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Digitally evolve the smart way – federated content

The modern technological world continues to become a more complex place, even as organisations start to look at ways of simplifying their systems. For many companies, this means a rethink on large platforms which have often been the bedrock of the company’s sales system for many years, and often contain large amounts of historical data. Over time, other systems are generally added – often without much thought to due process, or interconnectivity – and over time these too add to the complexity of the overall network.

Data is now ingested from a wide variety of sources including CRM, social media, marketing platforms, financial figures and so forth. That data is often stored in many separate parts of the business and becomes siloed. Data is often duplicated across different systems, as a spreadsheet or other source is copied from one location to another. As such, its use is severely limited.

Digital transformation became the ‘buzz word’ for many companies. Time to re-evaluate those old legacy systems, move to new and better ways of doing things – or at least put in place reliable work-around solutions to streamline business processes.

However, tackling the task of digital evolution is by no means simple, and in many cases is fraught with risk. Literally breaking apart a network of finely-balanced solutions requires meticulous planning – and relies on a lot of things going right, in order to succeed.

Moreover, such an evolution is disruptive. Systems need to be taken down and replaced. Users will have to adapt to new systems and often find that their workload is impacted while migrations take place.

The universal question is: ‘How best to change planes in mid-flight?’

A crucial element of digital transformation – or now, for those companies that effectively transformed, digital optimisation – is the ability to ‘see’ across systems. A unified visibility into disparate parts of the business allows for deeper oversights right across the spectrum of systems, solutions and departments. As such, it can have manifold benefits to the organisation.

This is sometimes referred to as federated services, or federated change. Benefits can include the following.

Reduced cost

Time spent searching for information costs money – therefore, it is logical that reducing the time spent searching for that information reduces wasted effort and, ultimately, money. In addition, operational costs associated with managing multiple systems for search and storage can also be reduced.

Improved user productivity

Affording users a single view across all the systems they need in order to find information enables them to find what they need faster – regardless of where it is stored. This applies to the searching, viewing and management of that content, and the increased ability to think laterally, as the information is presented to them on a single user interface.
With a federated view, users will not have to switch between applications to find the information that they need, when they need it – therefore playing an important role in helping employees keep focus, without the distraction of moving between different screens and systems.

Increased compliance

With a federated content services solution, organisations can manage records in their current locations (“manage in place”) and thus gain centralised control over content and records that are distributed across different systems, without the need for costly content migration. This provides greater governance over those records, with increased visibility helping to manage storage, access and other critical factors in the keeping of records. It allows the organisation to deliver the right information to the right person, at the right time.

Records can also be ‘locked’ using a federated content services solution, should the need arise – for example, legal requests or potential security breaches.

With an advanced federated content services platform, an organisation is able to complete a migration from one legacy system to another modern system in the background, with minimal disruption to the business or processes. This is made possible by a system whereby, whenever a document in the ‘legacy system’ is opened by an end-user, it immediately gets migrated to the new system. This effectively moves information across on an ‘as-needs’ basis, so users are left blissfully unaware the organisation is undergoing a major change.

Once this ‘intelligent content migration’ is verified as complete – in other words when all necessary information has automatically moved across to the new system - the legacy systems can be switched off and the company can start to reap the benefits of a single, central content repository.

So, yes – digital evolution and the content migrations that come with it are perilous, and often daunting. However, technology has moved forward and is providing better, smarter and more efficient ways to help. Federated content services is a big step in the right direction.

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