A constantly changing arena
Document management is one of those traditional areas of business that seems to remain the same, year in, year out. However, this is not, in fact, the case. It is actually a vibrant and changing arena that warrants a closer look. As with all components of the technology industry, it is impacted by other macro-trends, and it is worth considering the role these trends play in the evolution of the document management space, says Johan Basson, CEO of Bytes Document Solutions.
Security continues to be a pressing concern, particularly in light of the trends like cloud and mobility.
He adds that two of the current buzzwords remain 'cloud' and 'mobility', and both of these areas are driving change within the document management arena. "Today, the cloud is all-pervasive and has fundamentally altered document management solutions and procedures, with its ability to allow businesses to store virtually unlimited amounts of information and for employees to access these from anywhere."
This leads directly to the mobility aspect, and the fact that the increased accessibility delivered by mobility helps to foster a more productive workforce. A mobile-enabled document management solution puts the relevant information at the fingertips of employees at any time, anywhere and from any device.
Other trends worth noting are the increased integration between document management solutions and workflow tools. Traditionally, project management tools have functioned as stand-alone repositories that help employees keep track of projects. By integrating document management tools into the same space, productivity is again improved, as managers can integrate their scheduled and assigned tasks within various affiliated documents. More crucially, changes to project documents can be shared, accepted or even denied on the fly.
"Of course, we also need to recognise another trend that will continue in 2016, namely the fact that technology tools - including document management solutions - are focusing increasingly on the end-user. This means that usability, convenience and control are key focuses for such solutions as we move forward," he says.
There is a growing demand for more effective device management, paper-to-digital document management, and output management. As a result, software designed to incorporate documents into a more streamlined business workflow represents a tremendous opportunity. When document management matches personal and corporate workflows, improvements in efficiency and user satisfaction are the result.
Also being driven by the end-user is the increase in social sharing of information. Unlike in the past, where an individual accessed a document on a one-on-one basis, the growth of the cloud and an increased understanding of the benefit of collaboration means this has changed radically. Today, employees are able to not just access information, but, more crucially share it, and the insights that come with it, among peers, partners or customers.
"Finally, it would be remiss not to mention that security continues to be a pressing concern, particularly in light of the trends like cloud and mobility. Despite the fact that it is much easier to move documents around in the electronic age, those that contain sensitive information still need to be managed and controlled effectively. The trick with document management security will lie in striking the balance between making it strong and effective, while keeping it easy to use, without it inhibiting workflows or convenience," he says.
"We can expect companies to take heed of these growing trends in the document management space and consider their document management strategy in a more strategic light. Ultimately, it will be about embracing things like the cloud and mobility, while at the same time ensuring that their document environment is more closely controlled. Nonetheless, by providing users with devices and secure document management technology, productivity and efficiencies will be increased, ultimately resulting in a happier, more efficient workforce."
This article was first published in the July 2016 edition of ITWeb Brainstorm magazine. To read more, go to the Brainstorm website.