Kathy Gibson reports from Hyland CommunityLive 2021 – Disruption is driving organisations to really think about their digital experiences and to examine their content and processes in a new light.

The have to become resilient and adaptive, says Cheryl McKinnon, principal analyst at Forrester, who says a recent Forrester Wave report found that 48% of business leaders expect to have a remote workforce, even after the pandemic.

Adaptive enterprise are becoming proactive in rethinking markets and customer needs, she says. They focus on employee experience with ongoing training, access to resources and rewards for being flexible and embracing new things.

These enterprises invest in technology to enable rapid business change, speed delivery and reduce costs.

By adopting a future-fit strategy organisations can become adaptive, creative and resilient.

“It is about having a customer-obsessed approach to technology that enables a company to quickly reconfigure business structures and capabilities to meet future customer and employee needs with adaptivity, creativity and resilience,” McKinnon says.

She adds that the core drivers of a future-fit strategy are platform, practices and partners.

As part of this strategy, companies are shifting the enterprise content management (ECM) strategies to content services.

Forrester finds that the digitisation of processes (49%), automation (34%) and better compliance (34%) are the top drivers for investing in content management.

“ECM is still a healthy and active market,” McKinnon says. “Business leaders are still planning to invest in it.”

The top struggles that organisations continue to have in the ECM landscape are a lack of co-ordinated governance (40%), a lack of available expertise and implementation (35%) and migrating content for old systems to new storage locations (33%).

Among the trends shaping the evolution to content services are artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), which will power intelligent content services for tangible use cases.

These will include packaged, pretrained models for common use cases, graphs to support smarter recommendation; and protection of sensitive information.

“The adoption of intelligent content services is till aspiration, but nearly half of program leaders will be using analytics or automation by 2022,” McKinnon says.

Another trend is the continued shift to cloud content platforms. These are essential for remote and hybrid work as they support remote and flexible work models, the ongoing shift to cloud models or software as a service (SaaS), and the rise of mobility.

Only 13% of enterprises still have no plans to use SaaS; 22% plan to complement with SaaS within 12 months; 23% plan to replace with SaaS within the next 12 months; 41% are currently using SaaS; and 2% don’t know what their SaaS plans are.

“The pandemic response has accelerated the shift to digital business,” McKinnon says. “Organisations are looking to risk and crisis management technologies, to customer experience, employee experience; and health and safety.

“For many of their focus areas, content management and collaboration capabilities are essential.”

Another area that has spiked is the building of resilient business, McKinnon adds.

With remote working, there has been an increase in the use of audio and video tools like chats, video, audio and transcripts – and these are often very large files.

But the rapid adoption of these applications in early 2020 left governance gaps, as well as a lack of awareness about retention, deletion and security policies.

As organisations build their ECM strategies, content microprocesses will connect external stakeholders to essential workflows. As the B2B/B2C use cases for these continue to rise, cloud adoption, licensing and pricing are becoming competitive features.

Knowledge management is set to make a  strong comeback in 2022, as interest in federation rises, along with new value from search, categorisation, recommendation and finding patterns of knowledge work.

“Those employees that describe themselves as highly engaged in the work environments are satisfied with the ability to access the information they need to do their job and use tools to collaborate and share knowledge with the peers,” McKinnon says.

“Many companies are thinking of revitalising the strategies,” she adds. “They need to realise that data doesn’t necessarily mean knowledge, knowledge is curated information – and data and content management systems are key to underpinning the capture and dissemination of knowledge.”

The future of documents will force a new approach to content management, according to Forrester. This will include modular, componentised content, a need to rethink the authoring experience and the value structure in content.

“The content authoring experience is at an inflection point,” McKinnon says. “We are ready to move forward and will start seeing innovation in this space.

“For instance, robots will share the writing credits with humans, structured data will surround the content, distributed ledger technology will hold transaction context for digital records; governance and lifecycle management tactics must transform, document creation and consumption will evolve.

“Remember, today we tend to author for our own eyes – tomorrow, the recipient could be an application, an API or a human.”

As the modern content platform continues to evolve, organisations have to measure the power of a content platform by the value of the applications it delivers.

Among the essential capabilities for a modern content platform are content migration, packaged applications, integration and interoperability, repository at scale and metadata, McKinnon says.


Five lessons learned from the Forrester Wave: Content Platforms research are:

* Cloud now dominates the delivery model for content platform vendors;

* Customer adoption of AI/ML is still nascent;

* Vertical focus matters;

* Core repository and library services are now table stakes; and

* References highlight pricing transparency, integration and professional services.


The research organisation makes the following recommendations:

* Recognise that the generational war has been won. Technology decision-makers demand more flexible, faster to adopt options. The shift from on-premise, monolithic architectures to flexible cloud platforms is happening now.

* Put knowledge protection on the roadmap.

* Think about long-term ownership of valuable data and content at a senior level. Go beyond legal and the CIO.

* Think about the most essential data and content types and where governance can start in the lifecycle.

* Use compliance obligations as a starting point but look beyond them to align with the needs of business. Learn from past success and failures. Plug the gaps in corporate knowledge.