Are We Standing in the Middle of the Road?

Margaret Thatcher once said “Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” Today, Day 2 at AIIM17 Conference, I felt a bit like I was standing in the middle of the road!

The day started with a compelling and motivational presentation from Cheryl Cran, an expert in the future of work and all things “change”. Author of The Art of Change Leadership, she certainly knows a thing or two about how people react to the opportunity (or threat) of change. Listening to Cheryl, I was reflecting on how much change there has been in the digital content management space over the last 20 years.

At FileNet we used to say it was the longest running growth market ever – and that maybe even more true today. This is a huge advantage because it provides a deep and wide supply of expertise and knowledge built over many years and with real world experience on what works and what doesn’t. The challenge, as Cheryl pointed out, is that work as we know it is changing beyond belief. With a work place increasingly populated by millennials, a generation born into a digital age where creating, curating and consuming content is a way of life and not a $1mn systems implementation. In my opinion the solutions offered by the vendors who are represented at the AIIM17 Conference  really change, and not in a “standing in the middle of the street” kind of way.

The radical innovation, growth of subscribers and pricing models of the File Sync & Share vendors like Box, Dropbox, Jive and many others has created a wave in the digital content market that ECM vendors are only just coming to terms with.

Yes, it’s a technology/platform/cloud thing but it’s also a business solutions thing. Customers are always going to deploy easy to use solutions that meet some of their needs some of the time, with Apps this just got easier and cheaper. But the real opportunity, in the digital transformation world we now face, is to deliver fully comprehensive business solutions that empower workers to make huge leaps in productivity, do their work twice as fast and reduce costs substantially – those are things people wouldn’t say about a product like Box or Dropbox….ever.

So, here is ECM standing in the middle of the road, Apps vendors driving down one side, millennials driving down the other, which is a very scary thought. But ECM vendors, users and solution partners have all the skills needed to avoid a serious crash and, even better, to build solutions that will be exciting, impactful and make a difference as the future of work is defined right in front of our very eyes.

Bringing together the market power of MFP providers, with leading intelligent capture capabilities, married to world class ECM and BPM solutions – all delivered on a mobile platform, accessed via the Cloud with pricing models that most investors would lick their lips at…. I truly believe that the current community of ECM vendors can deliver these solutions, they just need to embrace the change, explain clearly their strategies and plans and customers will follow.

As Cheryl said “Change is all about connecting, creating and culture” – connecting to customers, creating great solutions, building a culture of innovation and success…… haven’t all us “ECM” folks been doing that for years?

 

Martyn Christian

Managing Partner & Founder

UNDRSTND Group

2 replies
  1. Ron Beck
    Ron Beck says:

    Hi Martin, interesting remarks! Definitely, today’s “apps” don’t really constitute business changing solutions by themselves. There remains a huge opportunity to effect that change through deep understanding of the WHY of business inefficiency

    Reply
  2. Tony Pond
    Tony Pond says:

    Good reading, Martyn. In this age of millennials, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial IoT are seeing massive growth. So many players and the segments within are still not well-defined. As these “things” out on the cloud edge get smarter, they require more intelligent storage, and more content management to streamline processes and ultimately feed the enterprise side with “data that matters” – remember that one? 😉 I think ECM vendors also including edge-device content management to offer comprehensive solutions have a lot of opportunities for growth.

    Reply

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