Interview: The Nuxeo Take on Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence

A longer version of this post first appeared in CMSWire. This is the second of a two-part interview with Chris McLaughlin, the chief marketing officer at Nuxeo, a content services platform provider. Part One of this Q&A with McLaughlin ran August 2, 2018.

The content management industry is changing because of forces such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Content management technology providers—including vendors such as Nuxeo—are going through significant changes. They are driven by forces such as cloud computing, digital transformation, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Doculabs Practice Leader Lane Severson has been interviewing leaders from the content management vendor community to get their take on the transformations underway in the industry and to share with Doculabs readers where they think content management is headed.

The best approach to digital transformation starts with your customers.

Lane Severson: Everyone wants to “digitally transform” their business. But digital transformation means different things to different people.

And at their core, organizations face challenges with their siloed processes and legacy technology investments. Somehow they need to turn those challenges into opportunities. What tips can you offer to organizations struggling with this issue?

Chris McLaughlin: Here are some quick tips and words of advice: First, begin with your customers and work backwards. Work to understand their unique needs and how best to service them and then deploy new products, services and solutions to meet those needs.

Focus on the customer experience and on providing the best possible service. Remember also that your customers and their service needs may be fundamentally different than those of your latest competitor, so don’t get distracted by every new startup or app in your industry.

Be selective as you modernize your infrastructure.

Secondly, selectively modernize your infrastructure. If your legacy technology investments are holding you back, invest in new technologies.

Don’t buy into the fallacy that this means all your previous investments need to be migrated to those new technologies or platforms. Take a more intelligent approach and move what you need to move.


Chris McLaughlin CMO Nuxeo ECM Nuxeo CMO Chris McLaughlin


If you have something that works and that isn’t keeping you from transforming your business, leave it where it is. Legacy platforms can be expensive to manage and maintain, but they also are expensive to migrate.

Look for newer technologies that can connect to and federate information from your existing systems without forcing you to migrate everything. Look also for new platforms that will enable you to quickly and easily build the new apps and solutions that will enable your transformation.

When it comes to transformation, focus on your business, not that of your competitors.

Finally, learn from the competition without chasing them. Devise transformational strategies that fit into your business, not into theirs.

If you are an established global insurer with a value proposition that combines multiple policies for higher net worth individuals, then trying to chase a startup FinTech company that focuses solely on offering instant decisions on renters’ insurance is probably not a winning approach. However, learning how companies like these startups are building new apps and reinventing customer experiences is a great way to lay the foundation for your own organizational transformation.

One other thing that startups do right: they aren’t afraid to try new things and fail fast. Look for ways to build a culture that rewards experimentation and encourages people to stretch to the point of failure.

How does artificial intelligence fit in today’s content management world?

Severson: What would it look like if you were to imagine really good artificial intelligence working in concert with all of the elements of content management we’ve been discussing?

McLaughlin: First and foremost, we don’t really need to imagine this, because Nuxeo has been using AI with our platform for well over a year now. We are in what I view as the second phase of AI adoption.

Our first phase began with AI technologies like the Google Vision API and Amazon Rekognition. Using these algorithms we have been able to “tag” images and videos that are loaded into the Nuxeo platform. This has been valuable, especially for our digital asset management customers, because it automates the process for loading new content, or assets, into Nuxeo.

Machine learning can describe content more effectively than users can.

Machine learning technologies do a much more thorough job of describing content than users typically do. And that can make content and assets easier to find and reuse in the future.

In phase two, we have been focused on metadata extraction and enrichment. One of the key challenges of content management has always been that it can be very labor intensive to add content to a content management system.

So we are using third-party AI technologies, along with our own proprietary models, to create a trainable engine for metadata extraction. By being able to accurately identify and apply metadata to content, we can automate the process by which new content is added to the system, as well as greatly enrich the metadata for existing content. This is true in both our system or in other systems that we connect to and federate.

We also have begun to experiment with natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis, which we think can be incredibly valuable for case and correspondence management.

Next generation artificial intelligence will automatically add content into content management systems.

However, our industry is only in the early phases with AI. Ultimately at Nuxeo we imagine a world in which users won’t have to manually add content to a content management system. We imagine a world in which critical content and vital corporate records will be identified automatically and will be curated appropriately.

We also imagine a world in which content management systems understand your role, your preferences and what information you need to be effective [in your job.]

That information will be delivered to you when you need it, and how you need it. We also imagine learning business processes that intelligently adapt to changing circumstances and learn to automate routine actions and decisions.

In short, we envision a future where knowledge workers are freed from routine and manual activities, and can focus on more vital and transformational activities.

CMO Chris McLaughlin guides Nuxeo's go-to-market strategy and is responsible for the company's marketing worldwide.

Lane Severson Q&As on the Future of Content Management

Lane Severson's 2018 content management interview series:

Rich Medina
Lane Severson
I’m a Practice Leader, managing relationships with Doculabs’ West Coast clients to improve information management and security.