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PRODUCT-LED GROWTH

Document management
trends to track

Published June 27th, 2022

Web technology regularly overturns outdated models. In business, the gatekeepers who once hoarded information for power are replaced. In their place, an ‘information economy’ has flourished, where knowledge and intellectual property are leveraged as ‘information assets’ and are now as prized as physical and human assets. What made it flourish? Document management software.

Di Mace

Communications Specialist at Tiny


When Peter Drucker coined the phrase ‘knowledge worker’ in his 1959 book “The Landmarks of Tomorrow”, he opened Pandora’s box. The then radical notion, overturned the accepted practice that knowledge was a scarce commodity, guarded by the few and shared with none. Instead, he advocated that workers should be directed by knowledge, rather than the corporate hierarchy.

From there, gatekeepers gradually (and begrudgingly) gave way to newer, more collaborative work models and access to information became the norm.

However, for knowledge workers to fulfill their transformative role of changing (physical) piles of information into knowledge assets, they needed to easily track, retrieve and access information. That’s when Document Management Systems (DMSs) became crucial.

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What is document management?

Simplistically, document management is the use of an electronic filing cabinet to organize and store all digital documents, files and images. Document management improves access to information, speeds its retrieval and structures the storage of digitized material to help avoid information siloing (without jeopardizing security or intellectual property) across a company.

Document management is one name (of the many) for software that covers a broad range of automated file management practices, all aimed at saving businesses time and money.

Automated file management systems and software

Document management’s roots lay in the widely used term, content management, and the automated categorization of content that ultimately forms a Content Management System (CMS). In fact, document management systems offer many of the most rudimentary content management functionalities, including imposing controls and management capabilities onto documents.

No matter the name you use — Document Management, Information Management, Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Records Management, Records and Information Management, or Information Lifecycle Management — all document management software helps businesses organize themselves. It aids tracking and access to critical files, at a moment’s notice.

What is a document management system (DMS)?

Document Management System (DMS) is a platform that helps businesses create, capture, track and store digitized documents. It’s used to classify, retain and protect electronic information, and it generally also supports document versioning, collaboration, workflows and environmentally sustainable practices.

Origins of document management

The origins of document management began with the introduction of filing cabinets in the late 1800s. Regardless of them being inefficient, cumbersome and space limiting, people continued to use them for the next hundred years.

Computer servers

With the advent of computing in the 1980s and the development of servers, organizations began storing documents electronically in centralized mainframes. This was the beginning of electronic document management systems (EDMS) and finally overturned the curse of office spaces filled with filing cabinets.

Scanners and PCs

Together, the invention of scanners (conversion of paper documents to digital documents) and the rise of PCs (localized document creation and storage) began a slow shift from physical to digital document management. But it took until the 1990s for knowledge workers to be able to operate a user-friendly document management system (DMS) on their own.

Search engines

With thousands of documents digitally scattered, once search engine technology was implemented, it became much easier to find them. Within seconds, knowledge workers could search and find documents within a DMS, in the same way they use Google to search for information or media.

Cloud and smart devices

With smart devices, users can search, access and share documents directly from their mobile or tablet. Similarly, software-as-a-service (SaaS) DMS infrastructure can be pre-built in the Cloud and its always-up-to-date software is available on-demand from anywhere, at any time.

Global document management software market

According to Mordor Intelligence, the global document management system market was valued at US$5.51B in 2020 and expected to reach US$11.47B by 2026. The growth is being driven by the need for increased efficiency in the workplace, improving technologies and a sustainability push to eliminate traditional paper files.

Key insights from the Mordor report:

  • “According to Xerox, 46% of employees of small- and medium-sized businesses still waste time on inefficient, paper-related workflows daily.”
  • “In the healthcare sector, the lack of cohesive data across patients amidst the prevalence of electronic health records is further aiding adoption of such tools.”
  • “Ensuring compliance with legal norms and regulations, as well as providing updates, is essential for any financial or credit company. This calls for a bank DMS to support the execution of the regulatory and legal framework.”

