How to pick the best content services platform for your business (2023)


Modern content services platforms take a flexible, service-driven approach to managing enterprise content. Here’s what to look for and seven leading CSPs to consider.

By Linda Rosencrance

Contributing Writer, Computerworld |

How to pick the best content services platform for your business (2)

Enterprise content management (ECM), an umbrella term for the processes and tools that organizations use to capture, store, secure, retrieve, and manage business data in its many forms, is dead.

So declared Gartner in 2017. Companies still needed to manage all that content, of course, but vendors were adopting a new approach that required new terminology, the research firm said.

The goal of ECM applications was traditionally to store and manage an organization’s content within a single, centralized platform to protect assets, ensure regulatory compliance, and improve business efficiency. But these all-in-one systems proved to be inflexible in real-world use, so vendors re-architected them to be cloud-enabled and much more modular. Gartner dubbed the new approach content services and called the vendors’ products content services platforms.

IDC now uses the new terms as well. “We’ve been about ‘enterprise content management’ for decades — most of which were large, monolithic, on-premises solutions,” said Holly Muscolino, IDC’s group vice president for enterprise content strategies and the future of work. “Then, as we started to see more solutions move to the cloud and become more modular, Gartner created the term ‘content services platform’ because it actually described the solutions better. Today, we use ‘content services’ or ‘content services platform’ pretty much to be synonymous with what we would traditionally call enterprise content management.”

What are content services platforms (CSPs)?

“Content services platforms provide a basic set of tools to store, index, and manage content with the intent that it can be edited and versioned,” states Gartner’s 2023 Market Guide for Content Services Platforms.

Like old-school ECM systems, content services platforms allow users to create, manage, collaborate on, and store various types of content and data, including text, audio, and video, from one centralized, accessible location across all organizational departments using any device. But modern CSPs are cloud-based and provide APIs and pre-built integrations with other enterprise apps and services, so they can retrieve and manage content wherever it resides in an organization.

CSPs serve as companies’ default access points for all internal content, enabling them to embed content in other related documents and records management applications, such as customer resource management, enterprise resource planning, and human capital management apps, according to Gartner. As such, CSPs make critical information available to the appropriate stakeholders who can use that data to support business operations and make business decisions.

[ From monolith to modular: How enterprise content management is evolving ]

The flexibility that comes with the content services strategy gives organizations the ability to create solutions that are built specifically for certain use cases, Muscolino said.

Cheryl McKinnon, principal analyst at Forrester Research, agreed. The on-premises architectures of the ’90s have given way to “much more flexible, service-driven platforms,” McKinnon said. “So developers and designers can really tailor the platform to the use cases that they need.”

Benefits of adopting a content services platform

Content services platforms offer a variety of benefits, including:

  • Allowing organizations to work with content, regardless of the format of the content and where it’s located, enabling better decision making.
  • Enabling users to easily search and find content located in various file storage locations and repositories.
  • Handling revisions and versions seamlessly so content remains up to date.
  • Using markup, notes, and electronic signatures for effective collaboration, streamlining content management processes.
  • Storing an audit history of actions taken on critical content for compliance and tracking.
  • Automating business processes through integrations with multiple enterprise applications.

Challenges of implementing a content services platform

One of the main challenges associated with deploying a content services platform is dealing with the vast amounts of documents and other content that many organizations, particularly large organizations, already have, according to IDC’s Muscolino. “It’s not trivial to migrate to a new solution,” she said. “They would need to either ensure that they could still access their content in place — that may be in large on-premises repositories — or that there’s adequate support for migration from the vendor.”

In addition, companies must ensure that they can access content across multiple repositories, not only existing content that they might have stored in various locations within their organizations, but potentially new content that’s being generated, such as emails or social streams. This includes not just documents but also rich media, such as audio and video, Muscolino said.

