Enterprise content management (ECM) systems are used by many organisations to store, move and manage their information.
However, many of the original or legacy ECM systems have not kept up to date with the changing way people work and the emerging technologies that support the digital workplace evolution, writes Monique Williams, Hyland Southern Africa regional manager.
So, what are some of the emerging trends that organisations need to know about in order to adapt their current business processes?

Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is emerging as the next technology mega-trend and the third wave in the development of the Internet. In the past, ECM solutions have been able to digitise data, but there has been very little digital transformation to keep up with the changing times.
This means that multiple prospects have been lost and businesses have not been able to leverage these for growing their businesses. IoT will infiltrate most areas in business and for an ECM system to work for any business, it needs to be linked to IoT.

Impact on content management
IoT users need to do so much more than just capture documents and information; they need to consume information of all sorts into business processes, and standardise and automate these processes.
They then need to extract insight from this exploding volume of data and prepare for the era of machine processing and artificial intelligence. Finally, they need to develop policies and automatic processes to dispose of information without business value or when required by law.
According to Nuxeco, ECM technologies must evolve to keep up with the explosive growth of IoT, including providing highly flexible, intelligent content repositories; building hybrid workflows around the unstructured content coming from IoT sources and much more.
The convergence demands the need for a modern ECM platform to handle all of the data collected and help users make more informed business decisions.

The rise of new data-centric technologies
Organisations need to rely less on intuition and more on data, as there are growing opportunities to collect and leverage digital information to change how decisions are made internally. The rise of new data-centric technologies such as Hadoop, NoSQL and blockchain will continue to assist organisations in making better decisions for their businesses.
In today’s environment, businesses are moving their services to the cloud and, as a result, company data needs to be protected as employees are able to access information anywhere, anytime. It has become vital to protect information upon moving into an age of data-centric security.

Impact on content management
Organisations are quickly adopting new data-centric technologies and fundamentally changing how they approach information management in the digital age. The adoption is expected to continue at an upward trend; as technology costs fall, management practices evolve and awareness spreads.

Core content management system (CMS) capabilities and collapsing prices for storage
When it comes to elementary features of a CMS, the needs of the smallest company and the biggest enterprise are very similar. Businesses will start incorporating capabilities such as Office365, Amazon, Google, IBM/Box and Drobox, enabling companies to leverage the same basic but now perfected features and quickly adopt new trend technologies.
Today, if you want your CMS to function as a catalyst for growth, you need to pick one that has a distinct separation between content and presentation, so content creators would not need to be concerned about front-end displayed content.

Impact on content management
Implementing ECM is more about strategy; it will require more work than implementing a point solution using content management capabilities. In this digital age, competitive advantage awaits those organisations that realise information is a key asset, and manage it accordingly.
There is almost no limit to the factors that must be considered before an organisation decides to invest in a CMS; however, some functionalities are less negotiable than others. For example, an easy-to-use editor interface and intelligent search capabilities are crucial. For some organisations, the software used depends on certain requirements, such as the organisation’s size and geographic dispersion.
The CMS administrator must know how many people will be utilizing the application, whether the CMS will require multi-language support and the size of the support team needed to maintain operations.

National and regional compliance and regulatory demands, and the growth of cloud and privacy “nationalism”
Cloud has quickly risen to fame, disrupting traditional models of business. The biggest barrier for organisations moving to cloud-hosted operations is security and compliance. At the same time, new technological developments are adding urgency to the need for national and regional compliance as well as regulatory demands.
Cloud compliance has more to do with process management than legal and regulatory issues. Cloud compliance is an extremely important challenge whenever you store regulated or sensitive data in the cloud. There are compliance requirements that apply to all businesses, ranging from financial reporting to security aspects of the specific data centres you are using.
When selecting a cloud solution, ask the provider how they comply with government and industry regulations, and look for certified data centres. Cloud deployment offers many significant benefits to enterprises, ranging from improved IT resource management to more effective strategic and operational initiatives. Without the ability to safeguard virtually deployed data assets, the cloud can become not just a security liability but a compliance nightmare.

Impact on content management
Compliance may be a headache, but companies need to establish governance policies and best practices to put technology to good use. ECM can be leveraged to track and manage documents to comply with regulations.
Putting in place an information management strategy with ECM at centre is a method to address the challenges posed by unstructured information, such as: content storage; effective classification and retrieval; archiving and disposition policies; mitigating legal and compliance risk; and reducing paper usage. Organisations should digitize governance strategies by first eliminating paper and changing everything to digital form. Once information is digitized, look to ECM in relation to the business as a whole, and understand that a well-defined digital strategy can automate processes and mine any policies, research and collaborative capabilities to get value.

Cloud-first research and development investment strategies
While there is a clear shift among solutions providers to offer cloud-first research and development investment strategies, on-premise hosting is still very much preferred by most providers. There are a multitude of benefits afforded by an on-premise solution – namely, control. Companies that deploy this model enjoy control over all of their systems and data and, perhaps even more importantly, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that critical business infrastructure resides in-house.
Organisations are still wary of cloud security as the data will no longer be on-premises. However, moving data to the cloud will provide better security as it rules out any disaster such as fires and floods. As with any other cloud implementation, moving ECM means that organisations can shift ownership and management of their hardware and software to the cloud provider.

Impact on content management
Users want content management solutions with a clear cloud strategy. Cloud gives businesses of all sizes the power to immediately purchase hardware and software resources at the click of a button. ECM can propel organisations to automate the availability of resources by scaling up or down as needed and when required. This provides businesses the power to react quickly to opportunities in the market place.
Technology is constantly changing, and ECM is no different. ECM provides a great set of tools and supports technologies that can help achieve great business results through increasing speed of marketing and other operations, mainly through faster access to relevant information. However, emerging trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) around the volume of data needs to be efficiently managed as well as the security threats that come with new technologies. Enterprises will have to navigate the technology trenches and remember that ECM is not a single technology but is an umbrella category that includes a broad spectrum of integrated document, process and analytic capabilities.