Global enterprise content management (ECM) market

In their 2022–2027 forecast, Mordor Intelligence valued the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Market at US$47.29B in 2020 and expected to reach US$105.56B by 2026 and grow at a CAGR of 25.7% over the forecast period.

Two key insights include:

  • “Automated workflows for creating the documents, editing, and publishing documents improve business processes and collaboration among staff members … and better use of the existing content have been the primary reason driving the market demand.”
  • “…the driving force behind implementing an ECM solution in an enterprise is to do business efficiently and better. By eliminating the dependency on paper documents and organizing unstructured information according to business need, organizations are empowered to work more efficiently.”

Document management market leaders

When Gartner released its 2021 Magic Quadrant report on the state of the content services platforms, it named Microsoft, Hyland, Box and OpenText as leaders (see image below) within the broad classification of content services platforms.

Microsoft and IBM led the market for document management (or ECM) platforms.

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Trends shaping the growth of document management

While many organizations talk about 'going paperless’, and believe it’s achievable in the not-too-distant future, numerous businesses still don’t know where to start.

Many begin the process of digitizing their documents, and then get stuck in not knowing:

  • The next step
  • How to structure the categorization
  • Ways to encourage users to continue the work
  • Cultural practices to employ to convince users of the benefits and opportunities that digitization offers
  • What new technology is coming

Then there’s companies that continually scramble to piece together last minute information to meet compliance, submit a RFT/RFP or justify the value their team delivers. The stress and potential inaccuracies can be avoided with a well-designed, maintained and implemented document management system, especially one that uses state-of-the-art software and rich text editor components.

That said, it’s always helpful to know what’s ahead and the technologies involved. Currently, there’s five trends affecting document management systems and software:

  • Scalable cloud document management
  • Mobile access and optimization
  • Smarter automation and artificial intelligence
  • Sleek interface, collaboration and compliance
  • Ease of cross-tech stack integrations

Document management trends you need to track

1. Scalable cloud document management

Remote work has changed the way many businesses operate and therefore shifted the technology that’s needed to facilitate work-from-home. The rapid decline of paper processes and in-person communication has forced document management to immediately evolve, so that geographically spread knowledge workers can quickly and easily access documents.

Cloud-based document management is a scalable solution that’s flexible, agile and streamlines the change from office-bound processes to remote-based data organization. It allows your company to rapidly expand its storage requirements as document volume increases — thus ensuring that creation, collaboration, modification and filing is all done on a single centralized platform, no matter how fast you grow.

When document management software is paired with cloud computing (see trend #3) and a browser-based interface, it offers not only significant cost savings but also almost infinite processing capacity.

WYSIWYG HTML text editor essentials for document management

Ensure that the text editor embedded in your document management software is capable of handling the needs of cloud-based work. When either building or upgrading your document management solution with a rich text editor, ensure that your developers have:

2. Mobile access and optimization

It goes hand-in-hand with cloud-based access, that being able to find, create and file documents and images anywhere, any time on your smartphone or tablet, is now mandatory for document management. This trend began well before 2020, but the growth of mobile and work-from-home workforces during COVID-19 lockdowns reinforced the importance of having information available whenever it’s needed.

This trend has resulted in a demand for user-friendly software compatible with multiple devices and better interfaces for working (see trend #4). Document management software and its inherent components like your rich text editor interface, must be optimized for mobile devices and capable of adjusting to a multitude of screen sizes and browsers — without breaking.

WYSIWYG HTML text editor essentials for document management

The majority of DMS trends pivot around anywhere, any time access to information, so document management software and text editing that’s optimized for mobile devices, is a must-have:

  • Automatically adjusts to different size screens and devices
  • Works across multiple popular web browsers without breaking the HTML
  • Outputs HTML that’s consistent, despite the different ways users type and format text inside the editor.