Migrating data from legacy source systems to new a content services platform can increase the implementation time as well as the cost of the implementation if not done correctly. It’s not easy to transfer unstructured data, as it has to be cleaned and reviewed before it can be processed. “Anything that’s unstructured content needs to be managed. You want to look for solutions that have the capability to look across multiple locations and apply those services to different types of content,” Muscolino said.

Organizations also run the risk of not properly organizing and describing documents, said Forrester’s McKinnon. “If you’re just throwing documents into a big bin in the sky, it can be a little bit of a headache when people try to find those documents later,” she said. “So you have to think about how to use metadata to organize things, because that’s going to deliver a much better experience down the road in terms of finding the right things quickly.”

Organizations should also understand that implementing a content services platform is not a magic bullet, said Marko Sillanpaa, a Gartner analyst. “That’s the biggest challenge I see with most organizations — they think that they’re going to suddenly bring one of these systems in and it’s going to bring everything under control,” he said. “Individuals have to realize that it’s a different way of working and that they have to put all their documents in this repository and they have to set metadata, [for example].”

Key capabilities to look for in a content services platform

There are a number of features organizations should look for when they’re selecting a content services platform. Key capabilities include:

Content capture: The first step in automating business processes is the ability to capture required and relevant data from paper and electronic sources, including documents, emails, enterprise applications, and social media.

Content transformation: The ability to transform certain content types to other formats — for example, transforming a Word document into a PDF.

Search: Organizations work with massive numbers of complex documents and assets every day, and searching for content in these files is extremely time consuming. A content services platform enables users to perform metadata or full text searches for text that might appear anywhere in content that’s stored in the system. Many CSPs also enable users to set additional filters based on metadata to further reduce the number of results that are returned.

Document management: Not every employee in an organization should be able to access every document. CSPs enable companies to control access to documents and files based on the needs or clearance levels of the users. Enterprises that control access based on document types, user roles, and other system-level characteristics allow teams to more easily and securely share documents.

Records management: Records management enables companies to create, identify, store, retrieve, and dispose of their digital and hard copy documents. It also allows organizations to efficiently control their critical information and makes it easier for business leaders to define their companies’ goals and objectives. This is all accomplished with regulatory compliance in mind to reduce the costs and risks of handling sensitive corporate data. Modern CSPs automate most of companies’ record management capabilities to make the process more effective.

Secure collaboration: The ability to integrate with other applications, processes, and data sources and to offer secure internal and external file-sharing functionalities so employees can collaborate with co-workers inside their organizations, as well as with customers and partners.

Workflow/process management and automation: Modern CSPs offer capabilities for case management and workflow management. They also provide the tools that enable companies to automate content processing using business rules and trigger events.

Artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and reporting: Today’s CSPs enable companies to use AI, machine learning, and analytics to analyze different content types to extract relevant insights, improving productivity and helping business leaders make better business decisions.

Open application programming interfaces (APIs): Most content services platforms offer organizations REST-based APIs that give them access to most of the main features of the product. At the very least, content services platforms should offer APIs that allow companies to write, delete, or retrieve metadata and content objects. Additionally, custom APIs enable content services to seamlessly integrate with other enterprise applications.

Mobile apps: Mobility shouldn’t be an afterthought. Rather, CSPs should allow core content functions, including creating, accessing, processing, and sharing files to happen naturally on a mobile device. CSPs should provide access to document management, such as read, search, and index, on Android and iOS platforms.

Security: CSPs must encrypt content in transit as well as at rest. And they must include such functionality as access control, data loss prevention, electronic digital rights management, encryption, and authentication. Depending on their requirements, organizations may opt for CSPs that offer advanced security capabilities, including content redaction, digital signatures, and watermarking.

7 leading CSPs

There are numerous content services platforms on the market. To help you begin your research, we’ve highlighted the following products based on discussions with analysts and independent research.

