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Weighing cloud-based ECM vs. file-sharing services

File-sharing services are challenging cloud-based ECM systems by providing basic, easy-to-use functionality. How will this rivalry shape the future of ECM? Join our tweet jam on Nov. 13 to discuss.

Enterprise content management systems are designed to help companies manage their information securely and use workflows to manage data at every stage of a project. Cloud-based ECM systems allow companies to control the flow of information internal to the business, with rigorous permissions and security controls, but also share files and information collaboratively with third parties. But historically, users have found these systems complex and time-consuming to use and have bucked them in favor of simpler technologies, such as shared drives and file-sharing technologies.

File-sharing systems have given ECM vendors a run for their money. Software like Box and Dropbox are intuitive, lightweight and provide the basic functionality that users want without a lot of distracting extras.

In this tweet jam, we'll explore the pros and cons of each technology and talk about what ECM vendors need to do to make their software a truly viable alternative to file-sharing software. With experts on hand to ask questions and guide our Twitter conversation, we'll explore how this landscape is evolving.

Join Lauren Horwitz, executive editor of, and our experts Laurence Hart, Steve Weissman and Ron Miller to discuss the usefulness of file-sharing apps versus cloud-based ECM.

Use the hashtag #cloudecm to join the conversation on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Here are some of the kinds of questions we'd like to cover:

  • What are the differences between cloud-based ECM software and file sharing?
  • Are there situations where file sharing makes more sense, and situations where ECM is more compelling?
  • Are there situations where on-premises-only content management is a better choice?
  • How would you compare the security features between ECM and file sharing?
  • How would you compare workflow and audit trail capabilities between ECM and file sharing? Why should companies care about these features?
  • How do file sharing and ECM compare on collaboration features in general?
  • How do they compare on mobile features?
  • Are companies born in the cloud better positioned to deliver than traditional ECM vendors who have moved to the cloud?
  • How easy is it to search and find the content in file-sharing systems vs. ECM software?
  • Is the future of ECM in the cloud, and does that mean file sharing will be more of a cloud storage technology?
  • Are bite-sized approaches better in the short term but more problematic in the long term?

Our experts

Laurence Hart, an information consultant at Word of Pie and former CIO at AIIM International.

Steve Weissman of the Holly Group consulting firm and the president of the New England Chapter of AIIM.

Ron Miller, an enterprise reporter at TechCrunch and an information management expert.

Lauren Horwitz (@lhorwitz), executive editor of SearchContentManagement (@sContentMgmt)

Join us! The details:

Date: Thursday, Nov. 13

Time: 2-3 p.m. EST


Hashtag: Use and follow #CloudECM

Tweet jam guidelines

To participate, just use the hashtag #CloudECM on Twitter. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when you join us for the tweet jam:

  • Introduce yourself. Before joining the conversation, let us know who you are. Include your name, organization and job title in your first #CloudECM tweet.
  • Tell us what is what. SearchContentManagement will preface a series of questions to followers between the allotted times using Q1, Q2, Q3 and so on. Preface your tweets with A1 (for Answer 1), A2, A3 and so on, and include #CloudECM.
  • Stay within character limits. Remember that Twitter permits 140 characters per tweet. If you've got a lot to say, it's OK to tweet multiple responses to each question.
  • Engage with the community. This is an opportunity to network and connect with Twitter users on the same wavelength. Retweet responses you agree with, and reply to those you don't.
  • Connect with our experts. After the jam, feel free to ask our experts follow-up questions directly.

Please direct questions about the tweet jam to executive editor Lauren Horwitz. Email her at, and follow her on Twitter: @lhorwitz.

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Where do you see ECM technology heading in the future?
I see healthcare and education using ECM in the future. With the affordable health care act they need to have massive storage of people's health care records and ECM will come to the rescue, I also see ECM coming alongside universities with their data to have accurate information that can be transferred to other universities. ECM will help the department of education with FAFSA and government loans with these records as well.