Is Brexit Pushing The Pause Button On The UK DM Market?

At the highly successful AIIM Forum UK in London, thedmcollaborators had the chance to sit down with a lot of the real movers and shakers in our sector.

Here we spoke with Dave Tyler, Editor of Document Manager magazine, to get his thoughts on the big drivers for change in our market right now – post-GDPR, but also pre-Brexit

thedmcollaborators What’s your current perspective on our industry, which is such a privileged one as an independent tracker of it?

Dave One thing which seems to have ridden roughshod over the entire market is GDPR. GDPR has gone across every sector in the technology business – not just DM and ECM, but also the storage sector, security, cloud. GDPR seems to have cast a shadow over everything.

thedmcollaborators One thing that didn’t seem to happen: once the deadline date came of May 25th, is that it would go away, and we would stop talking about it.

Dave I suspect it may be the other way round – we are going to be talking about GDPR for some time! What we probably got wrong – so far, at least – was the big fines aspect of the story. Historically with developments like Sarbanes-Oxley and Enron; there was that feeling, as soon as this legislation came in, everyone was waiting for that first massive sanction, but that never really happened. My feeling is that history is repeating itself with GDPR.

thedmcollaborators So what’s the smarter way to look at GDPR, do you think?

Dave At least a few companies out there are looking at it more from a positive perspective – “We can actually benefit from this, and it’s good to be GDPR compliant because it enables us to interact with our customers in ways that demonstrate best practice.” I think if organisations think more like that and get that right, they are going to be the ones who say ‘GDPR was good for us’. It’s not something that businesses have to see as a problem, it can be an opportunity.

thedmcollaborators Good point. But if GDPR is the big business change in our market, what are the technologies that you see as being influential in the next few months?

Dave We are hearing a lot this year about Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence – as well as RPA, Robotic Process Automation, and the way that will impinge on the way that a lot of the existing technology works. Probably, the established vendors will start acquiring companies that do robotics, which is pretty typical for when an emerging tech like this comes along – the big vendors buy into it and attempt to protect their markets.

thedmcollaborators Some commentators do see new entrants muscling in, though?

Dave Sure, maybe there are some we have not heard of yet who are just going to sneak up on the ECM market. But whatever happens, we need, as a sector, to bite on this stuff pretty quickly. Those I talk to know they need to read up on this. As an industry, we need to know more about this… it’s arriving by the back door, I think. With some of these new companies in the AI/RPA market, it’s unnerving what they are doing and how quickly they are doing it, compared to the way change has historically taken place.

thedmcollaborators Lots of change, then – but how buoyant otherwise is the ECM market as a result?

Dave I don’t think I would use the word buoyant. In many verticals it seems fairly flat. Some of the marquee DM/ECM vendors are still doing business, but I don’t think they are wildly optimistic. There are lots of reasons for that – Brexit has been hanging over everybody for such a long time, and people are holding back on budgets, as a result. We are waiting to see what happens, but of course people don’t know what’s going to happen post-Brexit.

So I think it’s not as dynamic a market as we might hope, in terms of potential applications and large projects, say. I think a lot of projects are on hold… people are not necessarily going to sign off significant expenditure just yet, but make the decision in another 6 months or so. I have been hearing a lot of that.

thedmcollaborators Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us, here at AIIM Forum UK!

Dave Tyler is the Editor of Document Manager, a title dedicated to addressing the key issues behind successfully implementing document management, content management, workflows and e-business solutions. ‘DM’ is aimed at decision makers throughout the industry, including those of a non-technical background, who need incisive, expert information

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