Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network, typically the internet. With the power of cloud computing, small businesses can enjoy the same level of IT infrastructure as Fortune 500 companies with vastly limited overhead.
End users access cloud based applications through a web browser or a light weight desktop or mobile application while the business software and data are stored on servers at a remote location. Cloud application providers strive to give the same or better service and performance than if the software programs were installed locally on end-user computers.
In the past, all of a business computing would have to be done by its own servers. Now that we can compute over the web, servers do not have to be located within business offices, and with cloud computing, they do not even have to be owned by the business!
In addition to hosted servers, small businesses can now purchase software as a service (SaaS) that is hosted online and completely scalable. With software purchased as a service, a small business no longer needs IT personnel on site to install and maintain software and hardware. SaaS allows businesses to purchase software without multi-year contracts and without painful software installation.
An added benefit of cloud computing is its document storage capabilities. The cloud revolutionizes the way you store and access data. A great way for businesses to harness the power of the cloud is by utilizing cloud content management systems that store and organize documents online. By doing this, a business can securely leverage all the benefits of cloud computing for its content. Accessibility, scalability, sharing and collaboration are only a few of the benefits cloud content management can offer.
Because on-premise enterprise content management (ECM) software requires significant commitment of time and money, only big organizations have been able to take advantage of the efficiency, productivity, and cost savings of automated document management and workflow. These organizations can afford highly-customized on-premise systems that help them gain competitive advantage over smaller rivals.
Cloud enterprise content management solutions level the playing field for organizations of any size. Now, the smallest company or any budget-pinched department within a larger organization can have all the computing power, and the efficiency and productivity gains of the biggest companies.
The cloud enterprise content management (ECM) offers tremendous advantages over traditional on-premise content management software implementations. Solving a typical content management business problem requires the integration of multiple technologies like document management, workflow, scanning, capture, email management, etc.
For many organizations this involves a lengthy implementation process from initial business specifications to hardware and technology planning to cross-departmental functional groups to actual software installation and customization. It may be many months from the initial business need for a content management solution to the actual workable solution.
A cloud ECM solution, however, comes as a pre-loaded and immediately usable business solution. A cloud enterprise content management platform is accessible via an internet connection. There is no need to add additional modules or pay for expensive and time consuming integration services. A business unit can be up and running in days with an enterprise content management and workflow solution, while the on-premise ECM software implementation project remains stuck in its planning phase.
In content management, these advantages play an even larger role in project success. This is why analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester predict cloud providers to grow much faster than on-premise ECM software vendors in the coming years.
Benefits of Cloud Content Management
With no hardware or software to install and no servers to buy, cloud content management virtually has no setup time. So, it can be deployed very quickly.
For a typical enterprise content management (ECM) solution to work, it requires that all of its components be available when they are needed. An implementation that includes multiple technologies like document management software, automated workflow, scanning equipment, document capture, email management, etc.. means that each will have a service lifecycle, and a service level, that will need to be monitored and tracked to keep the entire solution in working order.
A cloud content management solution, however, offers an application available anytime and from any internet browser. With cloud content management, you have all of your data right at your fingertips. By managing your documents online, information is always accessible and data can be shared instantly.
Since it can be accessed anywhere, cloud content management systems allow any authorized personnel to access and collaborate on content. Sharing lets you get information to those who need it instantly, and from anywhere in the world. With cloud content management, you can bring important documents to everyone in your business.
Solving a typical enterprise content management (ECM) business problem requires the integration of multiple technologies like document management, workflow, scanning, document capture, email management, etc. In the installed content management software world, this often means a great deal of time and dollars dedicated to making multiple technologies work together.
By contrast, content management technologies can be integrated in a cloud, including capture, document management, workflow, e-signature, eForms and much more.
When it comes to enterprise content management (ECM) solutions, on-premise software carries a large price tag. Add up the software license, implementation services, additional hardware and networking costs, and annual maintenance fees and on-premise content management software can be out of reach of many organizations. Cloud ECM solutions, however, offer a highly-affordable alternative to automate document-intensive processes.
Not only are initial costs much lower, but the cloud content management model also brings you reduced costs over the long-term. There are no servers or software to administer and no annual maintenance fees. This is one of the major reasons why organizations that start with one cloud application, such as content management and workflow, tend to seek cloud solutions for subsequent applications.
ECM Cloud platform offers the highest level of security. There are additional security controls within the cloud solution where typical on-premise content management products do not have them.
Enhanced Business Agility
In a cloud, content management solutions can be quickly and easily tailored to meet your changing document management and workflow needs. In addition, there is an ability to take advantage of new features and enhancements as they become available.