The world around us is constantly changing. 2017 alone has brought us many breakthrough technologies including, self-driving semi-trucks, phones that recognize our faces, and we are closer to curing cancer than ever before thanks to new gene therapies. The Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry is no different. In fact, things are changing so quickly that the term ECM is no longer even relevant.

As we reflect on the past year and set our sights on 2018, it is clear these top five industry trends of 2017 are here to stay.

Trends to Watch in 2018

#1 Content Services

In early 2017, Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, declared the death of ECM. This declaration has broadened the scope of what is expected of a solution provider and has shifted the way organizations look at solving content-related problems. Content Services is strategic, rather than solely focused on a single technology solution. As the way organizations interact with content continues to evolve, content services platforms are better equipped to coordinate content usage by users, systems, and applications.

Garter’s analysts reasoned that using a combination of robust content strategy and technology, organizations will be able to address these four business problems quicker than ever before:

  • Regulatory compliance and risk management
  • Retention and dissemination of business knowledge
  • Cost and process efficiencies
  • Innovation and new ways of working

As the industry adjusts to its new identity, and the constant flux of client needs, Content Services is sure to be a continued focus of 2018. To learn more about the shift and see who is leading the pack, take a look at Gartner’s first Magic Quadrant Report for Content Service Platforms.

#2 Cloud Hosting and SaaS

Convenience and functionality are at the top of every organization’s mind, driving more discussions surrounding cloud hosting and Software as a Service (SaaS) solution options.
What are the benefits of Cloud Hosting and SaaS everyone is buzzing about?

  1. Flexibility
    Cloud hosted solutions are much more flexible and allow organizations to quickly stand up solutions without having to consider physical hardware.
  2. Management
    Cloud solutions are typically faster to deploy and maintain. Cloud hosted solutions are usually managed, so software updates, patches and upgrades are taken care of without adding more to your IT department’s workload.
  3. Savings
    When evaluating the total cost of ownership, SaaS solutions often come out ahead. Without having to invest in the hardware needed for a premise-based solution, or a large upfront capital expenditure, organizations can use operating expenses to pay for a solution over time.

The benefits of a cloud-hosted solution are hard to deny, but some organizations are still hesitant to make the jump due to security concerns and high-profile data breaches. Each year the adoption of cloud solutions increases and next year will be no different; Expect to see more discussions surrounding SaaS and Cloud hosted solutions in 2018 and beyond.

#3 Data and Case Management

The more organizations leverage technology, the more flexible and adaptive technology must be. Simply managing documents and document-centric processes is no longer enough. This revelation is driving the discussions surrounding Case Management capabilities and how they fit into Content Service Platforms.

Case Management offers an alternative to logic and rule-based process management that requires a defined path and predictable outcome. Case Management tools allow organizations to embrace the role that knowledge workers and data-driven decision-making play in modern business practices.

Equipping organizations with the tools to solve a wide range of business problems, case management aims to improve current process performance by putting case information, including documents and data, front-and-center. Every organization has processes that they cannot fully define, and that will continue to drive the industry’s focus on data and dynamic process management in the coming year.

#4 Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is when companies use technology in a profound or radical way to change the way they manage business and processes. It’s not just about making information available digitally. It’s about what organizations do with that information, how they make decisions, streamline processes and serve customers.

To be truly transformative in improving employee productivity and customer service, organizations need to transform how they think about their key enterprise information. Any digital transformation initiative will only succeed if there is a holistic approach to standardize the way that information and content is managed, used, and shared across the organization.

Digital Transformation is on the mind of every organization, and that isn’t likely to change as we move to the new year. To learn more the current state of Digital Transformation in the industry take a peek at AIIM’s Digital Transformation Report.

#5 Process Improvement. Period.

The top 4 trends – content services, cloud hosting and SaaS, data and case management, and digital transformation – have one common thread. Process Improvement. At the end of the day, process improvement remains the longest standing trend of the industry, and it isn’t giving up its spot at the head table now.

The connection between content and process has always been one of the persistent values of ECM, so it is no surprise that Gartner uses, “Improving user productivity through more-effective finding and use of digitized content” as a defining characteristic of a Content Service Platform. Process improvement is the number one area of measurable ROI for companies adopting ECM. Clear, tangible business benefits of topline growth metrics, or bottom line cost savings will continue to drive the industry in 2018.

As we wish you a Happy New Year, we will leave you with a quote from Peter Drucker, “The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present, the decline will be fast.” Don’t let your organization get left behind in 2018!

About Ema

Ema is a Director of Sales – Enterprise Solutions at Naviant. Ema is passionate about helping organizations navigate Digital Transformation. She has vast experience in helping organizations address their top IT Priorities and developing departmental solutions for process automation to expand the solution throughout the enterprise. She is also the host of Naviant’s Digital Transformation Talks series on YouTube and the Co-Host of the Third Thursday. In these series, experts from the Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation space come together to share their ideas. When not at work, she is busy chasing after her two daughters, spending time outside, and hosting friends and family for gatherings.