What are the different types of cloud content services?

In previous blogs we’ve covered what constitutes cloud content management and the benefits a cloud-based content management system can bring to your organization. In the final part of our blog series, we’ll take a brief look at the different types of cloud content services available and why hybrid cloud is becoming the preferred adoption model for many organizations.

Cloud content management can be seen as an evolution from traditional enterprise content management (ECM) systems. While ECM focused on control and governance, cloud-based content management solutions have added innovative new features that enhance content accessibility and usability. Research suggests that the cloud-based enterprise content management market is set for impressive growth. For example, HBV Research puts the global market for cloud content management platforms at over $63 billion by 2024.

Grand View Research explains the growth: “ECM in cloud has become an attractive option for any company whose workforce is distributed and need for information required is established on a server with physical access from various locations.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend by making remote and work-from-home a part of everyday business life. The need for secure information sharing between your staff as well as suppliers, partners and customers is making cloud-based content management a pivotal part of the digital transformation strategies for many. In fact, recent research from Forrester found that over 75% of respondents felt improving content management was essential to accelerating their digital business.

What is Cloud Content Management?

The concept behind cloud content management is that your staff shouldn’t have to spend hours each day searching for the information they need to do their job. It should be readily available to them. In addition, content sharing should provide a basis for improved collaboration and innovation both internally and with external partners and customers. The best cloud-based content management solutions should break down information silos and make all content securely available when and where it’s needed.

Cloud content management should deliver:

  • Automated identification, classification and searchability of every type of content
  • Seamless integration of content across all major enterprise applications
  • Business process integration and automation
  • Secure access to content anywhere, any time and on any device
  • Fast and effective internal and external collaboration
  • Embedded AI and machine learning to release full value of content
  • Security and compliance for every industry and national standard and regulation

CMSwire says: “A content management system should allow simultaneously for creation complexity while reducing management complexity.  With so many technologies to manage, the reality is that best CMSs do that through the cloud by adapting to the style of each organization while maintaining data and goal integrity between the entire team across the organization.”

For most organizations, this is achieved through a cloud content management platform such as OpenText Extended ECM Platform and OpenText Documentum that provides centralized management while enabling content to be accessed, managed and distributed by microservices—often called cloud content services—which are customized to any business use case, and delivered directly into the business applications of your employees.

Four types of Cloud Content Management

There are four types of cloud content management system, including:

Entry level

Traditional, on-premise ECM systems were designed as, essentially, digital filing cabinets for records managers and legal departments. The notions of file sharing and collaboration were secondary, often requiring convoluted processes and extra work for users. As a result, employees started to use consumerized, cloud-based file sharing alternatives such as Dropbox, Box and Cloudme. Which, in turn, caused every security, compliance and privacy stakeholder to lose sleep as enterprise content moved beyond the reach of corporate governance control. Consequently, many organizations blocked access to these public, file-sharing apps as they lacked the security and governance that most companies require from their cloud content management solution.

Open source

Growing out of the original market for content management systems (CMS) that help develop and deliver web and mobile presence for an organization, open source cloud content management systems—such as WordPress or Drupal—continue to deliver online communications. However, the focus of these solutions is in the presentation of content and they lack many of the management, collaboration, automation, security and intelligence features of a full cloud-based enterprise content management system.

Enterprise cloud

Enterprise cloud content management systems offer a comprehensive set of content management, security, intelligence and accessibility features. The best cloud-based content management platforms—such as OpenText Extended ECM Platform or OpenText Documentum—build on their management and governance features to deliver enhanced levels of content accessibility, sharing and usability. The goal for content management in the cloud is to accentuate central control by automatically delivering the content to where the user can gain the most value.

Hybrid cloud

This is the immediate future for most organizations. Hybrid cloud content management combines elements of on-premise and cloud-based content management capabilities. Hybrid cloud is an attractive option for organizations for two main reasons. One, it allows enterprises to avoid an all-or-nothing approach and shift to cloud adoption at their own pace via a path that works best for them. Secondly, it eases trepidation related to control of sensitive and personal data that must remain behind their corporate firewall. This adoption model lets the company choose from the best of both on-premise and cloud functionality. As the name suggests, there are numerous ways to configure hybrid cloud content management systems to meet the specific needs of each individual organization.

The growth of hybrid cloud

For companies looking to drive innovation, adopting cloud platforms and integration tools is a big step in the right direction. Cloud content management platforms provide flexibility, enable business agility and faster scalability, and eliminate the burden of upgrades and infrastructure investment. However, the reality is, the majority of content is still stored and created on-premise today.

Regardless of the security and privacy concerns that remain in some organizations, the practical truth is that few organizations can ‘rip-and-replace’ to a cloud first strategy. A hybrid cloud approach delivers a means to bring on-premises and cloud content management systems together, often complementing the platforms with built-to-purpose SaaS business applications. In this way, you can access the benefits of cloud for content management straightaway while putting in place a phased approach to migration that meets your business and budget requirements.

Apart from practical considerations, there are more reasons for organizations to choose a hybrid cloud model. As the table below demonstrates, Forrester research has found that hybrid cloud delivers significantly more strategic business benefits than using a cloud content management system.

Graph demonstrating what benefits has your organization experienced as a result of its cloud approach for content storage, management, and collaboration?

While the expected benefits are relatively equal when it comes to operational measures such as productivity, security and usability, the survey respondents saw the strength of the hybrid deployment model lying in areas such as improved customer satisfaction, faster sales cycles, improved collaboration and increased innovation.

Why select OpenText as your cloud content management provider

OpenText is recognized as one of the leading cloud content management companies. As a pioneer in ECM, content services and cloud technology, we offer complete, end-to-end content management solutions that are customizable to provide flexible deployments of cloud content management platforms—whether on-premise, cloud-based or hybrid—that meet your specific business requirements.


Alison Clarke

Alison is Director, Product Marketing for OpenText Content Suite and Extended ECM. Alison and her team are passionate about helping organizations use content services technologies to distill more value from information, supporting the needs of individuals and teams to improve productivity and strengthen information governance for the organization with content services-enabled solutions.

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