[Originally published on the TeraThink blog]
Alfresco is bringing their Alfresco Days series of events back to D.C. again on May 23. The 2019 Alfresco Government Summit focuses on generating discussions around leveraging Alfresco as a platform in the cloud. Specifically, as an open source content services platform living in AWS.
TeraThink will be there again this year to talk about how we make content services work using Alfresco in AWS. We have been leveraging the content services platform (CSP) approach to deploying enterprise content management (ECM) for a few years. During that time, we’ve learned a lot of lessons. We will be bringing that expertise to the Application Platform Revolution Panel moderated by Alfresco founder John Newton.
Before the 23rd, I want to take a few minutes to giving you a preview of some of the thoughts we will be sharing.
Content Services Platform Background
In 2017, Gartner rebranded the ECM market into content services. This wasn’t a dramatic change as large portions of the industry had already begun to change mindsets. Many were already using a services approach when the CMIS (content management interoperability services) standard was introduced in 2008. In many ways, Gartner’s change was a recognition of how successful implementations where leveraging ECM platforms.
Since then, we’ve learned a lot.
- Start with the API and content model. You have to fully understand what business entities with which you are interacting and how they relate to each other before you can begin to build anything.
- APIs need to represent the business. You are not working on documents. You are working on correspondence, reports, and other specific business content.
- Deliver value by delivering non-functional capabilities. When you successfully build security, reporting, scalability, other non-functional requirements into the platform, it becomes easier to support new business functionality.
That underlying theme is that you are not building a cloud-based file store. You are building a representation of your business where you store business content organized by the business entities to which they apply.
March Towards Shared Services
What we are starting to see is that when you build a successful CSP in your organization, other parts of the business want to leverage the platform. When you’ve taken all the proper non-functional requirements into account, your CSP provides a fast way for those business teams to meet their goals.
Part of the preparation is the building a universal content model. We are not talking about modeling everything in the business. Taking that approach has doomed more projects than I care to remember. We are talking about modeling the distinct business entities and how they interact and relate to each other. At a minimum, you have to define all the entities that are adjacent to the business domain where you are building your first application. You only need to model in detail those entities that are part of the current effort.
To support that model, you need to define and implement a robust set of non-functional features such as strong security, comprehensive auditing, and useful reporting. While not every application needs those non-functional feature to use your CSP, you will experience problems and delays in leveraging a single CSP when you do not have them.
Come Learn More
The Application Platform Revolution Panel will be touching on these themes from multiple perspectives. We invite you to join us and our host, Alfresco, at the downtown Renaissance Hotel to learn more about this and other topics. You can register for free. After the panel, the TeraThink team and I will happily share our experiences making content services a reality.