feather in the sky
After years of repackaging and rebundling its flagship OnBase, Hyland is releasing a content management solution geared specifically towards SMBs PHOTO: Jenelle Ball

Don't be fooled by the "enterprise" in enterprise content management — medium and small businesses need to manage their content and data too.

Westlake, Ohio-based Hyland, developer of the OnBase enterprise content management system (ECM), are releasing a new product designed specifically for this audience. Called AirBase, the solution is a simple, cloud-based document management application hosted in the Hyland Cloud. 

Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB) looking for more robust content management capabilities often turn to ECM solutions which offer more complexity and capabilities than they need. AirBase provides lighter weight ECM capabilities to this audience so they can securely store, manage and organize business data. 

According to Brenda Kirk, senior vice president of product and strategy at Hyland, AirBase can be deployed in as little as two hours. Employees will have access to their business content anywhere and at any time via an "intuitive" user interface. The solution also comes with a range of APIs for customized integrations.

AirBase Builds on ShareBase Foundation

Today's release was to a large extent made possible with the release last year of Hyland's file share and sync platform ShareBase.

Kirk noted many of the components available to ShareBase users will also be available to AirBase users, and that the two can be tightly integrated.

If it works like ECM Lite and costs like ECM Lite, it must be ECM Lite, right? Not so, said Kirk. AirBase borrows features from Hyland's OnBase ECM that go beyond what most Lite ECMs currently offer.

"What OnBase offers is much more robust and comes with a breadth of functionality that is not necessary for a small business, or for very simple document management needs,” Kirk explained.

“So if you just want, for example, the top 10 features, AirBase is really a bundle containing that. It's not that you can’t use OnBase to do the same, but if you did you wouldn’t be getting the full value of OnBase. It's more about the business needs than about the ability of the platform to scale.”

AirBase Features

A quick overview of the AirBase functionality shows it offers the kinds of features organizations looking for basic content and document management capabilities want, including:

  • Graphical tile-based user interface which allows users to
    • Add and classify documents into logical groups from any web browser, mobile devices and selected multifunction devices
    • Easily search for and retrieve documents with business-defined search fields
    • View and assign to-do activities
  • Manage user security and configure/expand the solution
  • Mobile access via any web browser or mobile device
  • User-driven person-to-person document routing and notifications
  • Ability to assign document status to improve visibility
  • Collaborative capabilities, allowing users to add and view comments

Catering to the SMB Market

A number of factors pushed Hyland into creating AirBase.

“We have traditionally gone to market using an extensive and valuable partner channel and that channel has served the enterprise and upper end of the SMB market for a long time,” Kirk said.

“As enterprise content management and information management has matured over time, so too have the needs in that market also matured.”

 Brenda Kirk, senior vice president of product and strategy at HylandUntil now, Hyland addressed the demand from the mid-market by offering special component bundles from the OnBase platform, each with different licensing arrangements — a solution which was far from ideal according to Kirk. 

The growing sophistication in the Hyland portfolio's technology made it possible to provide a new product specifically designed for SMBs.

“Our enterprise system OnBase has outgrown and expanded beyond what many SMBs need and we found that OnBase introduced some unnecessary complexities into the mid-market,” she added.

"We looked at the technology and modern tools that are available now and we quickly began to see a great opportunity for a multi-tenant cloud based application that simply addressed SMB needs.”

Those needs included easy deployment, mobility, as well as a simple and intuitive interface that would require low overheads from the customers the partners were selling to.

“Things like training, things like maintenance, things like infrastructure are all catered for. Our goal was to remove all those variables just as we do with the OnBase platform, but at a different level," Kirk added.

Targeting the Mid-Market

The release clearly makes it easier for Hyland to gain traction in the SMB space and cater to its existing customers, but it also segments its market more efficiently.

"Had the new technologies not been available, we would still be able to address the SMB market need. It would have simply required more creative segmentation of functionality for the OnBase platform," Kirk said.

“Our technological evolution is incorporating all these new technology paradigms anyway so we are able to tap into the advances we have been able to make from a platform perspective very easily.”