According to the Enterprise Content Management Market report released by Arcognizance, the market is expected to achieve a CAGR of 14.36% from 2019 to 2024. The same report highlighted how enterprise content management (ECM) has become increasingly powerful in the management of enterprise content across all levels and areas of the organisation.
The capabilities inherent in market-leading solutions allow for richer and deeper control over business process, improved collaboration, compliance with regulatory and governance requirements, and better use of content as a tool, and as a commodity.
“When the industry first started out it consisted of solutions provided by organisations such as Lotus and IBM, and one of the biggest products was Open Text,” explains Kevin Reaper, Business Manager, Document Management and Scanning. “There had been conversations about how it was important to automate these processes, how technology could be used to enhance business processes, but the industry wasn’t ready. Today, this market has completely changed, what we have now is finally achieving what ECM only thought about doing not even ten years ago.”
In 2009, if a company wanted an automated process, they would contract a company to implement a solution that would take months to craft and develop, much less implement. The deployment cycles were extensive and the time spent hammering out the processes, even more so.
Now, lead times have not so much been cut in half as fragmented – tiny slices of time that are efficient and deliver results. And organisations are implementing ECM solutions that blend emergent technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA), to create fluid systems and processes that adapt on demand.
“We have already developed a solution at Tarsus that utilises robotics and AI and overcomes many of the traditional problems faced by organisations battling with ECM,” explains Reaper. “The technology is here. To take advantage of it, the business needs to take small steps and focus on implementing solutions that allow for the company to not only transform its content management processes, but its readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).”
Simplicity and efficiency
The focus for ECM right now should be on automating processes that simplify current content processing and management. Mind-numbing volumes of data and information managed through ECM to improve speed and efficiency while reducing errors.
“It’s utterly liberating and presents an incredible opportunity for the channel,” says Reaper. “Already, at Tarsus, we have reduced the time spent on specific processes from days to minutes. We used to have four to eight people processing paper three to four shoeboxes high, every day. That’s all they did – scan and type relevant fields into our ERP solution. Now, our solution has run for a year and cut the time to five minutes while the people who had to manually enter paper are running the system and doing the jobs that they were originally employed to do.”
ECM has become a reliable ecosystem and opportunity for resellers. They can now go into the market and offer a different level of value to their customers. It is particularly of value to those channel organisations that have watched the floor fall out from under MFP sales – spend was impacted severely in 2012, especially as government slowed its investment. With ECM, there are a number of drivers that can be leveraged by the channel that offer plenty of room for growth.
“There are numerous conversations around issues such as POPI (Protection of Personal Information Act) and GDPR that are becoming increasingly real today, plus there is even more concern around the cyberthreat, being hacked, and finding reliable layers of protection,” says Reaper. “Companies want to protect their intellectual property; they want to ensure that their content processes are converged with cybersecurity. They want their data categorised, accessible, and ready for the insights powered by analytics. They need reliable ECM solutions that will take the pain out of progress.”
It’s all up there
Currently, Tarsus is building increasingly layered and sophisticated ECM solutions using the ubiquity of the cloud. This makes them eminently scalable and absolutely accessible. Companies can outsource the capabilities of these ECM solutions within their own tailored requirements and restrictions, building ECM into the business without having to worry about the weight of CAPEX or the worry of integration.
“With this solution, it doesn’t matter what size the business is – from a top 500 company to a mid-small market business, the access is cost-effective and the solution customisable,” adds Reaper. “We’ve invested into an automation process room that allows for organisations and the public sector to come in and facilitate the mapping out processes and flesh out what’s possible within the cloud and the technology now powering ECM.”
Driven by business process automation (BPA), governance, risk and compliance (GRC), and increased awareness of reputation management and customer education, organisations are under pressure to pay attention. And ECM offers them a reliable, customisable and relevant bouquet of solutions that they can use to refine their overall processes and access to information.
ECM is a key channel tool
“ECM reduces errors, it takes mundane tasks away from humans, it shows a return on investment, it allows for more reliable process flow and control, and it reduces time spent on processes from days to minutes,” concludes Reaper. “It has become a key channel tool that allows them to fully explore the potential of this landscape and to support their customers as they become immersed in the demands of 4IR and transformation.”
Tarsus has built an ecosystem that will allow for the channel to explore new revenue streams and it is already delivering results. It allows for the channel to leverage existing sales and capabilities while exploring new ways of supporting clients and expanding market reach.