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Going through the phases

The new era of enterprise content management, as outlined at the Fujitsu Information Capture Conference (ICC)

Held every two years, the Fujitsu Information Capture Conference (ICC) is an important event for the scanner manufacturer’s reseller and partner community. Over two days in September, Fujitsu welcomed more than 400 people to this year’s ICC, which took place in Waterloo, London. As well as highlighting new solutions, the event gave delegates an insight into key trends in content management.

Jo Caudron, Founder, Duval Union Consulting
Jo Caudron, Founder, Duval Union Consulting

The ICC is part of Fujitsu’s programme of channel education, which it sees as fundamental to future growth. Indeed, in his opening address Mike Nelson, Vice President at PFU (EMEA) Ltd, pointed out that resellers who attended the 2014 event enjoyed an additional 12 million euros of scanner sales in the year of the conference –and as much as 30 million euros when you take into account other services and ancillary equipment such as storage.

So what was there to learn this year?

Jo Caudron, founder of Duval Union Consulting, set the scene by explaining how we are entering the third wave of digital disruption. Unlike the first wave in 1995, which transformed the music, video and photography sectors, and the second wave in 2005, which impacted print media, TV, travel and HR sectors, Caudron warned that the third wave was touching every industry, including retail, healthcare, automotive, finance, education, telecoms, FMCG, food, banking and insurance.

Evidence of this transformation was revealed by changing ‘business touchpoints’ e.g. the transition from meeting room to conference room to virtual reality; from paper storage to digital storage to the cloud; from paper to PDF to real-time smart data; and from the office to home office to new ways of working.

Caudron pointed out that the rate of change was deceptive. Because businesses are adopting digitisation at different rates, a supplier could convince themselves that it was possible to carry on as normal losing only a few customers each year. To them, he put the question ‘what percentage of customers can you afford to lose year after year?’.

He added that the need to support customers at every stage of the digital adoption curve means that businesses must master the old world and the new.
Phase Three

John Mancini, chief evangelist of AIIM, made the same point in the context of electronic content management. He argued that because successive stages in the evolution of document and content management don’t replace what has gone before but are layered on top, organisations will have to connect the dots between traditional ECM systems and new, third wave mobile solutions.

In his keynote presentation, Mancini identified the three distinct phases of content management that have emerged over the last 35 years:

Phase One: Document Management and Workflow –
the automation, mainly by Fortune 500-type organisations, of complicated, mission-critical processes, such as insurance policy admin and cheque management. These solutions were expensive, complex and highly customised. There were no standards and people had to undertake week-long training courses to use them. This didn’t matter, said Mancini, because typically just 1-3% of knowledge workers in an organisation were responsible for back-end processes.

Fujitsu Information Capture Conference (ICC)
Fujitsu Information Capture Conference (ICC)

Phase Two: Electronic Content Management (ECM) –
by 2000 document management had morphed into ECM. This was promoted as an enterprise layer, but in reality it was still driven by business departments, resulting in knowledge silos. ECM had started to spread down into mid-sized businesses, but it was still mainly a big company game.

Phase Three: Mobility & the Cloud –
in the late 2000s things started to change, explained Mancini, as first Sharepoint (2007) and then enterprise ‘sync and share’ offerings like Box upset industry price points and precipitated the shift from ECM specialists to knowledge workers. There was a fundamental change in how solutions were adopted, but usability and mobility were still a problem. Phase Three, dominated by mobile and cloud, has changed all this. Today, process owners can implement their own solutions; business processes can be ‘appified’; mobile is at the centre and not an afterthought; and usability is essential – any solution that takes more than 10 minutes for people to learn how to use is a non-starter.

Explaining the key differences between legacy ECM systems and Phase Three ECM systems, Mancini said: “Legacy ECM systems are all about technology; modern ones are all about applications. Legacy ECM was mostly a large company thing; now it’s relevant to just about any size of company. In the legacy era, usability and mobility were an afterthought; now they are core. In legacy land we said ‘someday’ about the cloud; today people want the cloud now. We went from an environment where IT was buying technology to one in which businesses are buying applications (Gartner says that by 2020 80% of the IT spend will be by the business rather than IT). We’ve gone from a legacy world of costly, very complex integrations to one in which people want to configure not customise. And, lastly, the focus has gone from 24-36 month projects that set out to change everything to modest, application-specific improvements that can be scaled and extended throughout an organisation.”

