Is SharePoint online “Full ECM in the cloud”?

by. David Jones

SharePoint – some people love it, some hate it and some deny it is even real enterprise content management (ECM). It really is the proverbial elephant in the room for all ECM conversations, and with the move to the cloud provided by SharePoint Online (or SharePoint 365 as it is sometimes known) the conversation has become even more pointed.

So, can SharePoint deliver full ECM in the Cloud? I’m going to try to answer that scientifically, via the empirical and historical evidence route.

The history of SharePoint

SharePoint has had a long and colorful history since its launch in 2001. People regularly refer to it as the Swiss Army Knife of IT teams as it can be deployed as a file-share replacement, simple collaboration platform, departmental ECM solution, intranet, corporate portal and much more.

The good thing about SharePoint is that it is quick and easy to deploy. But the bad thing about SharePoint is that it is quick and easy to deploy. The ease of deployment works fine for many, but in the land of ECM – a land where control, management, and compliance oversee all – fluidity is not always welcomed.

As a result, what tends to happen is that organizations generate silos of data. For example, individual project teams use SharePoint for specific projects, but forget to consolidate the content they generate with any records management requirements once the projects are complete. This has led, according to AIIM research to SharePoint being an ECM component within most organizations – but not the main one.

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