Enterprise Content and Process Silos Slowing Ambitious Digital Transformation Goals

SAN MATEO, Calif. – August 17, 2016 – A new commissioned global survey of IT professionals, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Alfresco Software, has uncovered a sharp divide between the expressed need of enterprises to undergo digital transformation and their ability to accelerate that transformation. 

While a majority of respondents (68 percent) said they plan to undertake an organizational transformation to become more “digital-ready,” only a small fraction have fully digitized their content-centric business processes. The convergence of content and processes is a critical linchpin to a successful digital transformation, say authors of the report.  The study further notes two stark alternatives: those that complete that transformation will become “digital predators,” and those that fail will become “digital prey.”

Key findings of Forrester’s study titled “Break Down Content and Information Silos to Accelerate the Flow of Work, “ which documents firms’ stated plans to transform their current content and processes into digitally driven systems and insights, highlight a stark reality:  while digital transformation is a “high or critical priority” for 70 percent of organizations, and over 80 percent consider data and content integration to be extremely or very important, only 14 percent said their organization’s collective content is virtually all-digital today, and this percentage will nearly quadruple to 50 percent over the next two years.

For greater context, additional details from the survey:

  • IT leaders plan to push their organizations toward adopting integrated digital driven content and processes to better compete: Those companies surveyed said that undertaking digital transformation initiatives (68 percent) and creating comprehensive strategies for emerging technologies, using mobile, social, and smart products (71 percent) are high on their priority lists. Additionally, 80 percent seek to increase the quantity and quality of embedded content in workflow systems by using metadata, as well as increasing support for cloud and rich media (e.g. videos).
  • More than 50% of organizations are currently behind the maturity curve:  Half (50 percent) of organizations expect to have all digital content within the next two years, yet only 14 percent said their organization’s collective content is virtually all digital today.
  • Today’s manual and fragmented processes that impede employee momentum will be replaced with digital workflows: Two-thirds (67 percent) report that end users need to reference external content frequently or every time they complete a process. Yet when asked about executing a process, scattered content (49 percent) and lack of contextual information (47 percent) were cited as pain points. As firms undertake digital transformation initiatives, 81 percent consider integration of data and content across systems to be extremely important to their organization.

 “As IT leaders build upon their organizations’ digital business capabilities in the age of the customer, they must recognize the pivotal role that employees play in delivering superior customer experiences, and, in turn, the role that employee-focused technologies play in creating more productive, agile enterprises,” the study noted. “Bolt-on digital initiatives and legacy technologies perpetuate application silos that create barriers for efficiently completing work tasks. IT leaders will seek technologies that eliminate these silos in order to deliver the right information within the right application environment at the right time.” 

To avoid demise, “Digital Prey,” organizations must extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources they need to serve customers:

  • The majority (69 percent) believe that BPM or workflow systems will support most or all of their firm’s core processes in the next two years, compared to just 26 percent today.
  • Half (49 percent) of respondents see an opportunity to improve end user experiences by merging process flows with content and information.
  • Forty-seven percent believe merging content with process will help create better customer experiences that will foster retention, loyalty, and ultimately, drive business value.

“We believe this study should serve as a wakeup call for enterprises to get their digital transformation projects in high gear now, before becoming ’digital prey.’  Businesses have approached content management and BPM as separate domains for years; however, as noted by Forrester Consulting, this is not sustainable as digital business blurs the lines between process and content,” said Thomas DeMeo, Alfresco’s Vice President of Product Management. “For example, employees can lose momentum and efficiency when jumping back and forth between scattered applications and files, creating an environment ripe for error. We believe the next challenge for IT leaders will be to integrate a wide range of content across different businesses and systems – to provide context for making better business decisions and, ultimately, to better win, serve and retain customers.”

As organizations progress on their digital journeys, platforms that create greater context in the moment for processes will help deliver information and content to end users when and where they need it. For example, processing a loan application for a financial services company involves managing multiple documents from applicants as well as internally created files – all part of a loan-approval process. Alfresco’s integrated solution brings together process and content, providing users with all the information they need to make an informed decision and ultimately improving customer service.

Alfresco commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate organizations’ evolving needs for technologies that support enterprise content and business processes. The study, “Break Down Content and Information Silos to Accelerate the Flow of Work” was based on an online survey with 158 IT professionals at the director level or above in the United States and the UK. To download the full study, please visit https://www.alfresco.com/TLP

About Alfresco

Alfresco provides modern enterprise content management (ECM) and business process management (BPM) software built on open standards that enables organizations to unlock the power of their business-critical content. With the controls that IT demands and the simplicity that end users love, Alfresco’s open source technology enables global organizations to collaborate more effectively across cloud, hybrid and on-premise environments. Innovating at the intersection of content, collaboration and business process, Alfresco’s software manages over seven billion documents, powering the daily tasks of more than 11 million users worldwide. Select Alfresco customers include: Amnesty International, Cisco, DAB Bank, FOX, NASA, PGA Tour, and Sony Entertainment. Founded in 2005, Alfresco’s U.S. headquarters are in San Mateo, California and European headquarters are in Maidenhead, UK.  Please visit us at http://www.alfresco.com.

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