Thursday, January 9, 2014

The gaps in Document Management Software (Part 1)

On the 30th of last month, CMS Wire published an interesting article called "A Look Back : A Mobile, Cloudy World for Document Management in 2013", in which they said some things that reveal that, in the Enterprise Content Management industry, something’s not being done right.

1. Stuck in the war against paper

"...[] organizations still appear to be struggling under the weight of paper despite developments in enterprise technologies that should make managing all that information a lot easier.

In fact, the view from December 2013 is much the same as the view was in December 2012..."
In December of 2013, we were still talking about the same topics in the war on paper as we were in December of 2012. There are still many reasons why businesses (even those businesses that rely on ECM software) continue to work with paper:

  • Difficulties when it comes time to work collaboratively on documents.
  • Difficulties when it comes time to know what’s happening with digitally-shared documents (document control with electronic documents).
  • Uploading and downloading files in the traditional way (forms) to document management applications which makes our work go more slowly. 
  • Users still face a lot of problems finding what they’re looking for.
That’s just for the documents which are created digitally. Not that this changes much for those documents whose originals are created with paper.

This concurs with what the AIIM paper "Winning the Paper Wars", mentioned in CMS Wire, says:

"While 74% of survey respondents said that they are responsible for developing paperless strategies, or with building environmentally friendly work places, only 24% were able to say that they had specific strategies in mind." 

Only 24% of businesses that took part in the study have specific strategies to put an end to paper. Could it be that we software manufacturers aren’t making things easier for CIOs so that they can develop specific strategies to fight paper? I can think of several reasons that support that theory:

  • Capture software is totally unconnected to document management software. Even though capture forms an essential and natural part of document management (since it guarantees the intake of documents into the system), the ECM market is inventing applications which only fix the problem of capture, but which don’t make sense by themselves if they’re not integrated with a document management system. And achieving that integration isn’t easy, given the current situation: problems with accounting, the need to conduct development work where plug-and-play integrations don’t exist, etc.
  • Capture and document imaging software which is too costly and out of reach for many companies. 
  • High costs of software connected to this type of project. If this really is being solved with the  capture software offered by SaaS, up until now there hasn’t been a clear cloud-based model in which any business, at any moment, can pay and start to use this software (without getting sales people involved, phone calls, or other complications).
  • Certain government regulations.
  • The lack of management involvement in the war on paper.

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