ECM vs EFSS

Enterprise file sharing and Sync (EFSS) solutions gained popularity and became the favorite tool for individuals to synchronize and share their documents, photos, and files across multiple devices. Due to its simplicity and ease of use, they have also become an essential part of the day to day activities in organizations.

While ECM solutions provide a more sophisticated and advanced functionalities compared to EFSS, an increasing number of employees started using EFSS solutions i.e. Dropbox, Box, Nextcloud to share and collaborate on business documents whether internally or externally (customers).

When consumer cloud storage services emerged in the organizations, it started to challenge conventional ECM solutions. While enterprise file sharing and sync tools provide simple and intuitive user experience, smooth collaboration, and remote accessibility, ECM solutions are more focused on control, compliance, security, and automation.

In this article, we will detail the benefits of using EFSS tools, comparison between ECM and EFSS and how they could get along.


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EFSS Benefits

In addition to EFSS easy to use and simple user experience which quickly brought users attention, there are some key benefits:

  • Content synchronized across all devices (mobile, tablets, pcs).
  • Smoother collaboration enabling not only a read only access to the documents but also real time editing.
  • Notification engine on each change on the document.
  • Easily share folders and documents between different parties.

ECM Benefits

As stated earlier, ECM solutions provide more sophisticated and advanced functionalities that almost all medium to big enterprises are in urgent need of. Some of which are

  • Flexible yet powerful security allowing more control over the organization’s content.
  • Document audit trail where each action on the document is logged.
  • Complete document lifecycle management
  • Business process management module allowing for process automation and data entry.
  • Business intelligence: though not all ECM solutions provide integration with major BI tools, if available it will allow to make use of the important data and faster decision making.

ECM Solution Integration with EFSS

Because employees started to use EFSS tools in the organization to manage their information, it has become essential for ECM providers to have full integration with enterprise file sharing and sync tools. Most of the well known ECM solutions already provide the two below integration model

  • One way integration: users have the ability to send documents to their preferred EFSS Tool directly from the ECM solution. In addition users can select whether or not to automatically update the document in their EFSS repository if it has been changed in the ECM software.
  • Two ways integration: When adding a document into the users preferred tool, automatically the document will be imported in to the ECM solution.

This integration in my opinion gave users the ability to combine the advantages of both worlds for the sake of the enterprise.

What’s Next?

Both solutions have their own business usage. If companies are looking for a simple, standalone and easy to use file sharing solution with little need for security then EFSS would be their best option. But if companies are in need for advanced and automated content management, then ECM solutions are their best option.

From my experience, EFSS tools can be used in small organizations but definitely not a good candidate for medium or large organizations. The integration between ECM and EFSS have also gave organizations to use these two tools side by side allowing to combine the pros of each solution type.

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