With a brand new year beckoning, it is an opportune time to take a look at where document management is moving.
While paper and documents have been a part of business since day dot (matrix, perhaps), this remains an exciting and fast-moving component of the technology industry – and like many other disciplines within the technology industry, it is becoming more and more about the end-user.
That means an increased focus on useability, convenience and control. Users are demanding more effective device management, paper-to-digital document management, and output management.
As a result, software designed to incorporate documents into a more streamlined business workflow represents tremendous opportunity. When document management matches personal and corporate workflows, improvements in efficiency and user satisfaction are the result.
The other major driver which is making technology all about the user, is mobility. That’s no different when it comes to document management, with movement into the mobile, smartphone and tablet realm a large contributor to growth. Business records are now constantly generated outside the traditional office desk; employees are working remotely, often from home, or they are working on-the-go. That means document management, as a component of corporate and personal workflow, has to adapt accordingly.
To align with mobility, the ‘other’ major trend is the cloud. The lifecycle of a document now extends far beyond the confines of the office, to the extent that they can be circulated through third party service providers anywhere in the world.
Security has become a more pressing concern and has to cover a far broader (and arguably far weaker) process than that which applied in the days when documents didn’t leave offices quite as easily as they can today. Particularly where those documents contain sensitive information, there is a necessity that they are managed and controlled effectively not only for efficiency, but also for compliance with applicable legislation or regulation. Whether people are working with laptops and PCs, or with their smartphones and tablets, the security factor is a central concern
Good security is a lot like good technology. It has to be easy to use without inhibiting workflows or convenience. Sending, editing, downloading and adding documents should be simple yet secure. Document Management systems which provide flexible, secure workflows are becoming a necessity in the convenient cloud-driven mobile environments characteristic of today’s workplaces.
We’ve mentioned compliance already and across a range of industries, there is a more overt requirement to manage customer and other information with due care as the wave of digitisation breaks. That means traditional policies, practices and tools used to manage records need to evolve.
What also needs to evolve is the devices which turn digital information into printed materials; printers and multifunction products are connected hubs and essential components within the “information ecosystem”. No longer dumb terminals, they have to integrate with workflows and information flows and deliver complex services – while simultaneously providing the ease of use and control expected by individual users.
As the New Year gets underway, expect companies to continue looking at document management in a more strategic light. By controlling these environments more closely and providing users with devices and secure technology, a happier, more efficient workforce is the likely result.
Written by Ronnie Oeschger, divisional director Xerox Channels at Bytes Document Solutions.