2018 Will Be A Jubilee Year For ECM Vendors

GDPR becomes law and the first compliance cases will surface

May 2018 is not going away. That means the General Data Protection Regulation will become law across Europe, and that includes the UK for the foreseeable (in terms of trading arrangements and being able to share data with other firms). To get there, a lot of details have to be worked out and we’re all going to be spending time on the ICO website this next 12 months as a result. A key word destined to be wrangled over is ‘reasonableness’ for example, as a touchstone for case law and what the regulators think of your and your clients’ efforts to protect data. We’re still a bit in the dark on whether the post-GDPR regime will be lax or punitive. Whatever else it’s going to be, 2018 will be an interesting year data protection wise!

The value of good data, linked to great process, sets up new opportunities with further exploration of RPA and AI

We’ve all got a lot of data and Big Data has grown further. The problem: the quality of the data and the chance of finding gold in there. 2018 will be the year of a big push for better quality tools for sifting and mining that important corporate resource. That’s needed because even the smartest software struggles with poor data. However, point great ECM melded with great AI at it and who knows what might surface. AI combined with data cleansing and extraction as a feed into a content engine: now that’s a market opportunity for thedmcollaborators, if ever I heard one.

Investment in security gets serious with the value of mobile-enabled ECM technologies to protect and distribute data securely receiving further recognition

Here’s another reason to be cheerful. WannaCry and Russian meddling in elections have reminded CIOs and CEOs that they live in a hostile world. In such a threat environment, great software that is provably secure and which supports and promotes great mobility – aka, ECM – is going to be of increasing interest to them. The fact that ECM is about only ever granting access to those permitted and no-one else is going to be your favourite ‘buy reason’ next year. 2018 will, as a result, be a strong year for ECM and ECM-related commercials.

HR data privacy drives the need for better and more widespread digital HR records management

It’s a fact of life that HR, as a rule, is a laggard when it comes to digital working – way behind its peers in Finance and Contract Management. But that means there are also going to be many people interested in a marketing message centred on the protection of employee data and better compliance, sparked by GDPR concerns, but also a more digitally savvy Millennial workforce getting concerned about all their personal and salary details held in some organisations in a paper format. Best practice HR data management will be another hot area for thedmcollaborator ecosystem in 2018.

Payment performance rules publicity drives better supplier engagement

And last but absolutely not least: we flagged this ‘Duty to report on payment performance’ legislation up in September, here and here. The legislation in question, the government’s open database recording the performance of big users of supply chains and how well/promptly they are doing in terms of paying partners (see ‘Late payment reporting guidance’), is another piece of compliance legislation to pay attention to in 2018.

ECM has a role to play here, as both a way to record transactions, but it’s also going to be of interest to CFOs to point out (should the issue be raised) that a payment is only late if it is outside pre-agreed boundaries in time – so good contract discipline and practice is another battleground and locus of potential ECM interest in the next phase of our market’s development.

Summing up, I’d like to leave you all with this New Year message: there’s never been a better time to be a vendor in this market, given the rise of all things digital, all things data and all things compliance. Look to the environment you and your customers are operating in, from GDPR on, and find a way to offer solutions that align with these drivers of change, and you should have a busy year ahead.

So good luck for a very busy 2018 for all of us.

And a Happy Christmas too, of course!


Howard Frear is Director of Sales & Marketing at EASY SOFTWARE UK

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