The Shift from ECM to CSP: The Evolution of Managing Content


There is no debate that content, records and documents have always been core to many industries. Whether that be originating a loan or introducing a new drug, the accessibility of the content and its management are crucial to competitiveness, profitability, compliance and more. The demands on IT to ensure smooth and proper flow of this life blood has become even more “interesting” over time.

As more documents became digital, different content management software companies came into the picture. They provided a solution for enterprises to manage and control all their information assets inside a single on-premises system, rather than scattered in a myriad of places across a company. These ECM solutions were built as back-office systems that handled consolidation, workflow, access, etc., for an organization. The primary goal of these content repository solutions was compliance, and very quickly companies found the value of a single solution managing and tracking all their content.

Over time, the ECM market has grown, fragmented, consolidated, expanded and evolved. Companies are no longer simply using one content management solution from a single vendor. Each of these content repository solutions have unique strengths and businesses leverage multiple content management solutions in tandem to meet the needs of how their users consume different types of content. Instead of a single solution to manage all content, companies now are faced with managing multiple content solutions from multiple vendors. This shifts the focus from simply managing content to managing a platform of content services. About a year ago, Gartner released a research note1 stating, “The term ‘enterprise content management’ no longer reflects market dynamics or the organizational needs for content in digital business.”

In addition they explain, “The shift from ECM to content services is an evolution. The technology market is changing and new capabilities are expected, resulting in additional considerations for applications leaders planning content services strategies.”

The changing digital landscape has driven the need to change how we look at and describe the management of our content.

The beauty of this shift is meeting the needs of content users by leveraging the strengths of each piece of the content services platform. However, with any new change comes challenges. More moving parts cause more complexity and a lack of visibility across the entire content stack. Leveraging a solution that can provide active insight across an organization’s entire CSP helps to ensure enhanced customer experience oversight, greater visibility into user behavior and streamlined customer operations – in short, a better content experience.

1Gartner, Reinventing ECM: Introducing Content Services Platforms and Applications, Karen M. Shegda, Karen A. Hobert, Michael Woodbridge, Monica Basso,5 December 2016