AODocs: Offers functionality for collaboration, compliance tracking, electronic signatures, file recovery and conversion, optical character recognition, process automation, and version control. Offers document management functionality, including indexing, archiving, and retention. Analyzes content using artificial intelligence to ensure users are accessing the correct versions of documents. Part of the Google Cloud Marketplace, AODocs has pre-built integrations with DocuSign, Salesforce, DocuSign, and Google Drive. Offers a low-code environment to enable companies to develop content-rich business applications and workflows. (See AODocs security info.)

Box: Provides a single platform to enable organizations to manage the entire content lifecycle from creating and sharing files to co-editing, signature, classification, and retention. Secures content with device security controls, identity and access management controls, and built-in content protection. Connects seamlessly to Microsoft 365. Provides email attachment support for Gmail and Outlook as well as native support for Google Workspace’s productivity apps (Sheets, Slides, and Docs). Box Canvas, the vendor’s virtual whiteboarding tool, allows teams to collaborate via sticky notes, chat, voting, and more. (See Box security info.)

Hyland OnBase: Manages the total content lifecycle from capture to disposal. Offers editing and collaboration tools, advanced workflows, process automation, and configurable applications to help boost user productivity and enhance customer satisfaction. Manages documents and other content related to internal business processes. Provides a central repository aimed at specific vertical industries, including insurance, healthcare, financial services, government, retail, and manufacturing. Automates content lifecycle management, helping companies decrease risk by simplifying compliance with industry/regulatory requirements. (See Hyland security info.)

IBM Content Services: Pre-configured set of content management capabilities delivered as a software-as-a-service solution on AWS. Provides one location where users can search, browse, view, and collaborate on content. Includes document classification, intelligent document processing, and metadata management. Also offers built-in governance capabilities, developer tools, and robotic process automation. Allows companies to customize the user interface, enabling each line of business to meet department requirements. (See IBM security info.)

Laserfiche: Provides functionality for content management, business process automation, and data analytics. Manages the content lifecycle. Includes search features, document scanning and data capture, metadata modification, workflow automation tools, and secure content management. Users can collaborate through simultaneous editing, annotations, and more. Offers pre-built integrations to other applications, including Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft 365, and DocuSign. (See Laserfiche security info.)

Microsoft 365: Microsoft’s primary CSP is SharePoint, which manages the entire content lifecycle including document creation, sharing, consumption, records management, and archiving. Enables content collaboration across Microsoft 365. Integrates with other Microsoft products, including Viva Topics and OneDrive for Business. Lets multiple users work on documents simultaneously, making it easier to collaborate without the need to email files back and forth. Teams can share files, data, news, and resources and collaborate with team members inside and outside their organizations, across PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. (See Microsoft security info.)

OpenText Content Services Platforms: This provider’s content services platforms comprise OpenText Extended ECM, which embeds content across enterprise processes; OpenText Documentum, which offers secure, high-volume content management for regulated industries; and OpenText Core, which combines both in a public cloud offering. These platforms enable organizations to create business workspaces that streamline video collaboration and integrate with enterprise applications, such as Microsoft 365, SAP Salesforce, and Oracle. Workspaces organize content, tasks, and teams with digitized workflows, making content easily accessible to team members when and where they need it. (Contact OpenText for security info.)


  • Enterprise Applications
  • Content Management Systems
  • Productivity Software
  • Collaboration Software
  • File Sharing
  • Small and Medium Business
  • Enterprise Buyers Guide

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor/author who has written about information technology since 1999.


Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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What are content services platforms? ›

A content services platform (CSP) is a set of services and microservices, embodied as an integrated product suite and applications that share common APIs and repositories. A CSP exploits diverse content types and serves multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization.

What is OpenText Content services? ›

OpenText™ Content Services Platforms connect information to people and processes, with flexible options to deploy in a private or public cloud.

What is the meaning of content services? ›

""Content services are 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.

