The lyrics for the famous Beatles song “Revolution” sung with such angst by a young John Lennon may have pre-dated our current political upheavals and unexpected changes but now, just as then, it is a great question to ask!

John Mancini started his keynote here at the AIIM17 Conference in Orlando today with a reflection on Brexit, President Trump, The Mannequin Challenge, Pokémon Go and other revolutionary aspects of recent months and he ended by describing what he believes the revolution is in the world of digital content technology….. the question he didn’t really answer was “What do you call a revolution before people know it’s happening?”

Wikipedia defines “Revolution” as “a fundamental change in political power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time when the population rises up in revolt against the current authorities“. As far as I can tell nobody in the ECM vendor or buyer community has risen up and certainly nothing happens in the ECM market in a relatively short period of time…. but I found myself agreeing with John on the fact that there is a quiet revolution taking place in the industry, and frankly some people know it is happening and some people do not or are simply choosing to ignore it.

John explained the tell tales signs of the revolution we are facing as ECM vendors, solution providers and customers. The exploding volumes of digital content, the need for insight from content and related data, the need to know if content is good or bad in a way we have never been asked to manage before, empowering business users to exchange content with customers in a dynamic way and managing the risks associated with digital content that sometimes you don’t even know exists. All of these trends are gathering pace and, to be fair, some vendors are reacting through new products and innovative solutions but it seems like many people in the ECM ommunity simply aren’t seeing the revolution on their doorstep.

Recently I tweeted an example of a traditional ECM solution being delivered in a completely different and revolutionary way – I don’t know all the details but I suspect this insurance claims application was delivered at a 1/10th the price of a traditional ECM based solution and I bet the users didn’t have to go to a week’s training to learn how to use it either!

The AIIM17 Conference is buzzing – over 650 attendees, 50% here at the event for the first time according to Peggy Winton the new President of AIIM who shared the keynote with Mancini. It’s not like the AIIM events of old with thousands of attendees but back then we were all happy and excited that we could scan a document and see the image on a screen a few seconds later – our expectations now are much more of the revolutionary type – give me every bit of digital content I need, now, without me asking for it, show me who else likes it, curate and save it for me because I don’t have time…. And after that do it all again and only charge me a few cents for the privilege!

So what do you call a revolution before people know it’s happening and head to the streets? In ECM-land, I think people talk about “Well if its not ECM what is it?”, or “Lets redefine the industry” but our narrative is well behind the reality of what is happening in the wide world of Cloud, Saas, Mobile, App-ification and Social Media – the revolution is here and we need to get out there and support it.

It is time for the community to rise up, to move beyond the silent ECM revolutions of old, it’s time to get vocal, it’s time to share a new vision for digital content solutions with the world…. But hurry up because the revolution has already started and you wouldn’t want to miss it …would you?

 

Martyn Christian

Managing Partner and Founder

UNDRSTND Group

 

1 reply
  1. Adam Wilkins
    Adam Wilkins says:

    A big part of the ECM revolution will be driven by AI and machine learning to facilitate better taxonomy and searching. It’s the only way to cope with the volumes of content being generated.

    Reply

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