There was a time when the primary goal of a document management solution (DMS) was to convert paper to digital and onboard that content to be managed with electronic records management capabilities such as indexing, classification, retention and disposition. Today, organizations need to onboard and manage not just paper, but multi-channel digital content as well. Let’s take a look at the channels of content that are literally creating an ocean of data that most organizations today find themselves drowning in.
Let’s first discuss the explosive growth of digital content. EMC predicts the digital universe will grow from 4.4 zettabytes in 2013 to 44 zettabytes by 2020. Contributing to the growth of the digital universe are new sources of content such as instant messages, social media, enterprise mobility and the internet of things. In addition to these new sources of digital content, email continues to show steady growth.
And while organizations are adjusting to the rapid expansion of the digital universe, the reality is that paper still abounds. In AIIM’s most recent market intelligence study titled “Paper-Free Progress: Measuring the Outcomes”, 52 percent of the respondents indicated paper consumption in their organization remains the same or is increasing. InfoTrends 2015 forecast for 2016 and 2017 reveals paper consumption will remain the same or increase for 70 percent of organizations. Printers remain an office staple for most businesses and according to Gartner there is an installed base of over 63 million multi-function peripherals (MFPs) in the United States alone that are contributing to the proliferation of paper.
Some organizations still have a strong dependence on FAX, though not the antiquated FAX machine but rather FAX servers that are used for select vertical applications. Two prime industry examples are healthcare, which uses FAX to exchange personal health information with other providers to ensure compliance with HIPAA privacy guidelines, and legal, which prefers the automated confirmation receipt of a FAX versus email where the recipient can choose to not send a read-receipt. Business communications done via FAX need to be brought under the control of DMS.
Another channel of content is often stored in aging line of business applications (LOB), where there is still a value proposition for the data but it is costly to maintain the legacy systems and applications.
Another source of valued content is data stored in legacy DMS. AIIM’s most recent market intelligence report titled “Information Management—State of the Industry 2016” found that more than half of organizations admit to having 3 or more DMS and nearly a quarter have five or more.
Today, organizations need to onboard and manage not just paper, but multi-channel digital content as well
Many of these DMS have been commissioned for 2 or 3 decades and can no longer keep pace with the growing volume and variety of content. Some of these systems may need to be decommissioned but the data still needs to be preserved.
These growing channels of content have created a huge challenge for any leading edge DMS. Over the next twelve months, any viable DMS will need to be able to onboard all of this multi-channel content so that it can be effectively managed, stored, secured, analyzed and delivered.
In recent years the term that has been adopted for this onboarding process is “capture.” Capture is a combination of hardware and software—dedicated document imaging scanners, MFPs, and recognition software such as OCR, ICR, and OMR. Going forward, capture will need to onboard all this multi-channel content and orchestrate the delivery of the right content in the right format to the right people, processes, and systems. Capture’s role will be expanded to include determining content relevance, ensuring content integrity and ensuring content security.
Let’s explore just a few of the key capabilities CIOs should be looking for in the next generation of capture. First, capture must be content agnostic—it needs to be able to onboard paper, electronic, FAX, email, instant messages, and social media.
Next, capture should be integrated with analytics that can explore and evaluate the organization’s vast repositories of data, including those aging line of business applications and legacy document management solutions. Analytics are crucial to identify and onboard relevant and valued content and eliminate the ROT—the redundant, obsolete and trivial content.
Relevant content should be automatically classified and assigned the appropriate retention and disposition schedules.
Lastly, capture should also manage security—it should identify if there is confidential information that should be redacted or encrypted, and the appropriate security privileges should be automatically assigned to that content.
So what are the benefits of a DMS solution with this type of capture capability? The most critical will be enhanced accessibility and usability of data to ensure business process agility—getting the right content to the right people and processes. This will include connecting the content to the appropriate line of business applications such as ERP, CRM, HRMS, and accounting systems. Relevant content that is accurately and securely classified will also substantially reduce the cost of discovery for litigation and compliance. And finally, having this type of capture capability will ensure the availability of the right information to support the organization’s business intelligence or big data initiatives.
Here’s a summary of what to look for in a document management solution that can handle these challenges ahead:
• A solution that can onboard paper and digital content from any source
• A solution that can connect the content to multiple Enterprise Content Management systems and/or LOB applications
• A solution that will allow an organization to create its own unique processes and paths
• A solution that can easily integrate with other valued third party tools such analytics and automated lifecycle management
• A solution that allows for growth and flexibility
• A vendor willing to be a trusted partner and educator