What you need to know about content services platforms? ›

A content services platform is cloud-native software that enables organizations to build smart content applications that enhance customer experiences, improve decision making, and accelerate products to market.

What is the difference between ECM and CSP? ›

What is the difference between ECM and CSP? Here's the key difference between an ECM and a CSP: ECM is an older, more cumbersome system of content storage, while a CSP is a newer, more agile method of content management.

Is OpenText a SaaS or Paas? ›

Overview. OpenText™ Core is a fast-deploying SaaS content management solution that delivers simple, agile and secure cloud-based content management.

What is content services with example? ›

Content services components are utility-based services that add additional functionality to existing applications. For example, a content services component may be a utility that enables language translation, external file sharing or document capture.

Why choose OpenText? ›

Improve user adoption and productivity

Allow users to remain in the business applications they use every day, while providing a 360-degree view of both content and related processes from a single interface.

What are the benefits of content services platform? ›

CSPs deliver an agile tool for digital work, minimize content sprawl and information silos, improve both access and security, create better user experience for employees and customers alike, save money by reducing wasted time, and improve productivity by making content easier to share.

What is digital content services? ›

Digital Content Services enables integrating content into your processes and delivers capabilities that cover: capture of unstructured information, document management, content lifecycle management, collaboration, content analytics, customer communications management and process automation and workflows.

What is a website content service? ›

Services that can be handled by a content services provider can include: Content creation (blog posts, articles, social media posts, videos, in-app content, etc.) Insights on content performance. Development of content creation plans. Automation of social media and website posts.

What content is best for each platform? ›

Here are the general guidelines:
  • Facebook: Videos and curated content.
  • Instagram: High-res photos, quotes, Stories.
  • Twitter: News, blog posts, and GIFs.
  • LinkedIn: Jobs, company news, and professional content.
  • Pinterest: Infographics and step-by-step photo guides.
Sep 7, 2017

What is ECM called now? ›

ECM stands for Engine Control Module, and ECU is short for Engine Control Unit. These two acronyms represent the same component and are used interchangeably.

Is ECM the same as CMS? ›

CMS, at any point in time, can store multiple instances of the same file, whereas ECM has the capability to eliminate duplicates of the file while storing it in the system. One more way in which these two differ is the size of companies they support better.

Is Zoom A SaaS or PaaS? ›

SaaS: Software as a Service

SaaS refers to cloud-based software accessed over the Internet, and is the most widely known “as a Service” offering. Examples of Software as a Service providers include Office 365, Google Apps, Salesforce CRM, MailChimp, Xero and Zoom.

Is Microsoft Office 365 SaaS or PaaS? ›

Microsoft 365, (formerly Office 365) on the other hand, is a Software as a Service (SaaS). It provides users access to office productivity apps for email, collaboration, communication, file storage, and more that they can either install on their desktops or access on a web browser.

Is udemy a PaaS or SaaS? ›

When Yvonne joined in 2016, the business unit consisted of just 10 people across product, engineering, sales, and marketing. Since then, she's helped grow Udemy's B2B SaaS arm to more than 5,000 enterprise customers, which include the likes of Pinterest, Adidas, and General Mills.

Why are content services important? ›

Why is it important? Reduces content search time: Searching content in files can be time-consuming. CS can organize documents, videos, and images in files on a single platform concerning metadata information instead of files.

What are Cell C content services? ›

A Cell C WASP creates and distributes mobile content to subscribers via our network and infrastructure. WASPs can generate revenue by providing premium content that subscribers are willing to pay for, such as: Ringtones. Mobile wallpapers.

What is enterprise content services? ›

Enterprise content services are the evolution of enterprise content management (ECM); their goal is to adapt to the changing needs of enterprises and the emergence of new technologies, such as cloud computing.

What is the fee for OpenText? ›

How much does OpenText Core Share cost? OpenText™ Core Share is free for personal use.