AIIM President John Mancini
AIIM President John Mancini

Not everything is perfect. Mancini points out that businesses are frustrated by the security implications of greater mobility and the blurring of lines between home and office; and that there is a massive legacy drag – the gap between what they can do with the systems they have and the type of organisation they want to become.

Digitisation vs digitalisation

Mancini says that organisations need to do three things to overcome this drag:

1 Get paper out of their organisation.
“Of the end users we have questioned, 72% agree that ‘business at the speed of paper’ will be unacceptable in a few years’ time. I think that time has already come and gone”, he said.

2 Understand that digitalisation is different to digitisation.
“When we talk to people about how they are using digital capture, you still get a scan-to-archive type of game. We’ve been in scanto-process now for 10 years. Organisations must figure out that this is not just about digitising paper and sticking it in an archive; this is about how you digitalise a business; how you take capture and move it from document capture to information capture.”

3 Sort out back-end processes.
“Back-end business processes are still a mess. Businesses could get away with this in an earlier era when their processes weren’t exposed to customers and suppliers as directly as they are now. But when an organisation opens up and when walls become more transparent, back office processes have to run efficiently,” warned Mancini.

Lessons for the channel

So what do these trends mean for the reseller community? Clearly, there is potential for increased sales and deeper relationships by helping customers achieve the three goals outlined above and by connecting the idea of information capture with the broader digital transformation initiatives that organisations are wrestling with today.

However, Mancini points out that digital transformation is also changing the way that IT is bought by customers, which is having an effect on resellers’ own operations and their approach to market.

“Think about how the sales skill set needs to change,” he said. “This is a big issue for this industry. CEB, creator of the Challenger Sales model, says that 57% of the buyer’s journey is complete before the first customer contact with the supplier. Think about how different that is from the ‘lone wolf’ model that we have traditionally had for the heroes in Our sales world – the person who is out there meeting or exceeding sales quotas all the time, sprinkling special dust that turns prospects into customers. Those guys still exist, but in a glasshouse world most people are going to acquire most of their information about who you are, what you do and how you do it before they even talk to any of your sales people.”

Mancini points out that in a world where marketing is becoming increasingly important it is essential for resellers to overcome the huge gap that exists between sales and marketing. “Customers rate the sales person as the least influential interaction in the buying process, while online content is quickly becoming the dominant driver of commerce. Unfortunately, most people are still using traditional selling models,” he said.

Mancini adds that this, and the fact that growth in technology spend is coming from ‘the business’ buying IT rather than IT staff buying IT, requires a new sales approach.

“Most people spend their sales training dollar on sales models or making sales people familiar with the product portfolio. Yet, when we ask people what stops them from achieving their goals, it normally comes down to their inability to establish a business case for change. That’s a huge challenge for us moving forward in this space. In a consumer-centric era, in an application-centric era, in which the business is buying you have to be conversant in selling solutions. People aren’t buying technology any more, they are buying applications. So you really need to think about how you build up the confidence your sales people have in selling solutions rather than selling technology.”

In conclusion Mancini said: “Content management is changing and changing very rapidly, and that change will accelerate. Customer stakes are rising; they get that they have to change; they are wrestling with the question of how to map their legacy systems with these innovative systems. Document capture is morphing into something far more strategic and that presents huge opportunities for this space, but we have to help educate people to connect the dots between what we all know about information capture and what the C-level is trying to achieve with digital transformation in their organisation. Neither side will get it organically. We have to educate the C-level and we have to educate existing people in organisations that their competencies are relevant to the new set of challenges. The last point is the skills set needs to change.”

Award winners

No conference is complete without an awards ceremony. Here are Fujitsu’s 2016 award winners:

Partner of the Year: Western Europe
• NotaSolutions, France

Partner of the Year: East Europe and Russia
• Koncept, Poland

Partner of the Year: Middle East & Africa
• PC Time Co., Saudi Arabia

Newcomer of the Year
• NuSynergi, UK

Best Mobile Scanner Integration
• Tconsult, The Netherlands

Best ScanSnap Integration
• Telecomputer, Germany

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