By David Tyler, Editor of Document Manager Magazine
As Editor of a long-established print magazine whose sole raison d’etre is the DM/ECM marketplace, I am generally expected to be enthusiastic, even evangelical, about the concepts and technologies we champion. But sometimes I find myself wondering if the industry exists in a bubble, effectively out of sight of the rest of the world.
While we congratulate ourselves on this even cooler software, or that even faster scanner, most people, doing most jobs, in most businesses, are blissfully unaware that document management exists.
I heard recently about an organisation – which for soon-to-be-obvious reasons I have no intention of naming here – which had an extraordinarily clunky process in place for invoice handling. It involved a bizarre combination of printing out email attachments (using MFPs – multifunction peripheral – with scanning capability) and posting them to a service centre for scanning. There are plenty of other examples out there, some of them even dafter, of businesses that are totally missing the point when it comes to the potential benefits of DM, even today with the industry as mature as it undoubtedly is.
Many businesses think nothing of having highly skilled accounts staff spend half their day doing manual data entry. This isn’t just anecdotal – the recent AIIM survey ‘Winning the paper wars’ found that among companies with over 5,000 employees, 13% have no paper free processes in place at all. A whopping 29% of mid-sized companies describe themselves even now as ‘all paper’. This was a survey of AIIM member organisations, remember. Imagine what those figures might be in organisations that aren’t actively trying to embrace ECM concepts.
This surely isn’t just a case of ‘some people need a good shake’ – the industry is doing something significantly wrong if such a strong message still isn’t getting across to a potentially huge market. I believe there is still a need for simple educational activities to sell the benefits and ROI of these technologies, and I believe that whoever gets it right will have customers beating a path to their door. Customers aren’t stupid – DM vendors just need to understand their business needs and speak their language.