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Editor's Note: Part I of this series offered an introduction to ECM and cloud computing. Here, in Part II, leading industry analysts discuss the promises and pitfalls of cloud ECM.

As cloud computing advances across the organizational landscape, will enterprise content management (ECM) follow?

The answer to that question—and related ones about what shape cloud-based ECM might take—depends upon whom you ask. But many industry leaders agree on one thing: Going forward, cloud offers a compelling value proposition for new ECM initiatives.

Public or private clouds?

One question mark is whether ECM will gravitate toward public clouds—in which search, indexing, archiving, classification and storage services are offered by third-party vendors—or private and hybrid clouds, in which the enterprise still owns and controls the systems.

In Doug Miles' view, public-cloud ECM is still too risky for many security-conscious enterprises to consider. "Why would you?" asks Miles, who is director of market intelligence for the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), an industry association. "It's a big leap of faith to store your sensitive documents and content in the cloud."

AIIM's latest survey research on ECM cloud adoption finds few companies planning on public cloud adoptions. The survey, based on responses from 650 AIIM members in early 2011, found that only 3% currently use public cloud for their content management, with up to 30% considering such approaches. By contrast, 6% use internal cloud resources, with up to 60% eventually considering private cloud for their ECM. AIIM researchers found “strong resistance to the use of public clouds for content and records storage,” according to survey results reported in AIIM's "State of the ECM Industry 2011" report.


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