Everyone knows that cloud and mobile platforms are game changers, offering a long list of benefits. At the top of the list is improved sharing and collaboration. Knowledge workers have always looked for better, faster ways to share and collaborate. It should come as no surprise that they have readily adopted Microsoft® SharePoint®, Microsoft® SharePoint® Online, and other cloud-based repositories.
In recent years, users have been moving more and more of their work processes away from their on-premises Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system and into these online applications. According to AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management), as many as 30 percent of users already use “unofficial cloud file-sharing tools” in the workplace.
Unfortunately, there is a dark side—at least in terms of security and governance.
While these online applications excel for their easy-to-use portal interfaces, they generally lack robust document and records management capabilities. As described by AIIM, this “renegade approach to information sharing completely blindsides the organization—the information now resides outside of all governance, permission and security systems, and quite literally has gone AWOL.”
Limited Support for 100% Cloud ECM
While the move to the cloud is a near certainty—the benefits are simply too hard to pass up—it is also becoming clear not all content will migrate there in the near future. Many organizations are simply not comfortable moving highly sensitive ECM content at this point.
In a 2016 AIIM study about cloud and mobility, less than 20 percent of information management stakeholders believe 100 percent cloud ECM is suitable for their operations. Security and reliability are their primary concerns. Not only do these systems contain proprietary information, but in many cases business processes and third-party integrations are built on top of them—applications that are critical to everyday operations.
Balancing the Opposing Needs of Stakeholders
It’s a balancing act. Knowledge workers want faster, easier ways of working. And they are willing to bypass restrictive corporate policies to get things done. Those charged with managing risk and security, however, want content securely governed on premises.
What is the best way forward? The best approach is to provide tools that do not restrict users—yet provide the level of security and reduced risk the organization needs.
Hybrid ECM: Best of Both Worlds
Hybrid ECM is an excellent and increasingly acceptable option. In the same 2016 AIIM study mentioned above, the majority of respondents viewed Hybrid ECM as offering the best of both worlds. The entire organization benefits from using the on-premises ECM system for securing, managing, and archiving sensitive enterprise content—and also using a cloud-based application like Microsoft SharePoint Online, for example, to enable easier sharing and collaboration with outside partners and vendors.
Synchronization is Key
Synchronization technologies are integral to any Hybrid ECM solution. They integrate the cloud-based file-sharing application with the on-premises ECM application and automatically move or copy content to ensure governance. Here are some typical scenarios:
- Archiving—content is moved from the cloud/SharePoint into the on-premises ECM system for governance and archiving
- Publishing—content is moved from the on-premises ECM system into the cloud/SharePoint for publishing
- Synchronization—when content is duplicated in more than one location, synchronization ensures changes in either location are applied to both
At the end of the day, the best solution requires little or no effort from the end user. It works seamlessly to support the use of cloud-based sharing repositories while minimizing the dark side—the proliferation of unintegrated, ungoverned content and its risk to the organization.
OpenText™ eDOCS offers automated, easy-to-use tools for synchronizing content into your DM. As part of the eDOCS solution, synchronization capabilities are available through eDOCS DM as well as through our SharePoint Integration module. To learn more, visit our microsite.