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2 ECM Predictions for 2014 (and a Wild Card)

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It’s that time of year when all the so-called gurus of the world fire off their “Top X of the …” blogs. Like them or not, you’re going to see plenty.

So, despite never being one to follow the crowd, here is my Nostradamus-like effort by way of two solid predictions for 2014 (and a wild card). 2014_it_predictions

1. 2014 will see cloud become the dominant delivery platform for small and large ECM projects – but not the middle tier.

As you know, I’m a massive ECM in the cloud fan. The business and cost benefits are massive, but unfortunately, not everyone agrees with me. (Yet.) However, my prediction is that small companies, who have started to deploy corporate versions of cloud-based file sharing solutions in droves, will continue to do this and also start to move to fully featured ECM in the cloud solutions. Cloud will become the dominant player in this market by the end of 2014.

In addition, the largest enterprises will also start to use the cloud as their primary ECM platforms – not necessarily for organizational-wide deployments, but for departmental delivery – mainly based on the speed of implementation and lower start-up costs. But those who select their tools carefully will be able to scale up and out, extending their ECM in the cloud solution to other users, departments and geographies according to needs and budgets.

The exception to the rule will be mid-tier businesses. These guys are struggling in general to move to the cloud. They understand the benefits but can’t quite get over the fact that they have spent a shed-load of money building an IT department and mini data center and don’t want to just throw it all away. Also, they are in a very delicate business position and often believe that moving their data and systems to the cloud will take an element of control away from them – something that does not sit well at this level.

That’s not to say that there won’t be some mid-tier businesses taking the plunge. Of course, these companies will be the major beneficiaries of the cloud in 2014.

2. The ECM market will see continued consolidation, particularly in the mobile, cloud and collaboration spaces. crystal_ball

2013 has seen a number of significant acquisitions in the ECM arena and I see no reason why this will slow in 2014. The increased speed in which new technologies and functionalities are being requested, nay demanded, by customers is forcing vendors to rethink the way in which they serve ECM – development of new software is not always possible, so purchasing an up-and-running tool set is an attractive proposition. That said, buying companies and integrating products, processes and staff into an organization has never been easy and probably never will be.

The main push of these purchases will be in the emerging areas of mobile, cloud and collaboration (or social if you like). The SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) arena is forecast to have major spend in 2014 and ECM vendors will want a slice of the pie – especially given that all of these elements fit nicely into existing ECM processes and mindsets.

Solutions from cloud-based file-sharing tools have shown the level of collaboration that organizations can achieve around content. 2014 will see these types of features implemented in major ECM suites. Mobile and cloud are already there for most ECM vendors, but 2014 will see many of those who don’t have these functionalities purchasing them in an effort to stay in the race. Vendors that have SMAC already will continue to drive forward the types of interactions that users can perform with content, making it even easier for your information to find you.

* Wild card: Wearable tech will deliver some really cool ECM toys.

Everyone has seen some instances of wearable tech – whether it is the massively hyped Google Glass or Samsung’s Gear wristwatch/computer. Gimmicky as these may appear at first sight, my prediction is these devices will play a major part in terms of how we create and consume content in the coming years – and 2014 will see the initial forays into this. The difference with this prediction is that even if it doesn’t come to pass in 2014, it will eventually.

So, two rock solid predictions and a “sometime in the next few years” wild card. Keep your eyes peeled, 2014 is going to be fun! And while you’re waiting for those New Year chimes, take a look back at 2013 via the Google Zeitgeist.

Happy Holidays!

 

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