Over the past decade, document management hasn’t changed all that much.
Of course, there are clearly more tools and technology available now than ever before. Unfortunately, this means very little because our very way of thinking about data and documents is outdated and ineffective.
What’s the Future of Document Management?
In December 2020, Forrester released a report titled, “The Future of Documents: A Look Beyond The Paradigm Of Paper And Into Opportunities For Innovation.” In it, author Cheryl McKinnon notes that, “documents are ready for their own digital disruption.”
- “The mental model of paper lingers over mainstream document-creation practices and stifles innovation. A data-driven point of view must replace the vocabulary of files, pages, and folders.”1
- “Documents that are cloud-native, componentized, interactive, or highly structured may not fit storage and governance models in traditional enterprise content management (ECM) or records management systems.”1
- “Employees love word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools.”1
These insights tell us a lot about what lies ahead for documents and enterprise data management in general. Unfortunately, many of the solutions available today only solve part of the problem, as they are simply a means to catch up with the current pace of innovation and change.
To get ahead of the competition, we have to completely reimagine how we think about documents.
Are You Thinking About Metadata and the Entire Ecosystem?
We’ve been raised on the idea of applications. They are something we can point to, something we can wrap our head around.
But what really matters is the metadata they hold onto. After all, it’s the water we’re all swimming in. It’s being created non-stop from smart remote sensors, to purchase invoices, social media mentions, project deliverables, transmittals, reports, meeting minutes, emails and on and on.
It’s malleable, distributed across the enterprise, endlessly iterated on, fragmented, shared, copied and ever-evolving.
To better manage our documents, we have to understand and manage the metadata they contain.
When we do that, we don’t have to worry about where our information lives. Instead of obsessing over consolidating our information into multi-million dollar boxes, we need to accept that information will always be widely distributed. It ensures that knowledge is accrued through a connected ecosystem and not a singular monolith.
Digital Transformation Can Be Done Faster Than You Think
Embracing this new way of thinking will completely change the way you manage your documents, and we mean that in the best way. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, but there are things you can do to speed up the process. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to understand all your data and automate processes is a great start.
Learn more about how Artificial Intelligence has changed document management forever in this free eBook we created.
1 Forrester Research, Inc., “The Future of Documents: A Look Beyond the Paradigm of Paper And Into Opportunities for Innovation”, December 2020 https://www.forrester.com/report/The+Future+Of+Documents/-/E-RES163381?objectid=RES163381