There’s been a lot of attention to content management cloud strategies these days but most of what is there today is really just file sharing. Some, like Box.net, have taken this a further by adding tasks and versioning. But really that’s a little piece of library services. I was pleasantly surprised to see that at least one vendor, SpringCM, has gone beyond basic library services and has been bringing full enterprise content management to the cloud environment. And last week SpringCM announced that in addition to standard content management they are bringing case management to the cloud too.
Starting with Content Management in The Cloud
When I think of content management in the cloud my mind immediately jumps to simply library services. (I ignore those services that are simple file sharing drop boxes.) To do library services a platform must have the ability to share files, create new versions and notify other individuals of activities to be performed on the files. To me, content management is the next level and extends the platform by adding business value to content stored in you library. SpringCM offers full workflow, records management, reporting and even capture making it a content management platform.
To be Enterprise Content Management you need to tie into other business process and other business applications. SpringCM can be integrated as a content store for Salesforce.com and SAP and offers view into the repository from within Microsoft SharePoint. Also each business solution built on SpringCM works together. This means that as a user of the system, you don’t need to go into one repository for “Application A” and another for “Application B”. From one log-in all tasks are seen in one simple task list. Add to this provisioning and active directory synchronization and you have a cloud-base platform.
Bringing Case Management to the Cloud
In this latest release, SpringCM brings case management to their cloud-based ECM platform. SpringCM look at the case management thought the metaphor that the users are experts and typically work from check lists rather than a workflow process. Individual cases are created that are basically folder structures that can include sub-folder and these are the basic containers for the solution. These cases hold typical content files. For SpringCM this means documents, captured images, emails, files from Salesforce.com and SAP and the cases are assigned to specific tasks based on types. Following their ECM strategy, different types of cases can be in a specific application as well.
In additional to individual cases functionality the platform supports case management views that show due cases, late case, and case processing statistics. These can be displayed in tabular or graphic formats. At the individual case view you also see a task status bar and managers are able to look at their own tasks or tasks assigned to their team.
Taking it Mobile
Also part of last week’s announcement is the ability to access SpringCM from mobile devices, specifically the iPad. The interface is web application that offers the ability to view, download, check-in and out documents through both folder navigation and full-text search. Today the focus of the mobile app is on content management but one should expect case management functionality to be available. This is a valuable tool as I think more and more tablets will become a replacement for laptops, just like laptops were for desktops. (I’ve recently been experimenting with carrying only a tablet for both professional and personal trips.
ECM in the Cloud
Like many I’ve been looking at a lot of messaging talking about the future possibilities of content management in the clouds. I’ve really missed what was being said by SpringCM and am glad to have taken the time for a closer look. For those looking for content management in the cloud today, do yourself a favor and take a closer look at SpringCM.