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Nuxeo among new wave of content services platform vendors

An Indigenous-led organization is preserving British Columbia's native languages with the help of a newer type of content management platform that's designed to handle multiple content formats.

Content services platforms that can store, sort and retrieve almost any kind of information are being seen as the next evolution of enterprise content management systems.

One unusual application is in the Canadian province of British Columbia, where the First Peoples' Cultural Council, an organization led by Indigenous peoples, uses a content services platform from Nuxeo to preserve about 34 indigenous languages.

FirstVoices, the system the council now maintains with the Nuxeo software, contains more than 400,000 artifacts -- including audio, video, still images and text -- from the tongues of native peoples scattered across the vast northwestern province.

Nuxeo content services platform software is a repository for audio, photo and text artifacts from a native Canadian language.
Screenshot of Nuxeo content services platform with elements of a native Canadian language

"Fluency levels in B.C. are endangered. They're low," said Daniel Yona, the FirstVoices development manager and an IT professional with a programming background. "Elders are passing away. There's kind of an urgent need to capture this information, and that's why this is an active project."

Seeking an open source platform

The council launched the FirstVoices project to preserve endangered languages in 2000. About two years ago, the group decided it needed to upgrade its technology and decided that, of the various content services platforms available, Nuxeo's best suited its needs.

Elders are passing away. There's kind of an urgent need to capture this information, and that's why this is an active project.
Daniel Yonadevelopment manager, First Peoples' Cultural Council

The council did not go through a long selection process. Rather, it sought out the Nuxeo content services platform because of its Open Source, easy-to-use and single license approach that accommodates an unlimited number of users, Yona said. Another advantage was the system's speed.

"It allows us to onboard people and get them to contribute way faster because the code is online," Yona said.

After using Nuxeo for a short free trial, the council contracted with Nuxeo and expanded FirstVoices to enable authorized users across the province to quickly add content to the Microsoft Azure Cloud-based platform on their mobile devices or computers.

Nuxeo extended a discounted price to the nonprofit, community-oriented group. Regular pricing is based on a subscription model depending on the services and tools the user wants.

Daniel Yona, development manager, First Voices language preservation projectDaniel Yona

The most important components of FirstVoices' content include audio snippets of elders speaking phrases, telling stories and singing songs; written passages; phonetic pronunciation guides; and images of objects associated with their native language names.

To revitalize or at least preserve endangered languages, the council employs linguists, language champions and native speakers, as well as recorders and administrators who can approve words and phrases as authentic and authorize their publication.

ECM market vernacular changes

Nuxeo, which has corporate headquarters in Paris and New York, is part of a wave of content management software companies that were once fairly universally categorized as enterprise content management, or ECM, vendors.

Now, though, some content management vendors, such as Nuxeo, Hyland, Box and others, explicitly call themselves content services platform (CSP) providers.

Gartner, one of the leading tech market research firms, rechristened the ECM niche as CSP in its October 2017 report, "Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms," which defined vendors that have expanded the range of capabilities for which ECMs were traditionally known.

Content service platforms commonly include service-oriented support for multiple content formats and external content repositories, and they deliver services either from cloud, hybrid or on-premises architectures, the report said.

CSP market growth

Gartner sized the robust market niche in 2017 at $7 billion. It has grown steadily at a rate of just less than 7% a year, said Michael Woodbridge, a Gartner analyst and one of the report's authors.

Images representing native Canadian languages
Logos representing native Canadian languages being preserved with the Nuxeo content services platform

Within that market, there are some well-established leaders, most notably OpenText, the big Canadian vendor whose CEO recently referred to the company as a content services platform provider -- though the vendor's brand messaging doesn't appear to reflect that identity quite yet.

Nuxeo fits into the market as an up-and-coming player that is distinguished by its native cloud, low-code, open source architecture and consumer-grade user interface, Woodbridge said.

Woodbridge noted that while Nuxeo is a long way from enjoying the revenue levels of the biggest names in the business -- Open Text, Hyland and Microsoft -- the company's revenues have increased about 50% annually, and Nuxeo has made inroads in the government sector.

"They are quite interesting in how they go about this challenge. They have a very modern stack," Woodbridge said. "They're designed from the ground up, while some of the vendors in this space have sort of legacy architectures."

Nuxeo targets government customers

As for Nuxeo's campaign to sell into the government markets in the U.S. and Canada, in which Microsoft has been a dominant force, the company says it is intensifying its efforts in this core vertical market because of the sector's fast growth.

One example is the First Peoples' Cultural Council in British Columbia -- a Crown corporation, a public sector organization established and funded by the British Columbia government.

Lisa Marcus, vice president of government for North America at Nuxeo, noted that the Nuxeo content services platform uses a case management paradigm in many of its applications, and particularly for government agencies in the process of digitizing all of their documents.

Federal policies directing U.S. government agencies to manage all their documents, records and communications electronically by 2020 is also driving growth in the government market, Marcus said.

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