What exactly is a “Content Services Platform” (CSP) and what benefit does it offer over traditional Enterprise Content Management?
Before we get to what a CSP is, let’s look at what problem it’s solving.
Think about how much documentation an organization such as TD Bank produces. Even just its consumer banking division encompasses countless processes and databases, each one generating piles of content that need to be categorized and organized – both for organizational needs and compliance requirements.
What’s more, much of this documentation results in various versions of the same file, stored multiple times. A sales deck with 5 revisions sent to 20 people generates 100 records.
All that needs to be stored, and enterprise organizations are being crushed under the weight of unnecessary storage costs and an inability to make edits to records at their source and have it updated everywhere.
This is one of the primary problems a CSP aims to solve.
What is a CSP, exactly?
A CSP is essentially a platform to produce, organize, track, and store the creation of business and nonbusiness documents and content.
According to Gartner, it’s:
“a set of services and microservices, embodied either as an integrated product suite or as separate applications that share common APIs and repositories, to exploit diverse content types and to serve multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization”
So in other words, it’s a cloud-based enterprise content management system (ECM).
A CSP is innovative because it represents a fundamental shift in how content is managed by large organizations.
CSPs don’t work based on storing and cataloguing every single scrap of information.
Rather, they create expansive repositories that are linked with APIs to different parts of the organization. What this means is that:
- Data can be stored once, and then used, edited, and manipulated endlessly by different people, users, or containers
- There’s a single source of truth
- Versioning can be completed automatically
Let’s look at those in a little more detail.
Data can be stored once
Data can be stored once because there’s only a single storage unit. Put simply, it means that there doesn’t need to be two different servers who are storing the same file but not communicating (and thus not knowing they’re storing the same thing).
With a single repository, data doesn’t double up, saving big on storage costs (not to mention confusion).
There’s a single source of truth
No longer is there a problem with documents being out of date. For example, imagine you’re a sales-driven organization and you want your reps to have the latest case studies included in their decks.
But many of the reps don’t know where to access the new version, and continue to use a version of the document from six months ago. Suddenly, you have multiple versions of documents, and not everyone using the latest version.
A similar situation happens across enterprise organizations, and this duplication adds up.
A CSP means that there’s only a single version of any one document. It’s a little like switching Word docs with Google Docs, but on a grander scale.
Versioning can be completed automatically
Finally, it means that versioning happens more or less automatically. With dozens of web assets, apps, mobile sites, and internal systems, updating things one by one is, quite frankly, an unachievable dream.
But on a CSP, with its single repository/API design, users can update a single file and roll it out everywhere, instantly.
CSP is the new ECM
Now we couldn’t write about the CSP without mentioning the ECM.
Basically, Gartner changed their ECM category to CSP and elected new leaders for the magic quadrant.
What this means is that there’s a new standard for content organization. Now, content is expected to live in a repository and be used only when and how it’s needed. Versioning, doubling up, and huge storage solutions are all going to be a thing of the past.
For end-users, it means they can finally achieve the content management results they’ve been promised for years: a seamless experience. Finally, organizations can do the only thing people have ever wanted – be treated like, well, humans.
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