In 2016, Gartner suggested the replacement of the well known ECM acronym (Enterprise Content Management) with CSP (Content Services Platform) to reflect the expanded use of multiple content platforms and services. Now in 2021, not only is CSP gaining more traction, but experts debate whether it truly replaces ECM or is an entirely different system.
So What is Content Services Platform?
A Content Services Platform, or CSP, is a set of services that share common APIs and repositories. It delivers an all-in-one suite that solves multiple problems and use cases across a company. While the well-known Enterprise Content Management system uses multiple business processes to solve operational goals relating to content, CSPs are more concerned with the strategy behind dealing with the content. In other words, an ECM is a reactive system focused on storing and using content, where a CSP is a proactive, serviced based system focused on creating more agile systems that grow with a company.
Additionally, a notable difference between an ECM and a CSP is how users access information. ECMs traditionally house company-wide information in a dashboard viewed in a web portal. This is a great one-stop shop, but does require going to a special location to search through your company’s information. A CSP, on the other hand, uses cross-company integration that allows your content to be accessed whether you’re in a web portal, mobile app, or through third-party application integration. Depending on your current business processes, content repositories, and data governance requirements, one solution may be preferable over another.
Which Solution Should You Look For?
Since the official retirement of ECMs in 2016, some companies have opted to rebrand their products to give a more holistic view that CSPs offer. However, your company may opt to stay with a ‘traditional’ ECM. Here are some great reasons why a company may choose each!
ECMs May Suit a Company Better If;
- You still utilize multiple repositories and need one area for users to access information
- You need superior data governance like that provided by Unity
- Your company has opted to upgrade individual repositories vs a massive overhaul of content management strategy
- You have systems that may not be compatible with current CSPs on the market
- A fresh start by creating a strategy to deal with content as reliance on it grows
- A deeper integration with your everyday business tools, requiring multiple access points throughout the business process
- Cloud native abilities such as easily configurable cloud-based storage and integration, with a combination of storage solutions used together, on-premises or in the cloud.
- Your company seeks better AI and machine-learning integration into your business process
- Your company needs something that is scalable and flexible for your future needs, with a low-code or no-code set up process.
Overall, CSPs took what ECMs could not scale up to do, and made it better. Where ECMs were designed to be an overarching single storage solution for everything your enterprise needed, CSPs address an expanded set of possibilities, to help you link, compile, and manage information no matter where it is stored, while also helping you learn from your data through newer data analytics techniques.
Are CSPs really that different than ECMs, or are they a newer version, offering wider and deeper integration, to give businesses the document management and access they really need?