Experts in ECM today are trying to sharpen the blurred image of its future! As massive amounts of data and smart technologies invaded organizations many questions about the future of ECM have emerged. Today organizations depend heavily on ECM to save time, effort, and money. Business owners also understand that ECM as we know it today will no longer stay the same, according to the patterns of history and the visions of the future. It is now the time of “Smart” devices and technologies; cellphones, computers, and even TVs got brains and it is a matter of time before “smart” affects ECM. Some even discuss that ECM era will come to an end due to new forces invading the business behavior, and will be replaced by a sixth new era.
The future will say its word
Three main forces quickly emerging in business and technology worlds will probably mark the end of ECM era: consumerization, cloud and mobile, and the Internet of Things. The markets now depend strongly on consumers and their expectations of the software and applications. Everyone now wants to take control over operations and love to get involved in any phase of the process lifecycle. Guess what fulfilled that desire for them and created that enthusiasm to control! Yes, definitely “Smart” mobiles. Smartphones now can perform better than any PC built 10 years ago, that is at the core or ECM era. For sure, adding cloud storage and an always-on internet connection gives users easy access to their operations, detailed monitoring at any time, and unlimited volumes of different types of data.
Stand alone and sell itself, or adapt to last!
With the data booming, operation expansion, and technological advancement, ECM has two options in the future: whether it develops to match the needs of businesses or it disappears for being very chaotic and puzzling. In this case, ECM will not find any supporters to hold on to it: workers complain about the volume of information, knowledge seekers complain about its incompetence, security officers say it puts business at risk, IT can’t keep up with its demands, the business itself is losing, and the experts in Content Management are using all their power to keep it going and are afraid it slows their progress and innovation. What will happen to ECM as we know it today in a few years? One thing we are sure of is that ECM will remain a crucial and vital need for the success of businesses, especially those with massive operations and enormous volumes of data. However, many changes must occur to adapt to those challenges.
[list-ul type=”circle”][li-row]First, organizations must decide which data to keep or let go, in order to minimize the volumes and costs of handling information. The amount of data is increasing rapidly, but do we really need all of it?[/li-row][li-row]Another challenge organizations will face is creation of new norms and practices to unify the usage of different technologies used by different generations.[/li-row][li-row]What organizations should really focus on in the future is optimizing documents instead of just storing them, and this is to move from collecting data to grasping knowledge out of it and yet improving the workflow.[/li-row][li-row]Finally, the most challenging task is the integration and collaboration of ECM with other parts that make up the whole process of content management.[/li-row][/list-ul]
Information Governance, Social Technologies, Analytics, structured and unstructured data in addition to Content management will be parts of the whole image and should collaborate together to achieve the process of management. Of course, increased security will always remain a core challenge for organizations.
The bottom line
The future of ECM is getting clearer with time, but oddly ECM itself doesn’t seem to have a place in it. It did its job! It is time for it to progress because it is getting more chaotic due to the massive increase in information, the enormous growth of operations, and the direct involvement of demanding users. ECM is at risk and standing as obstacle to success. Its only chance is to develop and become an essential part of a broader, more advanced solution that will most probably be given a new “umbrella term” which combines trends such as Content Management, Information Governance, Smart Process Applications, Collaboration and Social, Taxonomy and Metadata, Scanning and Capture, Content Analytics, Customer Engagement, Search etc..
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