I am looking forward to the 2010 AIIM expo + conference this year after missing the conference the last two years. I always learn something new and it is a great chance to meet some really smart people.
One topic I am interested exploring extensively is how the ECM market is responding to the “Cloud Computing”. There has been quite a bit of hype over the last couple of years and it will be interesting to see how far the ECM vendors have gone to close the gap between myth and reality.
First let’s make sure we are all on the same page. I will use Forrester’s definition for cloud computing: “A standardized IT capability, such as software, application platform, or infrastructure, delivered via Internet technologies in a pay-per-use and self-service way.” Pretty straight forward, right, then why all the confusion?
Microsoft and the Cloud
Microsoft has been heavily promoting both their Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and Windows Azure. These are two distinctly different offerings with BPOS delivered as software as a service (SaaS) and Windows Azure delivered as an infrastructure as a service (IaaS). So how are these two offerings different? Here is a simple definition of these two offerings:
IaaS (Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Microsoft’s Azure) provide virtual computing environments allowing customers to use web service interfaces to launch instances of operating systems and associated blocks of storage on demand. Customers use the provider's administrative console to start, stop, and access and configure their virtual servers and storage.
With SaaS the vendor supplies the hardware infrastructure and their software product over the internet for use as a service on demand. Good examples of SaaS offerings include web-based email and applications from Google, CRM (sales management & reporting) from SalesForce.com, SharePoint, Exchange Email and Office Communicator from Microsoft with BPOS.
Other ECM Vendors and The Cloud
No doubt the other ECM vendors at the 2010 AIIM conference will be talking about their Cloud offerings. Looking at the conference agenda and reading the descriptions of the keynote sessions the only session which discusses the Cloud is the keynote entitled “Reinvent Work, Collaboration, and Innovation in the 21st Century” by Google’s Cyrus Mistry.
Reviewing the conference sessions, I did not really see many sessions (only a few) addressing ECM in the Cloud. So it will be interesting to see what is being talked about on the exposition floor by the ECM vendors. When I searched for “Cloud Strategy” on EMC’s website the recommended link in the search results was Virtual Computing Environment coalition (VCE) which looks like it is targeted at enterprises who want to create a “cloud-like” utility computing capability within their firewalls also known as a “Private Cloud”. I will be interested to see if EMC is working on a similar SaaS offerings to Microsoft’s BPOS.
My goal this week will be to see who really “get’s it” and understands the implications and challenges of managing your corporate information in the Cloud. I want to see who has already thought through the personal data privacy and e-Discovery implications. I will be really excited if I find someone who has gone the extra mile and defined an implementation pattern and methodology for leveraging the Cloud for ECM. I am not holding my breath on this one.
I’ll let you know what I find out this week.
#ECM #AIIM2010 #SaaS #ElectronicRecordsManagement #cloudcomputing