ECM vs CSP Solutions: The Truth You Need To Know Now

In this article, we will discuss the difference between enterprise content management (ECM) system and content services platform (ECM vs CSP).

Back in December 2016, Gartner has officially retired the term ECM (enterprise content management) and replaced it by CSP (Content Services Platform).

Traditional enterprise content management solutions (ECM system) focused on having a single repository for all the enterprise digital content and although a lot of companies achieved success using this approach, there was a need for modern information management practices with the ability to effectively manage all the content being generated today including video, audio, social media, etc.

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Having realized that there was a need for a vision change of how organizations are managing their content specially that information generated is expected to become huge, Gartner has introduced a new term CSP (Content Services Platform) which have similar goals but different approach from enterprise content management (ECM).

Check out my article What is ECM? to know all the details about enterprise content management.

ECM vs CSP System

Content services platform (CSP) is “a set of services and micro services, embodied either as an integrated product suite or as separate applications that share common APIs and repositories, to exploit diverse content types and to serve multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization.”

In a simple definition, Content services platform (CSP) is the next generation of enterprise content management software based on single API that supports multiple repositories, end points, and business cases allowing them to be used in different departments.

For more detailed information about enterprise content management, check out my article What is ECM?

In a broader view, Content services platform (CSP) and enterprise content management (ECM) may look alike however there are significant differences as detailed below.

Single vs Connected Information Sources

As mentioned above, enterprise content management systems (ECM system) were designed with the main focus of having all organization digital content stored in a single repository but what happened is organizations are left with more than 2 systems to manage content.

Did you know 52% of organizations have 3 or more ECM/DM/RM systems, and 22% have 5+ systems.

Content services platform (CSP) connects all information source and allows users to access content stored in an old ECM system, or data stored in a legacy application all from a single location.

Multiple End Points

An enterprise content management (ECM) system has one interface, most probably a web portal, to allow users to manage their organization’s content while content services platform (CSP) focus on delivering information to the right recipients (users, legacy applications, etc.) at the right time and the right place. Users can access content from a web portal, mobile app, Office Addons, and from third party application integration.

One Center API

One API is used in all the above possible mentioned end points to access the content services platform – CSP and that will make sure all the business rules, validations, etc. are managed the same way in all these different end points. In addition these API or REST API will give your organization the ability to integrate the content services platform – CSP with different line of business applications used across departments.

Integration with 3rd Party Applications

Today employees use a variety of business applications during their day to day activities and content services platform provide integration with most common line of business applications to move content around. Major integrations available are with Office365, SAP, Salesforce, EFSS tools, etc.

Some major enterprise content management – ECM system providers have also addressed the integration with major business applications to help their users access and circulate content efficiently.

Customizable User Interface

In the past, enterprise related systems have suffered from the lack of a fresh user interface allowing users to achieve their daily work in a more enjoyable practice however now a big focus on the user interface is being done to allow easier adaptation on the enterprise level.

Content services platform should have a customizable user interface allowing the portal administrators to configure it as per department needs.

Artificial Intelligence Adoption

Artificial intelligence is improving our daily quality of life and can play a big role in information management which will result in improved productivity, improved efficiency, and reduce cost. Using advanced cognitive technologies will allow content services platform to automate classification, automate capturing (single and in batch), extract metadata, content redaction (hide personal identification information) and a lot more.

Low-Code Process Automation

A major capability in content services platform is the ability to allow citizen developers to create application to address departmental business needs within weeks without much development. Content services platform – CSP providers offer full graphical workflow and form designers with advanced capabilities to quickly access and route content across different stakeholders.

Most enterprise content management – ECM system providers have a complete business process management (BPM) module which will allow to automate processes and router information but it needs more advanced development skills.


Both enterprise content management – ECM and content services platform – CSP have similar goals but each solution provides a different approach to manage the information chaos in organizations.

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