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A healthy debate is going on in the information management space about whether file-sharing apps will continue to give enterprise content management systems a run for their money.
Industry watchers say that the usability of file-sharing services makes these apps more than just a glorified storage repository for files that can be accessed from anywhere. File-sharing apps like Box and Dropbox can win the adoption war over enterprise content management (ECM) systems, they say, because they are user friendly and involve just a few clicks to get the job done; moreover, they make it far easier for remote workers to share files without having to go through the cumbersome company firewall. Recent research might corroborate that notion: According to a TrackVia online survey of more than 1,000 employees, more than half admitted to using rogue apps to get their jobs done.
Proponents of ECM, on the other hand, say that file sharing is crude and feature-poor, as well as insecure for important data. ECM software is touted for its sophisticated project workflow tracking and audit trail capabilities. And its more sophisticated editing and collaboration possibilities make ECM a clear front runner for projects that have multiple, dispersed users and a need for good editing and tracking capabilities. Further, they argue, the future of ECM is in the cloud, where workers can get secure documents on-premises, behind the firewall, but also share collaboratively with third parties in the cloud.
Maybe the future is less of an either/or. AIIM New England chapter president and Holly Group consultant Steve Weissman talked with SearchContentManagement about ECM versus file-sharing applications and how companies should decide which route to take.
"The question to start with is, 'What business problem are you trying to solve?'" Weissman said, "because the answer as far as which way to go when it comes to file sharing and content sharing depends on what you're trying to accomplish. There is an equal chance of pursuing a strategy that will turn out to be overkill as one that -- what would you call it -- be underkill. Are you just sharing files … or are you file sharing because you actually want to collaborate on the creation of the content?"
For more, check out this podcast.
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