6mobilityThe enterprise content management (ECM) market is rapidly changing as platform vendors transform themselves into providers of solutions that address specific issues faced by organizations, according to global analyst firm Ovum.

For the ECM vendors, this means a change of emphasis from the core, now largely standardized, features, such as document management, to other areas, such as business process management (BPM) as the enablers of content-centric processes.

However, the greatest changes are taking place in the delivery models and channels, as users demand access to content anytime, anywhere, obliging the vendors to make ECM available to a wider range of organizations, by delivering their solutions via the cloud.

In Ovum’s 2014 Trends to Watch report on Enterprise Content Management, the independent technology analyst firm identifies five key trends that will impact ECM in 2014, which are:

  1. Social, as employees include business-related content in their social networking activities;
  2. User demand for access to content anytime and anywhere;
  3. New opportunities offered by the cloud for organizations looking to extend ECM deployments;
  4. Compliance and the complexities faced by organizations in controlling and retaining mobile and social content;
  5. Use of file sync and share products for document collaboration.

Sue Clarke, a Senior Analyst of Information Management and author of the report, says, “Enlightened organizations now have highly developed and sophisticated social media strategies that involve sales, marketing, and customer service initiatives. Most vendors providing ECM technologies, particularly those in the web content management (WCM) space, include support for social content.”

Organizations must now be able to deliver content securely to a range of mobile devices. Clarke adds: “Users are now demanding access to content anytime, anywhere, and organizations need to be prepared for this. Therefore, all ECM-related products should now provide extensive support for mobile devices, particularly rendering content in the appropriate format for the device on which it is being viewed. The capabilities should also ensure the same policies for managing access to content are applied regardless of the device being used.”

Another trend to watch in 2014 is file sync and share products, replacing email as the de facto method for document sharing. File sync and share is the latest technology to be added to ECM products with several now providing facilities for sharing content via the cloud.

According to Clarke, the cloud offers new opportunities for organizations looking to extend ECM deployments. “Ovum believes organizations should consider the new deployment opportunities offered by the cloud. Large enterprises are reluctant to trust sensitive content to the cloud. However, midsized organizations, without the budget or resources for an on-premise deployment, can use public clouds to cost-effectively implement ECM.”

Organizations have to adhere to an increasing number of regulations and pieces of legislation; many of these are industry specific, but some are country and region based. Ovum believes, though, that ECM technologies can help organizations with future compliance issues.

“The benefits of technologies such as RM, archiving, search, and e-discovery are well-established, but other products including case management and capture and scanning also have an important role to play in helping organizations to comply with increasing regulations and legislation,” concludes Clarke.

Ovum predicts further that social media is already a must for CRM vendors and enterprises alike and that both ends of the social media maturity spectrum will drive new opportunities: outsourcers will look to take social media agents out of silos and train them with additional skills or recruit multi-channel agents; and privacy concerns and perceptions exacerbated by leaked intelligence information will result in outsourcers helping enterprises to craft strategies that ensure this does not impact their reach and customer retention.

Ovum’s social media outsourcing 2014 trends to watch include:

  • Monitor the business environment: Through 2014, social media outsourcers should be aware of opportunities and the needs of customers as vertical attitudes shift and data privacy concerns come closer to the fore.
  • Create the technology portfolio: With the push toward a full view of the customer, capitalizing on omni-channel applications for agents will be key.
  • Select solutions and services: Social media will continue to evolve as a channel in 2014, and enterprises will increasingly want to use it in more mature ways such as using analytics to drive business value.
  • Manage deployment outcomes: To achieve social media success through 2014, outsources should help enterprises to develop strategies around data privacy messaging and move beyond social media silos.

Margaret Goldberg, Associate Analyst in the global IT Services team, says: In 2014, we expect to see three key trends in social media CRM outsourcing. First, the compliance and regulation-heavy verticals previously wary of engaging with customers on social networks, such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) as well as healthcare, will investigate ways in which the channel fits into their CRM strategies. Meanwhile, early adopters such as the retail and technology sectors will look to extend innovation in this space, and will seek help to figure this out.”

“Secondly, outsourcers will look to take social media agents out of silos and train them with additional skills, or recruit multi-channel agents. This is particularly relevant for industries with security concerns, even if it means moving customers out of social networks and onto private channels.”

“Finally, data privacy concerns have been exacerbated by leaked information about Internet surveillance programs, so outsourcers will need to help enterprises craft strategies to ensure this does not impact on enterprise customers’ reach and customer retention,” says Goldberg.

Ovum believes compliance-concerned industries will thaw in their attitude toward social media in 2014. Therefore, outsourcers will have opportunities to create new activities for these industries and deepen their social media activities with first adopters as channels evolve.

“It is clear that keeping social media in any type of silo will hold back enterprises’ and outsourcers’ innovation channels. As such, enterprises will increasingly turn to outsourcers for help in navigating security and data privacy concerns globally,” concludes Goldberg.

By MediaBUZZ