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The Cloud Revolution in ECM

23 Feb, 2016 By: Thomas Schneck, DocuWare

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has experienced a steady but yet limited adaption over the last 25 years.

The current adaption levels for document management vary depending on the market segment, but overall, have not reached mainstream status. Especially, in smaller companies between 5 and 500 employees, where the adaption level has not exceeded 25%. In larger companies, with more than 500 employees, a good portion – about 35% - have not embraced ECM.

These relatively moderate numbers are even more surprising as the reasons for adapting document management continue to grow stronger almost on a daily basis – just to name a few:

·       ECM is a key factor in lowering operating costs while increasing a company’s competitive edge

·       Document Management is a major component in a company’s ability to adhere to ever increasing compliance, document security and disaster recovery requirements

·       Document Management is a pivotal platform to meet the demand of mobile knowledge workers for secure and structured document access

·       ECM plays a central role in many government initiatives around the world such as eInvoicing, electronic patient records, and electronic tax audits.

What has kept the ECM market back?

There are a couple of factors which have been perceived as hurdles and challenges:

The implementation of an ECM system is often seen as too difficult as it requires extensive server as well as workstation deployment. Furthermore, configuring efficient indexing and workflow schemes is sometimes overwhelming – particularly for smaller organizations. And the initial, getting-started cost for a professional solution might be too expensive.

Game Changer

The advent of Cloud-based ECM Solutions now has the potential to be a game changer by addressing these challenges. Document Management that is offered as Software-as-a-Service solution is provided from a central data center. Although all customers are served from one common platform, the so called multi-tenancy of the solution makes sure that each customer can administer his own system individually and has access to exclusive, highly secured data storage.

Now the question is; how does Cloud-based ECM overcome perceived barriers compared to a traditional on-premise solution?  Here are the main aspects:

Document management which is centrally hosted does not need to be installed locally but rather can be launched by any user instantly, many times without any involvement of in-house IT resources. In addition, Online ECM can deliver pre-configured feature sets tailored to specific departmental or vertical needs. Both are important factors to significantly drive down implementation and configuration time, and ultimately, empowering individual line-of-business managers to digitize their most important business processes quickly. And above all, the startup investment can be kept to a small, monthly fee, sometimes below $1,000, which allows any customer to achieve an immediate Return on Investment.

Besides these very significant benefits for the customer, Cloud-based ECM also offers tremendous opportunities for the office equipment dealers.

•       ECM as Software-as-a-Service can be installed easily as part of a demo room with every MFP

•       Due to its low monthly price, Cloud-based ECM is ideally suited to be bundled into a hardware lease

•       Online ECM can easily be pre-configured to address specific departmental or industry solutions

•       Cloud based Document Management can easily be deployed and administered – including completely remotely

Given these benefits for customers and office equipment dealers, Cloud-based ECM has a very bright future ahead. However, in order to take full advantage of this opportunity, the office equipment channel needs to manage and embrace the particular economics of Cloud software sales – due to the principle of collecting a monthly fee instead of receiving a lump sum at the time of sale of an on-premise system.

The most important component in this context is the compensation plan for sales reps. The compensation model should make sure that a Cloud software sale is as attractive as an equivalent on-premise sale, even if the initial recognized revenue for the dealership is smaller. One of the most successful models has been paying a sales rep at the time of sale, a commission upfront for 2-3 years of monthly fees. Given the long life-span of ECM solutions – once implemented at a customer site – the risk of this practice for the dealership is very limited.

For further information on the Cloud Revolution in ECM, or document management, visit www.docuware.com or visit the ITEX Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, where I will present detailed information on March 9 at the Broward County Convention Center.  For event details and agenda, visit www.itexshow.com

About the Author: Thomas Schneck

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