Is OpenText a CRM? ›

OpenText™ Customer Experience platform empowers Marketing and Line-of-Business teams to augment the current systems of record, such as MRM, CRM and ERP, capabilities to intelligently create, individual experiences for true data driven omnichannel experiences at scale.

Is OpenText a SAP product? ›

The OpenText™ Suite for SAP brings critical information to the center of SAP business processes. Fully integrated to SAP S/4HANA®, SAP® SuccessFactors® and SAP CX solutions, the solutions enable intelligent decision making to greatly improve process efficiency and increase cost savings.

What are the capabilities of content services? ›

CSPs provide the capabilities for storing, organizing, securing, and distributing content within an organization much like the ECM, but they also store and manage content across a cloud-powered application.

What should a content management system do? ›

A content management system (CMS) is an application that is used to manage content, allowing multiple contributors to create, edit and publish. Content in a CMS is typically stored in a database and displayed in a presentation layer based on a set of templates like a website.

What is a content services provider? ›

Content providers are companies that create and offer content, such as graphic products, ringtones, games, news, information and entertainment services.

What are two types of digital content? ›

Types of digital content
  • Video – Types of video content include home videos, music videos, TV shows, and movies. ...
  • Audio – Music is the most common form of audio. ...
  • Images – Photo and image sharing is another example of digital content.

What does good digital content look like? ›

Good content should inform about your products or services, communicate the benefits of doing business with your company, add credibility to your company, or answer questions that many existing and potential customers may have regarding your business.

What are digital service platforms examples? ›

Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, Deliveroo, Google, TaskRabbit, Uber. These brands are based on digital service platforms - technology-enabled business models with a network effect.

Do I need a content management system for my website? ›

A CMS solution is a better option if you're creating a large website with multiple pages, or if you plan to make changes or additions to your website down the line. That's because a CMS will make it easier to do things like edit existing pages, publish new pages, add an online store, create web forms, and so forth.

What is an example of a content site? ›

Some examples are product brochures, user manuals, slide presentations, white papers, industry reports, case studies, fact sheets, ebooks, webinars, and podcasts.

What are SEO content services? ›

“SEO” refers to search engine optimization, or the process of optimizing a website so that people can easily find it via search engines like Google. By “content,” we mean any information that lives on the web and can be consumed on the web (more on the various types of content below).

Is SharePoint a content services platform? ›

Microsoft offers Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Services for Office365, OneDrive, and SharePoint. Content Services manages the entire life cycle from document creation, sharing, consumption, knowledge, repurposing, records management, disposal, and archiving.

What is online content services? ›

A content services platform is cloud-based SaaS software that enables users to create, share, collaborate on and store text, audio and video content.

What is the importance of content services? ›

Why is it important? Reduces content search time: Searching content in files can be time-consuming. CS can organize documents, videos, and images in files on a single platform concerning metadata information instead of files.

Is SharePoint a good content management system? ›

As a content management system, SharePoint helps organize and manage corporate documents, records, media assets and web content throughout their lifecycle, from creating to archiving.

What is SharePoint now called? ›

Microsoft 365 includes both SharePoint features and the OneDrive cloud storage platform, making those available on any device from the cloud.

Who still uses SharePoint? ›

SharePoint is the leading intranet technology

With 19 years on the market, SharePoint remains the most used collaboration solution. About 80% of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint for intranet, internal communications, and collaboration.

How do I start a content provider? ›

Creating a content provider
  1. On this page.
  2. Before you start building.
  3. Designing data storage. Data design considerations.
  4. Designing content URIs. Designing an authority. ...
  5. Implementing the ContentProvider class. ...
  6. Implementing ContentProvider MIME Types. ...
  7. Implementing a contract class.
  8. Implementing content provider permissions.
Jan 18, 2023

What are examples of content provider in business? ›

Other platforms like Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can all be considered content providers because they are the websites that the consumer interacts with.

How much does a content provider make? ›

The average salary of Content Provider is $338,109 in the United States.


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