3. Smarter automation and artificial intelligence

This is one of the latest and hottest trends in document management systems. Given that a DMS sits at the core of an organization’s information repository, it’s important to automate repeatable tasks that revolve around those assets. Robotic process automation (RPA) uses specialized computer programs (known as software robots) to automate and standardize recurring business activities and processes.

The program takes note of human tasks and actions, learns from them and can eventually take over the mundane and repetitive jobs that people no longer need to complete. It also offers opportunities to bridge dispararent data silos and tie together interdependent processes with minimal manual intervention, including rule-based decision making.

An obvious by-product of digitization is the vast amount of information that’s often inherently unstructured and usually needs a human to analyze, categorize and transfer that information so it’s usable in a meaningful way. With the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as machine learning (ML), natural language processing and automated indexing, the system can be trained to handle that unstructured data. The system then goes through the data, pulls out metadata (information about the data) and classifies it — all without human help.

The increased use of smart automations and AI offer greater productivity, organizational efficiency as well as lowering the risks of errors, lost documents and far-flung data silos.

4. Sleek interface, collaboration and compliance

Gartner’s definition of a remote worker is “an employee working away from their company, government, or customer site at least one full day a week (hybrid workers) or who work fully from home (fully remote workers).” And they estimated that by the end of 2021, remote workers would represent 32% of all employees worldwide. This volume of remote workers has triggered a reassessment of IT infrastructure that favors work-anywhere, collaborative capabilities.

But it’s important to realize that document and information management isn’t just about enabling collaboration. It’s also important to optimize it. That requires the use of technologies which manage document sharing, co-authoring, editing, and more, in a remote environment.

The user experience (UX) is also a crucial element in how productive workers can be. With a sleek, friction-free and intuitive user interface (UI), users can get more done without being hindered by clunky interfaces.

WYSIWYG HTML text editor essentials for document management

Ensure the WYSIWYG editor within your document management includes easy to use, feature-rich options that enhance users efficiency and productivity:

  • Clean, modern interface: a sleek intuitive UI that speeds work
  • Clean, accurate copy-paste: content from Word, Excel, or GDocs that replicates its source, without breaking the underlying code or needing developer bug-fixes
  • Ability to limit toolbar options: able to hide or disable options like HTML editing, font formatting, and font sizes to prevent straying from the default style formats defined
  • Compliance checking: if accessibility is imperative for compliance, ensure your editor automatically spots and suggests fixes for issues before the document’s published
  • Multi-language spell checking compatibility: the ability to add your product and brand terms to ensure all content creators spell and capitalize them correctly
  • Templates: reusable, predesigned templates with your brand styles so that users can easily insert, edit and publish documents
  • Easily pull styling and formatting: take formatting from another paragraph, document, or page and apply it to your selected text.

5. Ease of cross tech-stack integrations

A challenge that’s accompanied the accelerated rate of change in technology, is the need for inbuilt adaptability within an organization’s IT structure. With rapid change comes rapid obsolescence, so it’s important to use solutions that play well with other tech stack components.

Modern document management software and components are usually capable of some form of integration via either a direct connection or import/export across tools. However the most reliable means is the use of well documented APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) — both making integrations possible with other systems (legacy or new), and facilitating easy integration between DMS app components, like your rich text editor.

WYSIWYG HTML text editor essentials for document management

  • Well documented APIs
  • Full source code access for endless customizations
  • Availability of (core) open source software that’s extensible with advanced features
  • Ability to work with emerging digital technologies such as web-native apps and systems

Future of document management

Document management systems are clearly no longer dull. And no longer confined to filing cabinets. Tasks that were once considered tedious and menial are now being driven by the same technology trends that are catapulting other business processes into the future.

Because these new document management systems can capture data faster, automate repetitive tasks and turn your document stores into usable knowledge assets, they’re transforming and improving tomorrow’s workplace. Along with saving time, money and leveraging productivity, document management of the future is most certainly helping the one billion knowledge workers across the globe to fulfill their potential as catalyzers who are converting what were once piles of paper, into information assets.

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