Thursday, January 16, 2014

The gaps in document management software (Part 2)

Today, we’re continuing with our series of posts about the gaps that exist in document management software.

The gaps in document management software (Part 1)

In the first part of this post, we analyzed why the battle against paper had come to a standstill, and the possible reasons why things weren’t moving ahead on that front. 

In this second part, we’re going to see another gap that exists in current document management software:

2. The complexity of ECM systems has caused scores of users to abandon ECM systems.

Today, I have no choice but to cite a new article from CMS Wire which features an interview with Ken Burns, Hyland Software’s Analyst Relations Manager:

"...[]Many of those enterprises, he says, have been struggling under the weight of larger, heavy, custom- development platforms that offer far more than is needed, but which have dominated the ECM industry until recently."

Traditional ECM applications offer more than what users really need, but not in a way that’s flexible enough so that users can simplify the tools according to what they need. As a result, those users end up going to the applications which come up as being the easiest way of working with documents – a folder where they can drag and drop documents into.
"...[]As a result, many users are turning to file sharing and syncing applications to carry out some of the basic collaboration functions that they expect to get with ECMs, but the difficulty or cumbersomeness of ECM suites inhibits use in many everyday case scenarios."

As a matter of fact, these days, according to the Forrester “What File Sync and Share Customers Have Learned” report, some 25% of information workers use this type of application today. Not only is it a question of simplicity in manipulating documents; to that, we can also add the ease with which they can share documents.

The solution for makers of ECM software isn’t in allowing users to simplify the tools: it’s in adding the functionality of synchronizing and collaborating that these applications offer. The Forrester report says it loud and clear:

"Most of the old guard is playing catch-up. Established vendors like Google, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, and Salesforce.com have recognized the value of file sync and share as a natural add-on to their offerings, as well as a critical mobile competency, and moved to include this capability. Not surprisingly, they trail some of the early market entrants in terms of functionality and are playing catch-up. For example, Citrix and EMC have fast-tracked their market positions by acquiring established offerings ShareFile and Syncplicity, respectively. "

This isn’t just true for makers of proprietary software; Nuxeo itself incorporated this into Nuxeo Drive last year.

We, the manufacturers of ECM software, can hide behind the premise that file sharing and ECM are two totally different markets, that our applications resolve different situations, but the truth is that, in the minds of users, when it comes time to work with documents, users are still lacking a huge degree of ease of use, even though 79.5% of them know that working with these applications would mean ending up with organizational problems. 

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