Is ECM dead? Are Content Services the new kids on the block!

Salman Lakhani

30 Aug, 2017


2 min read

content services

It Can’t Be True…

Ask anyone in the tech world and they’ll tell you that between new trends, new features or even simply new approaches, things change so quickly and dramatically that you can practically feel the sand shifting beneath your feet. In the tech world, even old stalwarts can prove nothing more than a passing fad. One area where we are now seeing this shift is in Enterprise Content Management (ECM).  With some going so far as to say ECM is dead and the new strategy is content services.

How Did This Happen?

Back around the time that it was trendy to freak out over Y2K, ECM looked promising as a way to boost business and personal productivity. By allowing users to develop Content Management applications. Which could be seamlessly integrated with other systems as needed. Alas, as with most good things, the reality was somewhat different. ECM failed in part because it violated a key rule: to be user-centric. Prominent functionalities, such as the filing and classification of documents, were so lacking that it prompted users to find ways around it.

Are ECM Becoming Outdated?

The primary goals behind an ECM strategy were:

Regulatory compliance and risk management

Maintenance and dissemination of business knowledge

Efficiency of cost and time


Look, credit where credit is due, ECM hasn’t been a total failure. We’ve seen plenty of successes with regulatory aspects but other aspects have proven nearly impossible for a single platform to achieve. Compounding the issue, traditional ECM solutions committed a cardinal sin by neglecting the social side of content (collaboration, for one). Vendors struggled to keep apace with the need for rapid innovation and flawless, nimble integration with cloud solutions and services. The end result? Users began turning elsewhere.

Are You Talking About Content Services?

And just where is elsewhere? Replacing ECM is the term Content Services which covers three key aspects – Content Services Applications, Content Services Platforms, and Content Services Components.According to Michael Woodbridge, the Research Director at Gartner, Content Services will replace traditional ECM by 2020.

But is Woodbridge on to something or is he just off his rocker? Possibly both because while many experts do agree with Woodbridge. The fact remains that the figures are painting a different picture. The ECM market continues to grow annually at a rate of about 7-8%. Which, although a slower rate than previously, is nothing to sneeze at.

Woodbridge himself concedes that both Content Services and ECM are simply definitions of a strategy, not some kind of quick fix. But, no matter your field, one thing remains true: a shift in language, in the very way that we think and talk about an issue, can prompt innovative and seismic changes and solutions.

The winner will take the lead and evolve with time!

Only time will tell if Content Services wins out over Enterprise Content Management. But one thing is clear: in such a rapidly changing technological world, the winners remain those who can stop, take stock and evolve. Even if that evolution is as simple as the language we use.


Salman Lakhani

Salman Lakhani is the Founder & CEO of Cubix, Inc. He has over 18 years of experience in software development, creative and strategic operations.


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