information within the enterprise is changing, as businesses become more mobile, engaged and open. In a nutshell, EFSS refers to a service that enables users to store their files in the cloud or on premise storage and access them remotely via web browser or mobile devices. ECM on the other hand can be defined as systematic processes that enable businesses to store, search and deliver crucial content efficiently and effectively.
Today’s enterprise IT has to balance between an end user’s desires to have an ‘easy to use’ solution that works on all their devices with a broader strategy that enables them to effectively build and disseminate information. Does flexibility win over control, or does compliance requirements trump ease of use?
Along Came EFSS
When consumer cloud storage services emerged, users were immediately drawn to their simplicity, the intuitive user experience they provide, their remote accessibility and the ease of collaboration and sharing they provide. Workers all over the globe were quick converts mainly because they had grown tired of the bulky, difficult-to-use proprietary enterprise content management systems.
Consumerization enabled employees to define how, when and where they wish to interact with corporate content. Shortly after, companies began to see the value of moving their various apps to the cloud. It is this disruption that has prompted some vendors and analysts to wonder weather EFSS tools can replace traditional enterprise content management solutions.
The Demise of Conventional ECM
Its no secret that file sharing and sync services have emerged to challenge conventional ECM software. However, whether or not the rise of file sharing services in the enterprise spells doom for enterprise content management applications is still a subject of debate. While EFSS is largely focused on collaboration, user experience and speed, ECM is focused on control, security, and compliance. Content management platforms were build for a vast range of purposes, facilitating the control and capture of content throughout its life-cycle. They therefore tend to offer more robust features, including tighter security, work-flow controls and security.
Despite their robustness, today’s workforce has demonstrated time and time again that they want easy-to-use applications that provide them with remote, 24/7 access, regardless of their location. While some enterprise content management application vendors may maintain that file-sharing and sync applications are lacking in certain avant-garde functionality like permissions and security, work-flows and audit trail; EFSS has come along way.
Two Markets Converge
ECM vendors have begun noting the success of file sharing and synchronization. This has prompted them to start adding EFSS-type functionality to their content management platforms. But it may be a case of too little to late, EFSS tools have already gained wide acceptance in the enterprise. Some of the EFSS tools currently in the market have enough functionality to be classified as ECM apps; making them the ideal choice for both on-premise traditionalists as well as those who simply wish to leverage mobility and cloud to transform their business.
With added compliance capabilities and security, enterprise file sharing and synchronization not only provide access to data stored in their dedicated remote repositories, they also facilitate secure access to data stored in on-premises network drives. With EFSS, you would essentially be getting an ECM platform with more collaboration features at a fraction of the cost. File sharing and sync tools may not be a direct replacement for ECM entirely, but they will certainly eat into some of the use cases. In the long run, file sharing solutions with directly compete with established ECM solutions.
Author: Gabriel Lando
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