Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 etc are hot terms and some people have already started talking of Web 3.0! However, in the ECM space, I think there are quite a few challenges of 1.0 (or even pre 1.0) that need to be addressed. For example, Content Archival is an important stage in content lifecycle. Concerns like compliance are driving the need to implement ECM systems to build long term (greater than 20-30 years) content retention systems. However, consider the challenges that this poses that vendors have not yet cracked:
- Can the content created by your favorite application be modified 20 years later? The macros written in some of my Lotus 123 spreadsheets 8 years back are totally useless today because my company no longer used Lotus. Constant upgrades to software versions limit compatibility with previous versions.
- The hardware and/or operating system 20 years later will be completely different from today and even if you could find a copy of Lotus 123, will you be able to install it on that hardware?
- Most media have a limited shelf life – CDs go bad in a couple of years. Some media types are already obsolete – I can’t find a way to open my documents stored in floppy drives any more.
I don’t think the above issues related to software and hardware obsolescence are going to be resolved soon. This is where standards could play an important role. So instead of using proprietary formats, you should push your vendors to follow standards for storage, metadata, content access, security and so on. This will ensure that it’ll be ralatively easier to read your content 20 years later (point 1 above).
Also, it helps if you keep cleansing and migrating often – Migrating from version 1.0 -> version 2.0 -> version 3.0 -> version 4.0 is probably easier than migrating from version 1.0 -> version 4.0