In this, the first of a two part Q&A, we have a change of pace and hear from a well-qualified observer of the Document Management world, the Editor of Document Manager magazine Dave Tyler, on how he sees the market
What do you see as the main drivers in the DM market right now, Dave?
It’s still very much compliance for the bigger organisations. Multinational firms are very aware of regulation and the need to adhere to strictures like Sarbanes-Oxley, especially if they are US-based or operate there. The whole set of financial regulations post-Enron is still being felt and it makes CIOs want to feel that they are in charge of their information trails, basically.
Having said that, cost efficiency and the need to save money by getting away from paper and manual processes as much as possible is also a big factor – possibly moving to become dominant, arguably.
Interesting. How do you see the DM vendor landscape reacting to that?
It’s a cycle, really: we have had regular phases of consolidation, where niche or smaller players get put together into bigger outfits that dominate the market for a while, then soon enough you have a wave of innovative new companies finding niches and being able to thrive for a while.
Acquisitions are still happening as the bigger players look to ‘fill gaps’ in their product suites, yes. But there is still development in the market without a doubt.
That’s the company side, what about the product side, though?
Again, it’s surprisingly active for such a well-established market. There are phases when we all feel that scanners have become commodity items, that they basically all do the same job – and then some new ideas come along that surprise everyone and show what potential for growth is still there. For example, I myself have been quite struck by devices like the Fujitsu ScanSnap and Brother has something very interesting going on with its wi-fi mobile scanner, the ADS-1100W.
What does that suggest to you about the wider trends in scanning?
I think, for the moment at least, the action is definitely in the smaller end of devices, around the mobile end of things. That makes sense when you think about it, as we are all used to mobiles and smartphones in our pockets with touch-screen functionality and which are very easy to use, but comparatively very powerful: that’s definitely reflected in what’s coming through in terms of DM hardware, part of the whole ‘consumerisation of IT’ phenomenon.
All in all, then, still very much a market that’s changing and evolving.
This is the end of the first part of our Q&A with Dave.
Dave Tyler is Editor of DM (Document Manager) magazine, an independent editorial resource for the UK Document Management industry available in both print and online. Dave has extensive experience in the DM market as both a journalist and PR for sector players.