It’s 2019. According to Gartner, enterprise content management has been dead for nearly two years. IBM took second to OpenText in Gartner's most recent Magic Quadrant. IBM has been crying “foul” because OpenText grew due to acquisition. Documentum is dead, kind of. And most organizations have been playing with robotic process automation (RPA) long enough to realize it isn’t a silver bullet.
We predict five enterprise content management trends in 2019.
- More organizations will use robotic process automation (RPA).
- The borders of collaboration will continue to expand.
- There will be little innovation from IBM and OpenText.
- At least one intelligent capture vendor will be acquired by a large capture vendor.
- Information security will play an ever more important role in compliance and ECM.
Trend #1: Activity around robotic process automation (RPA) will continue to increase.
In 2019, we will reach peak robotic process automation. Activity around RPA will continue to increase as organizations apply the technology to their environments.
We likely will see some big RPA blunders in the next 12 months. This could include clients bemoaning the fact that RPA is growing like a weed in their organizations, and that they’ve lost control of it. We may see examples of clients failing to reach ROI projections. And the following year—in 2020—we will begin talking about how to undo the RPA mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.
But this isn’t all bad. Most organizations will have begun to centralize RPA development and processes. Financial justifications for the tool will become more realistic. And the industry will have a better handle on where RPA fits as a tool in the automation and integration stack.
Trend #2: The borders of collaboration will continue to expand.
The fastest growing and most exciting part of the enterprise content management world is in the collaboration space. (We've devoting an entire post just to our predictions for collaboration in 2019.)
In my opinion, we will see the borders of collaboration continue to expand. This is true for two key reasons:
- Organizations will continue to adopt agile development and work methods.
- Organizations will increase efforts to create environments where work can be done remotely.
With these dual goals, enterprises will get fancy concerning how they adopt and use their enterprise content management tools. Office 365 will continue to own this space, but more advanced users and organizations will find that the Microsoft platform isn’t flexible enough for them. They will begin to create Frankenstein collaboration-monsters hobbled together from multiple products to get their requirements met.
Trend #3: There will be little innovation from IBM and OpenText.
In 2019, look for IBM and OpenText to be, basically, on autopilot. In spite of claims from Gartner that IBM and OpenText are leaders in the space, we won’t see much new development here, at least not from the content management side.
Neither IBM nor OpenText is focused on content management from a sales or a research and development perspective. The tools they have are sufficient for the part of the market they are going after.
Trend #4: One or more of the intelligent capture vendors will get acquired.
There is a pretty large crop of new intelligent capture vendors, including HyperScience, Ephesoft, and Captricity, that are getting clients excited about handwriting recognition and advanced extraction capabilities.
This is a capability that traditionally has eluded the big capture tools such as Kofax, Captiva, and IBM Datacap. One or more of these new players likely will get acquired in 2019 to help bolster the functionality of old guard capture tools.
Trend #5: Information security will become ever more important in compliance and enterprise content management.
In the past two years information security has become a big stakeholder in content management. That shows no signs of changing. If anything, these concerns will expand as organizations manage key assets like client data and intellectual property in their content archives.
The privacy and compliance functions within organizations are using concerns they have about the security of client data to increase their political capital. That brings them right to the enterprise content management table. And that means the ECM marketplace will continue to show interest in content analytics tools as well as advanced content management functionality.