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Info360 conference to emphasize social, cloud, mobile

The annual Info360 conference will illustrate the new challenges content management professionals are facing.

The overriding trend of social, cloud and mobile that has been dominating content management of late will be on full display at Info360 conference in New York next week.

Sessions are divided into 14 tracks, including enterprise content management (ECM), Web content management (WCM), records management and information governance, among others. But it’s the “increasingly social, mobile and cloud-based environments” that have focused a concentration on the convergence trend.

“It is called SoCloMo -- social cloud mobile -- it’s a three-in-one actually,” said Irina Guseva, who will be speaking at the conference. Guseva is a senior analyst at the Real Story Group in Olney, Md.

Guseva said the content management marketplace is changing and that vendors are developing products that are moving away from simply managing content for the Web. Increasingly they are managing content as well as the mobile and social media experiences people have as they work with content on the Web as well as other channels. Look for vendors to take more than baby steps in social media and develop more sophisticated capabilities.

“These will help organizations move beyond the basics and integrate with more personalized and more relevant content for their customers and visitors,” she said.

An elastic cloud
Another part of the convergence equation that content professionals can expect to see at Info360 has to do with cloud services, the real value of which is the elasticity it can provide, Guseva said.

“There are many flavors [of cloud services], private or public; and with respect to ECM and WCM, you can have hosted cloud and then there are managed services,” she said.

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According to Guseva, the pure cloud involves no on-premises hardware, potentially quicker startups and a monthly bill. It’s valuable to enterprises that need to act quickly, especially on the content delivery side, such as adding servers and turning servers off in a fast-changing market. It also might simplify disaster recovery efforts for enterprises that use the cloud in that capacity.

It’s the elasticity in cloud services that is part of the reason larger enterprises are deploying Software as a Service (SaaS), said Scott Bils, a partner at Everest Group, a Dallas consultancy that focuses on the global services industry. Bils, who leads the IT practice at Everest, explained that a second trend he is seeing is “more and more people exploring the private cloud model, where enterprises have more control over infrastructure.”

Bils said it was imperative for chief information officer to prepare their IT departments to adopt cloud, mobility and other technology. “Cloud is going to fundamentally disrupt the traditional IT organization models, and CIOs need to think proactively how that is going to work.”

In organizations slow to adapt, Bils said, business users are making their own choices, and in some cases, 25% of IT budgets are being spent by end users on cloud service providers. “IT has to think about how they are going to deliver cost-effective services to their customers and keep those dollars in the organization.”

IT is in an untenable situation, according to Jesse Wilkins, the director of research and development at AIIM in Silver Spring, Md. Wilkins said it's time for IT departments to move tasks like system maintenance to the cloud.

The SaaS market is maturing, he said, explaining that organizations are becoming more comfortable trusting cloud services and that, in many cases, security was a “red herring.” For example, he said, there's no reason an organization shouldn’t offload its data center to the cloud. Doing so will help free up IT to drive innovation and business value.

A SoCloMo convergence
As organizations realize the business value in instituting social media, IT will need to be part of the formula. “Not having social is almost like not having a website or even a telephone,” Wilkins said. “Competitors aren’t just going to pass them; they’re going to lap them.”

And finally, attendees of Info360 should look for the adoption of mobile technology as a related trend, according to Wilkins. It's another drain on IT resources, especially as a younger generation of workers brings its favored devices along.

“Mobile is about ubiquity,” Guseva said, explaining that the challenge in accommodating so many different devices will be twofold: to deliver the same content properly to all devices and to deliver personalized content based on the device and location of the user. “And,” she added, “there should be no breakage points in the experience.”

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