Content, data services enable digital workplace transformation

There's a lot of tech behind digital workplace transformations: middleware, application modernization, content and data services. Done right, it enables work-from-anywhere models.

With the consumerization of IT, enterprises are wrestling with opportunities for Digital workplace transformation. Company employees expect intuitive experiences on the job -- seamlessly using devices and applications at work that are as easy to use as shopping and surfing experiences at home.

Many companies face significant challenges to meet these expectations -- stove-piped data sources, legacy content repositories, rigid yet limited security, and regulatory compliance. Most organizations have already invested substantial time and resources developing enterprise applications, tethered to desktop devices and dedicated to specific tasks. These legacy repositories collect valuable information for generating important insights. Rip and replace is not an option.

Enter digital experience design, a way to recalibrate the front-end interface and content stack to enable employees to work from anywhere, on any device, but using the old infrastructure.

A digital workplace transformation entails more than launching websites and relying on WCM for ongoing management, however. Savvy firms seek to produce innovative digital experiences while working with existing IT investments. These firms must encapsulate and extend the information managed at the core of their operations -- involving ECM, ERP, CRM, logistics and other kinds of enterprise systems.

Needed are cost-effective ways to unlock content and data within these systems of record -- both structured databases and repositories containing documents and other kinds of unstructured information. Firms can then transform this stored information into actionable intelligence, and deliver purpose-built solutions to a range of devices running at the edge of corporate networks.

Insights from existing applications

IT services provider ASG Technologies highlights how connections make a difference. The company is ramping up its portfolio of content and data services to produce actionable insights from existing enterprise applications. ASG is increasingly focused on delivering digital experience design to employees within an enterprise, enabling firms to modernize operations and increase productivity while relying on their ironclad legacy workflows that cannot be ripped and replaced, at least in the near term.

Specifically, ASG offers solutions for managing and extracting information from both structured and unstructured repositories while ensuring governance and security. It is steadily expanding its toolkits and platforms for delivering purpose-built experiences that transform business activities.

By relying on a range of content and data services from ASG, enterprises can modernize application access to disparate systems of record, unlock the knowledge of stored information assets, and enable a digital workplace transformation.

An expanding product portfolio

ASG is steadily expanding its product portfolio as an enterprise software provider. In March, the company made two significant steps -- an acquisition and an updated product release.

  • First, ASG acquired Mowbly, an application development platform that brings business process management (BPM) capabilities to the edge of the network. The platform features a mobile-first approach to ensure that apps can run on both mobile and tethered devices. This acquisition enables ASG to add workflow and visual modeling capabilities to its content and data services offerings. Companies can rapidly develop mobile apps and easily repurpose knowledge maintained within systems of record.
  • Second, ASG launched Mobius 8.0, seeking to ensure that its flagship content services platform remains competitive within the ever-shifting ecosystem of the open web. New capabilities include web services interoperability through RESTful APIs, enhanced cloud performance, federated search, support for audio and video streaming, Microsoft SharePoint integration, and enhanced security and compliance.

These solutions span public, private and hybrid cloud deployments, in addition to on-premises infrastructures. Application modernization vendors like these provide enterprises with the capabilities they need for repurposing information from legacy repositories and rapidly producing the digital experiences that employees expect.

Managing metadata for a digital workplace transformation

Key to digital experience design is recognizing the granularity of content and data assets. It provides middleware to extract the metadata within systems of record, capture the associated content and data assets, harmonize metadata through extensible schemas, and repurpose the components for purpose-built applications. These content and data services are optimized around the underlying systems of record.

In ASG's case:

  • Mobius accesses unstructured information, stored within ECM repositories, corporate archives, company file systems and other kinds of content silos. It works with RESTful interfaces and industry standards (WebDav and CMIS) to help manage complex collections of hard-to-integrate content repositories.
  • Its Enterprise Data Intelligence platform accesses data across relational databases. This platform harmonizes metadata definitions, data lineage, data catalogs and data governance policies, enabling a consistent view into disparate data sources.

Notably these services are repository-agnostic. They provide a granular policy management foundation to transform enterprise content and data according to corporate policies and regulatory compliance.

ASG also provides modeling toolkits to design and deliver purpose-built applications. Using its Workspaces product, companies can easily create widgets that access disparate data sources and present results within unified screen displays. And utilizing Mowbly, firms can rapidly incorporate BPM capabilities when building applications. These applications, in turn, can be delivered to any kind of device, including smartphones and tablets for on-the-go workers.

Modeling digital experiences

When it comes to pursuing opportunities for a digital workplace transformation, firms must recognize that they have a problem before they can begin to solve it. Most medium and large companies already rely on systems of record, designed to automate routine operations, manage high-value documents and ensure systematic planning for enterprise resources. Now they must want and need to exploit them, and make back-office information useful to nimble, next-generation experiences.

ASG offers the toolkits and services to access legacy content and data sources, extract meaning to provide insights and knowledge, and incorporate the results into valuable digital experience designs. Of course, toolkits and services are one thing. Profitable and practical digital experiences are another.

The missing element remains the digital modeling -- designing the customer journeys that produce experiences, together with mapping the content and data elements needed to satisfactorily complete them. In this case, of course, a company's employees are the customers.

ASG and its competitors' content and data services apply best practices about digital design modeling -- honed over the past decade for orchestrating customer-facing experiences through WCM platforms -- to the much bigger challenge of modernizing enterprise operations.

Boiling work down into a simplified basket of web-esque services is kind of a throwback that belies a complex back-end network of legacy systems. But when employees are on the go, with mobile devices of all stripes, they need to get things done -- and that model is proving to work best.

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