General, Momentum Digital Transformation

You are here: Four ECM trends to have on your radar in 2022

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by Viola Ganter

The road to the future 2022

Let’s be honest – software release cycles don’t really work in annual rhythms and new technology trends don’t just develop over New Year’s Eve. But as humans, we like to take a moment at the beginning of a new year to figure out where we are at. So, with the media buzzing over predictions from metaverse to web3, we asked ourselves: What is next in the world of Enterprise Content Management? Here are four trends that we think you need to be aware of going into 2022:

1. Information Extraction and Robotic Automation have gone mainstream

Methods of Information Extraction and automated document classification have been around for more than a decade. But while automatically classifying large numbers of documents by type or topic was technically possible, the underlying technologies often required in-house implementation to work for specific use cases. With the surge in development of Natural Language Processing technologies in the late 2010s, these features are finally entering the mainstream. And companies are picking up on it.

And while AI-based assistants may indeed need a few more years before they become reality in every-day office setups, Robotic Automation (RPA) Software is already out there, making the need for structured data ever more relevant.

2. Responsive designs and remote access are non-negotiables now

With the pandemic entering its third year (yikes), it is no surprise that remote accessibility and device flexibility are still a top priority in the ECM market. Not only do users have to be able to access their tools from outside of the office, but software must also function on whatever device it has thrown at it – be it your phone, your PC or your aunt’s iPad, because the children just needed the laptop. The takeaway: User interfaces can no longer rely on standard screen resolution.

And if it weren’t for the global pandemic, screen formats would still only continue to diversify in the coming years. With folding screens, projections, and OLED technology on the horizon, the need for flexible user interfaces is here to stay.

Father and daughter sitting in kitchen with multiple devices

3. Low-code/no-code and Everything as a Service

The ongoing struggle to combat skill shortage is continuing in 2022 and enterprises are scrambling to find innovative ways to retain their own digital transformation efforts. These include low-code/no-code solutions where – rather than programming everything from scratch – software can be created or customized by using previously implemented building blocks. This way, companies do not have to rely on trained software developers to modernize their infrastructures.

Similarly, solutions that offer inbuilt server maintenance and scalability (Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, cloud-hybrid solutions) are in high demand. In the past, companies used to be nervous about migrating their data into the cloud – especially EU-based firms, who are bound by strict data privacy laws. But as these companies increasingly face the pressure to either simplify or delegate, they become more open to explore cloud-based solutions.

4. Clean user interfaces

We see this not so much as a trend of the coming year, but as a trend of the decade: While the 2010s where focusing on feature richness and scalability, the twenties are seeing a shift towards usability and clean UIs. This has several reasons: First, with software being involved in nearly every part of our daily lives, steep learning curves and complicated user journeys are often too time consuming to make economical sense. Second, todays interconnected global markets perpetuate the need for web-based interfaces which can be easily translated. Third, talent retention drives companies towards more inclusive hiring strategies and raises attention towards interfaces that are (or at least can easily be made) accessible for users with disabilities.

Our advice for uncertain times

Predicting the future is difficult at the best of times. With lockdowns returning, unforeseen travel restrictions, and supply chains in constant disarray, it becomes almost impossible. But despite – or perhaps because of – these uncertainties, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is going strong. With office infrastructures being more in flux and more decentralized than ever before in history, companies are looking for new ways to channel their internal streams of information – and for ways to make it through these years leaner and stronger.

The key to success lies in embracing the diversity of end users and end user devices, while simplifying and streamlining the technical skillset needed to use or customize a software.