In a recent Cloud Foundry Summit 2017 interview with Mojgan Lefebvre, SVP and CIO Liberty Mutual Global Specialty described how important it was that their first cloud initiative be Document Management and specifically, Alfresco due to its cloud native architecture. This post will share our agreement on why cloud native is a critical component for evaluating Document Management alternatives and compare vendor offerings.
Cloud, Infrastructure and a Service (IAAS) and Software as a Service (SAAS)
Understanding cloud native requires a review of the different types of cloud deployments. In the simplest of terms, “cloud” can be viewed as any environment that runs outside of an organization’s internal data center. Organizations are looking to reduce their costs and improve their speed to market by renting computing resources rather than purchasing and hosting their own. Cloud options can include:
- Cloud Hosted Infrastructure – when a provider agrees to host servers or other hardware in their datacenter for the client. RackSpace is probably the best example where the buyer owns the hardware but places it in the RackSpace data center.
- Software as a Service (SAAS) – when the service provides both software and infrastructure as a “one stop shop”. Google Drive, Office365, DropBox and Box are all good document related examples.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) – when a service provides infrastructure in the SAAS but not the application software or management of the combined infrastructure and applications software. Best examples are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
As we have said here many times before, we are advising clients that IAAS will be a bigger disruptor than SAAS for ECM/Content Services. Reasons include:
- The market growth and penetration of IAAS is considerably greater than SAAS. For example, Amazon Web Services made a 3 Billion dollar profit in 2016 on 12.6 Billion in Revenue. Box, as a SAAS document service lost 134 million on 303 million of revenue.
- Clients looking to “move to the cloud” are looking to move a variety of applications, not just ECM. The potential to leverage a consistent IAAS infrastructure, resources as well as the lower cost of IAAS across multiple initiatives including ECM/Document Management provides consistency and efficiency to recognize the savings of cloud for the organization.
Native Cloud Application for IAAS ECM/Content Services
A Native Cloud Application (NCA) is a program specifically designed for a cloud computing architecture and takes advantage of IAAS cloud computing frameworks. See Mojgan Lefebvre, SVP and CIO Liberty Mutual Global Specialty thoughts below at approximately the 4:40 mark of the video.
ECM/Content Service Vendors and Native Cloud Applications
While Morgan doesn’t expand on the other Document Management Vendors, we can share our two cents on a couple of the major vendors.
- Alfresco – recognized by Gartner as having the most advanced offering for AWS including a quickstart in the Amazon Market. Multiple other AWS efforts including a Billion Object Benchmark in 2015, an Amazon S3 connector and support of Aurora as a Database. TSG has 12 Alfresco clients on AWS beginning in 2009.
- Documentum/OpenText – View the Keynote from the OpenText World event back in June. OpenText is committing to their own cloud (time in video about 42:00), OpenText sees the IAAS vendors (AWS/Microsoft) as one step beyond on-premise including only certain cloud specific components for their own proprietary cloud offering. Documentum is still tied to VMWare’s cloud given their previous EMC ownership. Hints coming from OpenText marketing that Documentum will include a S3 connector.
- IBM/FileNet – Specifically called out by Gartner for not moving “as quickly as some competitors to embrace the public cloud”. Conflicts between own cloud/data center offerings will continue.
Being cloud native should be a differentiation for ECM customers looking to move to the cloud. Smart customers will look for vendors that do more than just run in the public cloud but instead have considerable experience supporting the pubic cloud vendor and take advantage of cloud services of the cloud vendor.
Let us know your thoughts below.