Top Trends in Today’s ECM

by Kevin Craine | 3/16/15

There has never been a more exciting time to be in the business of Enterprise Content Management.  The convergence of technological and cultural trends make ECM the place to be if you want to stand on the front line of business process improvement and information governance. But with so many innovations and advances, it can be difficult to know which industry trends will take you on a path to success and which ones will lead you to a dead end. Here are three important trends in ECM to consider as you map your path forward.

Case Management

According to AIIM, Case Management is set to light up the stage in the ECM industry. In a recent episode of the Document Strategy Podcast I spoke with AIIM president John Mancini, who points to case management as one of the top trends to watch because it brings technology and data together in a way that leads to more valuable outcomes for both businesses and customers.

“At the heart of making information useful is looking closely at the intersection of people, processes and information,” says Mancini. “That’s what case management is ultimately all about; it’s about the dynamic business flows that link together people, processes and information in new, dynamic, and much more agile ways.” Download the complete episode here.

Case Management is not necessarily a new technology per se, but the big difference between old-school document management and case management-centric ECM is that people are a much bigger part of the equation through more fluid access, collaboration and sharing of information. The confluence of Mobile Capture and Case Management adds even more power to this trend by providing a higher degree of flexibility, agility and collaboration for any organization that needs to build a superior level of service and customer satisfaction.

Distributed Capture with MFPs

Distributed Capture is nothing new, but the trend is now reaching critical mass as more and more organizations are using multi-function printers and copiers (MFP’s) to capture data and documents mid-process and enterprise-wide. Instead of regarding capture as strictly a front-of-process activity, organizations are discovering how capture can be used within day-to-day processes to improve process performance in the hallways and cubicles of departmental workflow via MFPs.

Turning a common multi-function copier/printer into a capture workstation is a valuable capability for organizations of all sizes and types, especially when collecting and capturing information and documentation is critical to the process. One example is found in financial services where a growing need to reduce the burden of paper in branch operations is stimulating the adoption of distributed capture with MFPs. Bank branches traditionally assemble and ship paper documents to be scanned at a central processing location. But banks pay the price in courier expense, printing costs and the inherent complexities of a paper-bound process. Distributed capture with MFPs changes all that. Other examples are in healthcare, insurance, government operations, and any workflow that is document-intensive.

Mobile Capture

You don’t need a statistician to know that we are in the age of mobile computing. The bottom line is that there are more smartphones out there in the world than there are personal computers. As a result, there is a lot of excitement about Mobile Capture.

By now, the traditional notion of “capture” – scanning a paper document to make a digital image – is a common business practice. Mobile Capture takes things one step further with the ability to capture document images using a smartphone or a tablet. This is an important development because organizations can now capture images and documentation directly at the point of service, in regional offices, in the field, and in customer’s homes. The result is a faster, more accurate and more cost effective process.

Mobile Capture is a natural and inevitable outgrowth of the trend toward mobile computing and one that organizations should evaluate seriously before they get left behind. According to a 2014 study conducted by AIIM, 45% of companies feel that mobile capture is vitally important, pointing to the competitive need for improved process agility and customer service across the board. The idea of turning smartphones into information capture devices is one that more and more leading brands are turning to in order to speed the pace of business, reduce the burden of paper, and bring a new level of efficiency and response to their customer service and business processes.

Want to learn more? Download my free/no-login White Paper “Are You Ready for Mobile Capture” here.

Moving Forward

Clearly, there are a number of important trends and opportunities on the ECM horizon; and these are just a few. They key to capitalizing on any opportunity is to approach each one with a broad perspective of the possibilities, the applications, and the value to the process and your organization. Look for providers and partners that have the right mix of experience, vision, and advanced capabilities that will help you leverage these and other converging trends in ECM.


Guest contributor Kevin Craine is the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and host of the Document Strategy Podcast. He is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. For more information visit

Kevin Craine is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. He is writer, podcaster and technology analyst, as well as the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and a respected authority on document management and process improvement. He was named the No. 1 ECM Influencer to follow on Twitter.