5 Predictions for 2017 About ECM and the Future of Digital Documents

According to the industry association AIIM, in the past 20 years, we’ve been through 3 distinct eras in the evolution of digital documents and the content management “sweet space” – the intersection of People, Processes, and Technology. 

 

 

 PEOPLE

 PROCESS

 TECHNOLOGY

Document Management & Workflow

Users =  limited number of document and records specialists

Mission critical, document-intensive departmental processes at very large organizations

Custom, complex, and expensive and driven by the business

Enterprise Content Management

SharePoint starts to spread “content management” to more knowledge workers

Some downstream expansion, but still a big organization game; silo explosion

Still custom, complex, and expensive but driven by IT

Mobile and Cloud Content Management

Target user = everyone; availability of ECM capabilities on mobile devices no longer an option; it’s a core requirement

Enterprise SaaS applications expand reach

Focus returns to the business.  IT skill set shifts to mobile and information strategy 

Digital Document Workflow

As we think about these eras in the long-term goal of digitizing document processes, it is important to keep in mind three major points: 

  1. These eras are coming faster and faster.

  2. Technologies exist in beta long before large companies put them into practice.

  3. Successive eras don’t replace what came before – they are stacked on top of what came previously.

So what is next on the horizon?  How will the ECM space continue to evolve in 2017? 

5 predictions for 2017 about ECM and optimizing workflow processes: 

  1. Organizations will begin – slowly – to finally realize that information compliance and privacy concerns can no longer be ignored. This will be driven by two factors: 1) the sheer quantity of information coming into organizations will force them to change their approach; and 2) rising nationalism will create increasing numbers of country-specific – and often conflicting – information management requirements. Digital documents and digitizing document processes is the first step.
  1. The “cloud” question is changing from “if” to “when” and “how.” Sure there are still information governance people who believe that ALL business-critical information must be stored on premise.  These are very same people who refuse to believe that their sales people have run off and implemented Salesforce.  The truth of the matter is that the ship has sailed on the cloud.  The cloud won’t be the solution for ALL information management problems, but it needs to be a PART of every discussion.
  1. There will be continued balkanization in the solution-provider space. There are now many flavors of content management solutions.  Some organizations have been “doing ECM” for a decade and are pushing hard on the integration of content management capabilities into broader customer experiences and analytics.  Other organizations have yet to encounter a scanner and still reply on volumes of paper to run their business.  And everything in between.  It will be critical for user organizations to identify where they are – and where they want to be – on the digital documents continuum. 
  1. Advantage will flow to content management solutions that are quick to implement and easy to integrate. It’s all about applications.  It always has been, but it has never been truer.  Multiple applications that can easily be built on a common content infrastructure will be in high demand.  And for those organizations that have yet to embrace content management in a meaningful way, it will be critical that solution providers provide a relatively painless path to start small, build a bridgehead, and then expand.
  1. Merely storing content is so yesterday. It wasn’t that long ago that organizations were able to achieve competitive advantage by simply getting the paper.  The emphasis was on scanning the paper and storing images.  Those are just table stakes now.  The future is all about using and optimizing content, not just storing

 It’s going to be an interesting ride. Join us! 

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Topics: Workflow, Enterprise Content Management

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