• December 22, 2008
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

On-demand Content Management Sprung

California-based enterprise content management solutions provider SpringCM released its 5.0 solution on December 9th. SpringCM 5.0 is the company's first on-demand platform. Typically, content management implementations have been multimillion dollar endeavors paired with an equally steep learning curve, experts say. With an on-demand solution, SpringCM aims to connect siloed departments through a single, standardized platform without the inflexibility and cost of installed software.

"The challenge with content management is that a lot of the traditional solutions have just been too costly [and] too disruptive to solve the common content problems businesses have," says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research. What SpringCM has done with this release, she says, is not only make it more cost effective, but also reduce the risks associated with automating key processes that rely on content, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, as well as contract proposal and records management and compliance.

The company boasts the integration of 22 enterprise content management technologies, some of which include:

  • spanning imaging;
  • document capture;
  • search;
  • version control;
  • business process automation; and
  • e-mail and records management.

Currently, Wettemann says, on-demand CM solutions have been very powerful particularly in record management functions-in government, legal, or healthcare-where paper-based information need to be managed electronically or automated within a systematic workflow. For the most part, however, traditional CM implementations, such as IBM's FileNet Content Manager or Open Text Corporation's ECM offering, have been very bulky and often work only in individual departments.

According to SpringCM, the problem with ECM today is precisely that there is no "E" in ECM. No single vendor can comprehensively address all of a company's CM needs, thus requiring significant investment in disparate technologies on top of the cost to integrate, the company says. Consequently, the total cost of ownership can reach up to five times the cost of the software, and businesses inevitably endure long lead times and high risks, especially when a new content problem arises and the existing system needs to be restructured. Going on-demand, Wettemann says, will enable large enterprises to consolidate and standardize CM much more easily.

Moreover, with on-demand CM, Wettemann adds, vendors now have the opportunity to address the expansive market of small and midsize businesses to offer a solution that isn't cost-prohibitive. "What SpringCM and some of the other on demand CM vendors [like Digitech] are doing is what Salesforce has done for the Siebels of the world three years go," Wettemann says.

"Content management has the advantage of not being the first to move to on-demand," Wettemann says. She notes that Digitech already offers data center walkthroughs and will agree to deliver a copy of the data every night if businesses elect for this service. "They've already thought of the ramifications of moving content outside the enterprise to an on-demand environment," she says. "They have some reasonable strategies for reassuring consumers."

On-demand CM is only recently making its way to the forefront of business technologies. Adoption, Wettemann says, is still fairly new. It will require vendors like SpringCM to make the business case for content management and convey the opportunities not only for increasing bottom-line cost savings but for improving the productivity of its users. Salesforce.com, she notes, successfully helped businesses understand the pains of traditional CRM that even they didn't recognize. "What we need is the voice of SpringCM to help people understand that [content management] is an unnecessary pain and that there's an option with on-demand that makes a lot of sense in terms of cost, risk, and accessibility of usage," she says.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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