Organizations need to collaborate on content both internally and externally, but in industries with complex regulatory and security requirements, finding content collaboration platforms that combine accessibility and flexibility with security and compliance capabilities can be challenging. Defining requirements by use case and embracing a modular approach to building a solution can help organizations balance complex and varying user needs.
Enterprise content collaboration occupies the space where enterprise file sync and share solutions meet up with team and content collaboration tools. Enterprise content collaboration platforms provide a way for users to access and sync their devices with remote content, collaborate through co-editing or shared workspaces and leverage enterprise content repositories while providing security and governance. These solutions can be cloud- or on-premises-based and can either include embedded content collaboration workflow and tools or integrate with third-party systems.
Generally, the tools listed in the accompanying enterprise content collaboration platforms buyer’s guide fall into three buckets: a standalone offering that is also part of a broader end-user computing access or digital transformation suite, a team collaboration-focused product or a product focused on high-security and highly regulated use cases. Of course, thinking about these concepts as a Venn diagram will certainly help in understanding how to approach an evaluation. None of the vendors fit nicely into just one of these three classifications, but these three buckets can inform the approach an IT organization can take toward finding a solution.
For example, Axway and Citrix offer content collaboration solutions that are also part of a broader end-user computing resource and productivity suite. If your company wants to move toward desktop virtualization for end users, Citrix’s solution could be a preferable solution. Companies looking for a broader platform for digital transformation might like Axway’s approach in the context of its broader set of solutions.
For organizations that have regulatory or security requirements, there are several platform features that will dictate the best solution. Systems that integrate content lifecycle management and governance features, for example, will help organizations that need to classify, retain and preserve content. Companies that need to ensure the security of their IP and data will need to look for platforms that either integrate with their digital rights management, mobile device management (MDM) and content encryption software or include those capabilities. Tresorit is an example of a product solely focused on secure file sync and share, MDM and encryption that lacks many of the content and workspace capabilities found in other solutions.
If your organization just needs a content-focused team collaboration platform, look for products that support co-editing and other team collaboration capabilities, including file check-in/check-out, workflows, approvals, metadata classification and content expiration. In addition, integration with other front-office tools, such as a CRM application, give companies a way to streamline content-centric processes.
Of course, as with any technology evaluation, the levers of extensibility, compatibility or integration with existing tools, scalability and governance capabilities should play a major role in picking an enterprise content collaboration platform solution. Many of these platforms have pre-built connectors or integration with Office 365, Google Docs, enterprise content management, CRM and ERP solutions. If a solution doesn’t come with pre-built integration to a given application, these solutions will have an API.
From a licensing perspective, these solutions offer a variety of models and metrics, including the ability to license modules based on needs. For example, a solution may license capabilities such as file storage, synchronization and editing capabilities on a per-user basis. That same solution may also be available on a transactions- or usage-per-month basis, where computing resources, API calls and custom workflows translate to a per-month fee. While the unknown of usage requirements can make estimating costs difficult, it can provide some flexibility if an organization wants to give different capabilities to different groups. This may also be more cost-effective than paying for everyone to have access to all capabilities on a per-user basis.
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