Consumerization Trend Brings Powerful Content Management Tools to SMBs

By Wasim A. Khan

Imagine if every time you wanted to record a TV program, you had to call in a professional. That service would be too expensive for most consumers, forcing them to do without.

Wasim A. Khan, head of Xerox Global Workflow Automation and General Manager for Xerox DocuShare
Enterprise IT applications are beginning to emulate the user-friendly apps that non-technical people use every day.” – Wasim A. Khan, head of Xerox Global Workflow Automation and General Manager for Xerox DocuShare

In other words, it would be something like enterprise IT applications, which typically require professionals to install, program and maintain them –leaving many small and medium size businesses (SMBs) to do without.

But that’s changing. Enterprise IT applications are beginning to emulate the user-friendly apps that non-technical people use every day on their mobile devices and laptops. This move to consumerization makes it easier for SMB workers to meet their individual needs in highly personal ways, without an IT department.

Content Management in the SMB

Among the applications leading the consumerization charge: enterprise content management (ECM) systems. These systems provide centralized management of digital documents, while enabling digitization and automation of many document-related processes.


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So, for example, if you needed to pull together all of your records about a particular client or on a specific topic — including financial spreadsheets, emails, Web posts, and Word documents — an ECM does it for you. It provides a structured way to organize all of an enterprise’s documents in all their digital forms in a searchable, centralized repository. No more tedious searching through multiple disconnected systems.

Link to more information
DocuShare Flex: Cloud content management for the digital workplace.

Moreover, common document workflows for tasks like managing approval processes can be automated, ensuring that everyone who needs to see a document sees it at the right time, in its most current form. With a little advanced planning, automation can even help you locate disparate documents relating to a given topic. You simply automate your retention policies for documents on that topic, and the ECM system will collect and store them for future retrieval. Think of the time you could save responding to an audit, to say nothing of how finding information more quickly could accelerate customer service, workplace collaboration and a host of other activities.

Yet SMBs tend to lack centralized storage of digital information, often relying instead on inefficient paper-based systems. According to respondents to a 2016 Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) survey, poor content management practices result in taking too long to find content (62 percent), duplicated efforts (52 percent) and insufficient re-use (46 percent)1.

The Consumerization of ECM

The consumerization trend is poised to change that, and the cloud is a key contributor. With the cloud, the system’s technology is managed off-site by a third party — offloading the requirements for system integration, updates and maintenance that are the realm of the IT professional. The cloud also contributes to making these systems more affordable, permitting SMBs and departments to control costs by ordering only the service level they require.

The way users interface with the technologies onsite is also critical to consumerization. For example, our new cloud-based ECM solution, Xerox® DocuShare Flex, was re-engineered from the ground up to make user interactions simple and intuitive, while delivering the power and full functionality of large-scale ECM systems. Its 100-percent Web-based user interface enables users to start right in using the application with little or no training. It’s also mobile-ready to run on a wide range of browsers and mobile devices—whenever and wherever the user needs it. And searches can be as straightforward as those in any Web-based browser, with advanced search options available, as well.

Just as critically, the system’s automation tools and content rules are designed for easy programming by business users. No more calling in IT pros whenever you want to automate a process from scratch, or tweak it to more closely match your work style.

It’s not quite as easy as recording a TV program, but it’s getting there.

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