Software as a service (SaaS) or cloud computing is "the issue that dominates" the ECM market, asserts Trovarit AG. According to a survey by the analysts every fifth provider in the ECM / DMS field is offering standardized SaaS solutions. "It is foreseeable that this share will continue to rise in the coming years since acceptance of the SaaS concept in the ECM environment is extremely high," states Trovarit. This applies in particular to e-mail, web content, document and collaboration management, as well as archiving.
"Basic ECM functions such as document management/online storage are accessible to a larger target group in the B2C environment, making the cloud an ECM driver," explains Bitkom. "The possibility of mobile access to data/documents at any time, from any place and from any end device allows it to be incorporated into a company’s business processes and therefore forms the foundation of the modern workplace," states the inter-trade organization in its latest ECM Trend Check.
According to Bitkom, cloud solutions "already have great practical relevance to companies of all sizes and from all sectors" in some segments of ECM. The use of pure cloud storage sites such as Dropbox and Microsoft One Drive are often motivated by the need for teams to make documents available at a decentralized location and the flexibility of their storage space. The same holds true for e-mail management.
Against the backdrop of complex corporate structures (multi-site, multi-legal), the cloud approach in larger companies contains "significant potential to accelerate rollouts and considerably reduce administrative expenditure," in the opinion of Bitkom. In addition, the cloud approach enables the lines of business at larger enterprises to operate limited ECM installations without the need for centrally-regulated infrastructure decisions. This is motivated by the removal of infrastructure operations and budgeting of larger investments.
In addition to acquisition costs, the growing need for ECM solutions "is countered by the complexity of the software solutions along with operating expenses that SMEs in particular do not feel equipped to deal with," qualifies Bitkom. According to Trovarit AG "the mistrust that many users have of hosting data on external servers" inhibits the spread of SaaS and cloud computing. According to the consultants, legislators and providers are confronted with the task of drafting uniform standards to secure customer data.
From Bitkom’s point of view, cloud-specific use barriers such as data protection, compliance and performance will be given less weight in the future. "The relatively guarded attitudes Germans currently hold vis-à-vis the cloud will undergo a positive transformation – at the very latest when digital natives move into the boardroom," predicts the ECM Trend Check. In the interface between growing demand and efficient infrastructure operations the use of cloud solutions will also increase significantly in the medium-term when it comes to more extensive document management in SMEs. According to Bitkom, cloud-based document management has "the potential to become a commodity."