A brief history of Cloud Content Management

When most of Dash Data’s staff began their careers in technology, the concept and term cloud computing had not yet been coined. There are debates over the origin of the term, but for the most part it became widely used after Eric Schmidt of Google used the phrase “cloud computing” to describe the way Google approaches software as a service at a conference in 2006.

Cloud content management systems started materializing shortly after, in fact box.com was actually founded in 2005, with dropbox being the second major player to the space 2 years later in 2007. These two companies defined what would become the CCM (cloud content management) space as they went down two very different paths; ultimately generating dozens new complementary and competitive companies along the way.

In it’s early years, dropbox pursued the consumer space while box focused on creating a platform for the enterprise. Both these companies forged what is known as “freemium selling.” Dropbox was able to gain tremendous success on the consumer front with this model. Essentially the idea is “try before you buy” which hadn’t really been approached before in software. The reason they could do this, is because the software was cloud based vs. installed locally, so at anytime they had the ability to shut off a trial of the software- a concept much harder to accomplish if you’ve installed software locally via a CD or hard disk.

Dropbox successfully gained the most users in this space very rapidly, by offering extra free cloud storage space if you managed to get other people to sign up for their service. Box simply offered a free, watered down version of their system, which was geared toward businesses that could sign up for a paid account if they needed the extra space and functionality.

Eventually, more competitors started showing up like efile, sharefile, egnyte, and huddle. The cloud content management space grew, both the public and enterprise space started getting used to the idea and the concept of storing content in a cloud. Major companies started to take notice of this new industry and when they felt it was worth joining, companies like Apple joined with icloud, Google joined with gDrive, and Microsoft entered with onedrive.

In addition to more competition, there were other cloud industries being formed such as digital signature, electronic faxing, office efficiency tools, mobile scanners, mobile device management tools. All of these types of tools needed to integrate cleanly with the content management systems where the clients’ documents now reside. The race between CCMs in the enterprise space then became “who can build the most secure cloud platform?” Meaning- we need to provide world-class security around a system that integrates with all the available tools on the market.

The CCMs in the consumer space started realizing that there are big contracts to be gained in the enterprise- fortune 500’s spending over a million dollars per year to store their content and enable collaboration on the content in these tools. These deals were much larger than the $2-$5/month fickle consumer that would pay for and cancel on a whim for the next best priced system. The consumer level tools had to start building enterprise class versions of their software to compete for the large contracts- not an easy task if you’ve been operating in a specific manner for 3+ years.

That brings us to today, where the next step in CCM may not be defined yet. Though we have some insight to these systems that will begin allowing for complex workflow and extra redundancy and security to allow for compliance with numerous strict federally regulated industries. Further, there will be more seamless syncing between the cloud and local machines via drive mapping. We’ll see where the industry takes us, but rest assured, Dash Data will be here to help your business navigate through the technological changes and ensure you stay at the forefront of efficiency.