From AI to the Cloud and Beyond, Tracking the Evolution of ECM

In conjunction with this month’s state of the industry focus on ECM, document capture and related software, we asked our panel of software vendor experts to chart out how they envision the evolution of these tools in the short-term future. In addition, the esteemed roster of specialists was asked which trends and technology will help to drive that evolution.

The panel consists of Tom Franceski, vice president and general manager of DocStar, an Epicor company; Steve Behm, vice president of sales for DocuWare; Wouter Koelewijn, chief product officer for Y Soft; and Catherine Wilson, director of operations for Laserfiche.

Tom Franceski, DocStar

Franceski: There is a big push toward digital transformation to automate processes, which helps to improve efficiency and eliminate costs. ECM and capture solutions can help enable digital transformation in operational areas that have been traditionally paper-based. This evolution is driven by the need for speed in a competitive reality where all consumers are digitally-driven. The next step is artificial intelligence, where the technologies help automate decisions for businesses, enabling executive leadership to focus on more strategic activities.

Steve Behm, DocuWare

Behm: For DocuWare, the cloud has been the major evolution during the past few years. That being said, consumers are still demanding more. The trends we see being the driving force today is the development of prepackaged business use cases that can be implemented in just a matter of days. Typically, these will be departmental in nature such as invoice processing or human resources onboarding. There are many of these use cases which are essentially the same across most companies. Drawing on our years of experience, we have developed and will deploy these as cloud applications using the best-known practices worldwide. We will call these DocuWare Kinetic Solutions.

Wouter Koelewijn, Y Soft

Koelewijn: If an ECM system contains all enterprise content and workflows, companies will evolve slowly through upgrades. However, it will be easier for a new player to find some sweet spots for quick ECM wins. As you see at traditional banks versus financial technology (fintech companies), I see EFSS as the fintech company in ECM. However, in time, ECM systems will build in more and more features, and by and by we’ll see a slowdown of the evolution.

Wilson: Many organizations have mastered the art of digitizing records and are looking for the next step in the digital transformation process. Robotic process automation (RPA) is the emerging technology that will drive the next evolution of the ECM industry. RPA is technology that mimics the repetitive, routine human activities within a process, such as logging into and out of multiple applications, triggering responses or inputting data. This additional layer will complement traditional ECM capabilities, taking over monotonous tasks, freeing up employees to focus on high-value tasks and more strategic work.

Catherine Wilson, Laserfiche

Another trend we are seeing is the use of hybrid deployment of both on-premises and cloud models as well as requests for on-premises subscription pricing. Some content is better suited for on-premises while other processes and content are ready for the cloud. Similarly, some customers prefer to have an on-premises deployment with a subscription pricing model that fits their budget and infrastructure support cycle. This new structure is changing the way we sell our product, and a new deployment model better supports the needs of our customers. Having these flexible deployment options in their wheelhouse will give resellers a competitive edge.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.