Alfresco’s digital transformation platform play
Blog: MWD Advisors
Alfresco Digital Business Platform is a single, open platform that provides an integrated suite of containerised, auto-scaled microservices for content, process and records management which can be deployed on premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid architecture.
It’s all about the experience now
Delivering high-quality digital experiences requires that content or process management functionality, where it’s needed, is delivered via service capabilities rather than out-of-the-box applications. On top of that, organisations are increasingly looking to differentiate experiences by augmenting the resulting custom applications with specialised services that provide personalisation, recommendations and more. Embracing a platform ecosystem is the smart way forward for Alfresco, and its Digital Business Platform is well positioned to provide an open, cloud-ready platform upon which to create those experiences.
AI is cloud content’s killer app
The concept of ‘making content work for you’ has evolved quickly from the nexus of process / case management use cases that Alfresco pitched when we first profiled the company’s offerings towards the end of 2015. Now, the use of AI and machine learning technologies to drive greater insight and value has effectively become the killer app for content processing in the cloud: there are myriad specialised services available as components in a platform ecosystem – all with the potential to help an organisation effect a content-driven digital transformation of its services. Alfresco’s move to offer content and process services via a cloud-native, and ‘AWS-first’, Digital Business Platform therefore makes good sense – in terms of leveraging specialised third-party AI-based services; as well as providing richer and easier-to-exploit integrations with the existing applications that employees already ‘live in’.
A keen focus on developers and partners; growing an ecosystem
Alfresco is focusing on ‘time to value’ as a key metric when it comes to how it continues to develop and refine the developer experience with the Digital Business Platform. It’s looking to partners to build out the ecosystem of Alfresco-powered applications (as well as its own home-grown and customer projects) – which means developer-friendly environments (hence the focus on the Application Development Framework), and a commitment to enhancing the REST APIs and providing easier installation, configuration, administration, instrumentation and monitoring (at scale, for cloud deployments, utilising developer-friendly AWS services).
Introducing Alfresco’s Digital Business Platform
In February 2017 Alfresco rebranded its Alfresco One (ECM) Alfresco Activiti (BPM) and Alfresco Records Management products as Alfresco Content, Process and Governance Services respectively – available via the Alfresco Digital Business Platform. Its evolution into becoming a more overt platform player (leveraging the interconnectivity and interoperability within an ecosystem) comes alongside two other developments in Alfresco’s approach:
- Greater focus on design thinking approaches to digital transformations from its consulting services arm (starting with content digitisation; then putting this content to work with process technologies, coupled with governance services; to drive radical improvements in an enterprise’s performance or reach).
- Renewed emphasis on its open core credentials (as it’s seeing further open source penetration right the way up the developer stack in ECM / BPM ecosystems).
Alfresco’s move has come at a time when content models and processes are being brought together across the digital enterprise, alongside wider, cloud-based ‘platform thinking’ approaches that open up access to multiple third-party specialist AI-related services, from which new breeds of ‘smarter’ applications can be developed that can deliver extreme personalisation to the user. Examples here include natural language processing, contextual analysis, and machine learning – providing services for summarisation, sentiment analysis, recommendations, exception processing, security analysis, predictive search, and more.
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