Over the last couple of years Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has evolved at a considerable pace, forcing Gartner to review the definition in the 2016 edition of its annual publication called ‘The Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management’. ECM is now defined as “a set of services and micro-services, embodied either as an integrated product suite or as separate applications that share common APIs and repositories, to exploit diverse content types, and serve multiple constituencies and numerous use cases across an organization”.
Traditionally used to define products for managing unstructured content, ECM has turned into a valuable foundation for companies on the digital transformation journey by helping them to realize new value and turn their existing content into smart content. So let’s take a look at some of the trends that will have an impact on ECM technology in the coming years.
Struggling with compliance challenges?
Today’s disruptive information era calls for new regulations to protect sensitive data. Therefore the European Union is issuing a set of regulations that need to be transposed into national laws.
Whenever you book a flight online or join a social networking website, you hand over vital personal information such as your name, address and credit card details. What happens to this data? What rights do you have regarding your personal information? All these questions need to be addressed, obliging organizations to have a plan for legally archiving, storing and managing sensitive data.
Want to improve employee productivity and collaboration?
The workplace is evolving faster than ever before. Over the next 5 years, it is estimated that Generation Y – a generation which is used to working with fast technological solutions – will form a large part of the total global workforce. The ECM technology and mobile capabilities now allow companies to interact with employees — and customers — all over the world with simple, intuitive and responsive user interfaces. Unstructured data is put into context, improving efficiency in your business processes. It enables employees to collaborate and share content smoothly and to integrate ECM with additional lead applications like Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, SuccessFactors, SAP, Oracle and SharePoint.
What about cloud solutions?
According to Forrester, the cloud market will continue to accelerate in 2017 “as enterprises seek to gain efficiencies as they scale their computer resources to better serve customers”. For companies with distributed workforces that need access to information anytime, anyplace, ECM in the cloud has become an attractive alternative.
Hybrid clouds enable traditional ECM functionality with cloud storage. These solutions are attracting increasing interest from companies as they offer a central location from which workers can share and edit documents from anywhere with version control, workflows and audit trails. Furthermore, they keep sensitive corporate data behind the firewall. Many industry experts regard hybrid clouds as the future of ECM, and this is confirmed by Forrester research: 59 percent of decision-makers are planning to adopt a hybrid cloud model.
Is augmented reality the future?
Gartner defines augmented reality (AR) as the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects. Using the abundance of content in context and in a smart way is one of the key challenges of ECM. This will ultimately lead to delivery of insightful information to the right person at the right time. Augmented Reality in combination with ECM will pave the way for new fields of application such as real-time dynamic text translation, intelligent archiving and information mapping processes. This technology mix allows for more process automation at workplaces where workstations are not owned, such as at warehouses, hospitals, construction sites and so on.
Summing up, as the digital transformation continues to gather speed, ECM is a valuable solution for companies looking to increase their organizational productivity and ease the compliance burden.
Why Enterprise Information Management matters
Author: Hicham Chammour. You can connect with Hicham on LinkedIn.