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Thoughts on Content Management as a Service

Are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) options viable for enterprise content management? I hear that question with increasing frequency, and it's a difficult one to answer. There are plenty of vendor options out there - from pure plays like Spring CM, to hybrids like Xythos and Treno. But just because there are plenty of options doesn't means it's a particularly good idea.
Are SaaS (Software as a Service) options viable for enterprise content management (ECM)? I hear that question with increasing frequency, and frankly, it's a difficult one to answer. There are plenty of vendor options out there - from pure plays like Spring CM, to hybrids like Xythos and Treno. But just because there are plenty of options doesn't means it's a particularly good idea.

I can see the logic of Basic Content Services (BCS) being delivered through the SaaS model, but full-blown ECM deployments seem much more of a stretch. In the world of ECM we are typically looking at complex processes with integration into legacy systems -- it's hard to see the match up with SaaS.However, most people just want BCS options -- and the vendors need some way to compete against Microsoft's SharePoint. Moreover, with the entry of Salesforce.com later in the year, and strong indications that EMC|Documentum will also deliver a dedicated SaaS option, then clearly SaaS ECM will become a more prominent option to consider. But it's an option I think buyers need to consider cautiously and examine the providers' true motives: is it a best means of delivering ECM more effectively or a simply means of survival in a turbulent market?

Alan Pelz-Sharpe is a principal analyst at CMS Watch. Write him at [email protected]Are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) options viable for enterprise content management? I hear that question with increasing frequency, and it's a difficult one to answer. There are plenty of vendor options out there - from pure plays like Spring CM, to hybrids like Xythos and Treno. But just because there are plenty of options doesn't means it's a particularly good idea.