Our partners at Square 9 do a great job of providing insight into industry trends and staying ahead of the curve. They tell us there are 3 ECM Trends to watch out for this year.

Lauren Ford writes, “Over the past few years, the adoption of content management solutions and document imaging technology has drastically escalated in the SMB market. Increasingly more midsize businesses are replacing their inefficient paper-dependent processes with document management platforms not only to easily organize documentation, but also to streamline the interaction and collaboration of business information. With every passing year, the industry-leading document management suites deliver new developments and product enhancements to empower the user community to go beyond “scan, store and retrieve” and embrace true business automation. So what’s in store for 2015? Let’s explore the top three electronic content management (ECM) trends to track this year.”

An improved web performance is one of the top trending topics when it comes to the evolution of ECM software. So much so, that the top industry analysts expect the term ECM to fade behind the shadows of EWCM – Enterprise Web Content Management. Most trendsetting document management firms already provide extended access to document repositories through the web, but 2015 is on track to take web mobility to the next level.

Gone are the days of sitting at a desktop computer to access the internet – we are all now connected via mobile devices. It has become a necessity for businesses to provide employees with mobile self-service document management capabilities. Mobility is the new method of connectivity and therefore, software programs must meet these cyber needs to stay relevant. On-premise applications are leaving center stage for their mobile counterparts, and with this change comes an increase in integrations. Integrated browser-based applications simplify a users’ access to data within a document management database, directly from the browser program in use for quick, accurate results in an uninterrupted workflow. More capabilities with online workflows will appear, much like Square 9’s new integration with DocuSign, which creates a streamlined contract management workflow via the web.

In 2015, ECM should take a hard turn towards automated classification of mobile metadata, advanced extraction from web capture, dynamic advancements in web forms processing and more. As ECM solutions operate more efficiently in a mobile world, the document management community can create fast and accurate data processing automation.

Cloud computing has been an overused buzzword throughout 2014 for a number of markets. In the document management industry, however, cloud computing is becoming a reality. In 2015, using ECM in the cloud will be the new normal, especially as more small-to-medium sized businesses embrace the value of managing business data digitally. Cloud solutions present business of all sizes with tremendous opportunities for efficiency and cost savings and according to PCMag, 60% of businesses say cloud computing is a top IT priority for the New Year.

This is not surprising, as more companies are becoming increasingly interested in cloud infrastructure and application services for the “anywhere, anytime” availability and its simplified approach to collaboration. By 2015, it has been suggested that ECM organizations will adapt the processes and architectures of prominent cloud providers into their existing applications. Square 9’s GlobalSync Hybrid Cloud Document Management Solution is a leading example of the changes to come. Hybrid document management solutions integrated with a cloud infrastructure will provide users the option of storing some specified data in the cloud and the remainder in an on premise platform. As the cloud space continues to evolve, hybrid cloud models, like GlobalSync, allow organizations to easily balance their workload, regardless of location, by leveraging the flexibility and hassle-free accessibility of cloud based document storage.

Data is rapidly progressing. From capturing document information to processing sales metrics and tracking website analytics, the sheer volume of business data managed is at an all-time high. With such a high density of data to capture, ECM has gone well beyond storage to present innovative solutions in advanced capture, web forms processing, and overall efficient Business Process Management (BPM). The new buzzword of 2015, BPM is the systematic approach to making an organization’s workflow more effective and efficient – especially in respect to Big Data management. Big Data is familiarly a term referenced to large enterprise and government entities, however the New Year projects Big Data to infiltrate a wider, SMB market. This is mainly because businesses are obtaining larger volumes of unstructured data at a faster rate, from an increased number of sources and in a large variety of formats which include email, text messages, social media posts, audio recordings and video.

In 2015, ECM software will present advanced solutions to aid in the hassle of handling Big Data through document management software. Companies will be equipped with the tools to deconstruct and automatically analyze complex sets of data. Managing Big Data does not involve getting a bigger database, but rather implementing new methods in workflow to streamline voluminous data processing and analysis.

2014 was an impressive year for technology, particularly in the document management industry as business automation solutions have been enthusiastically accepted in the mainstream. As businesses adapt to new content sources, an increase in web mobility, cloud adoption and Big Data management are likely trends that will progresses and transform ECM as we know it. 2015 should be yet another exciting year for document management.