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Digital Office - ECM / Input / Output

File Hoarders and the Virtually Disheveled

Everybody seems to have their own preferred way to store data - from Jenga-style stacks of files to simply dumping everything online. Yet there are certain archetypal filing-phobes. Here's an overview of those types, and why more and more companies are correcting their bad habits through Enterprise Content Management.

16 Dec. 2015

The Paper Patriarch


This type of businessman refuses to buy in to the "Internet trend" in any way. Many trees pay the price for this attitude. The Paper Patriarch orders his secretary to print out e-mails for his review — and then dictates his answer into a recording device. Terms like Enterprise Content Management and digital storage get looked up in his favorite paper-bound 24-volume encyclopedia, if only to ensure that they aren't listed there. It's no wonder that his business's archives require a complete room, and maybe part of the cellar too. Clear organization? Not so much. On the other hand, every sent or received e-mail is filed away in the comprehensive archive.

What the expert suggests: Frank Früh, Division Head for Enterprise Content Management for Industry Association BITKOM, knows: "The Paper Patriarch could use a start-to-finish document management and organization system to bring order and clarity to his storage system. Working with an ECM opens up possibilities ranging from archiving and document management to workflows and support process management, collaboration solutions such as Wikis or forums as well as input and output solutions and even, where needed, Web Content Management software."

The Paper Patriarch will find some interesting presentations at CeBIT: It's worthwhile to compare offerings from the individual manufacturers to find something that meets the company's specific needs. CeBIT offers a good opportunity for this. Konica Minolta for example offers industry-specific solutions , such as for attorneys and Legal departments , traffic and transportation and education , each composed as needed from individual modules.

The Security Fanatic

Unlike the Paper Patriarch, the Security Fanatic is more open to the digital world. Laptop and smartphone are always on hand. What's different is that he'd never print out an e-mail without an absolutely rock-solid reason for doing so. Yet this doesn't promise a tidy office either — the papers tend to stack up here too. That's because the Security Fanatic saves all documents in thick binders — for years on end. The reason: legal requirements related to privacy and protecting data against abuse. The logistical challenges can be daunting. Not least because a massive collection of files has accrued. And time spent searching for files is at a premium during the hectic daily office life.

What the expert suggests: "Security Fanatics will also find it worthwhile to digitize documents," says Früh, the ECM expert. "The issues of security and protection against data loss are cited by roughly 75 percent of ECM users – especially smaller firms," he continues .

The Security Fanatic can expect some eye-opening presentations at CeBIT: Certified security for ECM solutions comes from various providers, including CEYONIC . This ensures secure protection of data, yet the time and expense for storing data is reduced many times over. There is also a broad range of solutions to meet specific needs - a survey of the solutions being exhibited is well worth it.

The Onliner

The Onliner is familiar with the options for digitization. In fact, this type's desk looks almost disturbingly empty. Incoming documents are routinely scanned and then sent through the shredder. Emails are immediately sorted into countless folders, with no more than the past hour's worth of mails ever darkening the inbox. There's only one problem with this system, but it's a big one... a sore lack of organization. A glance at the computer desktop only hints at the dimensions of the chaos at work here on his hard drive, network drive and laptop. A typical question: "Now where was that important contract from last week? Surely I didn't send it through the shredder before I scanned and filed it, right?..."

What the expert suggests: many companies start with partial solutions such as e-mail archiving or digital customer files. In addition, affordable cloud solutions are available in configurations that can scale up as the company grows, making them particularly attractive to SMEs. Früh recommends that the Onliner take advantage of a comprehensive ECM solution to bring light to the darkness of filing chaos.

The Onliner will find plenty to see at CeBIT: individual solutions based on specific business needs, including the ability to integrate individual modules easily as needed, are offered for example by ECM Portfolio from Optimal Systems .

The Early Bird

They say that the early bird catches the worm, but this rarely applies in the IT sector. The Early Bird here has put together a patchwork ECM solution from various providers: a Cloud solution for e-mail archiving from a start-up in Korea, a freshly launched app for business banking transaction from two amateurs in Spain and a crowdfunded project for the analysis of sensitive customer data. He was one of the first to identify each of these products, all on his own. The only problem is that these kinds of providers routinely go under shortly after launch and disappear from the scene – taking their Cloud data with them. But it's not as bad as all that. There are hacker websites he frequents that are willing to recover the data, usually for a reasonable fee.

What the expert suggests: For the Early Bird, Frank Früh urgently recommends switching to an ECM provider with a more robust security situation: "When you're dealing with sensitive corporate and customer data, it's not the right time for experimentation."

The Early Bird can snag some attractive finds at CeBIT: established providers with recognized security certification are a good choice here. The top providers on the market – beyond the big players such as IBM or SAP – include for example Easy Software and DocuWare .

The Penny Pincher

The Penny Pincher is well aware of the benefits of an ECM solution for his firm. There's already a document management system in place, but it's only a partial solution and keeping up with the paperwork has turned into a major drain. His approach is to dive deep into the different options, trying to ensure that the upcoming investment will bring the absolute greatest possible benefit. Look for the Excel list of pros and cons for the individual providers. The final decision will be based on factors beyond just functionality. Price and current market trends also have a strong voice here. His greatest fear is that a different, more affordable ECM variant will appear shortly after he pulls the trigger. Whether the Penny Pincher will ever make a decision, and if so, whether the cheapest version was actually the right one, is up in the air. It's worth noting that the Excel spreadsheet was first created sometime in the last decade...

What the expert suggests : "Most smaller SMEs today really do make their decisions about which ECM to use based on price," Früh says. "Our studies show that value and low operating/purchase costs are among the most important criteria in the decision." The question of whether these are wise investments is a different one. Beyond the price, the individual needs should also be given priority. One independent review of the possibilities of ECM systems can be found in BITKOM’S study on "ECMs for SMEs ."

The Penny Pincher will have plenty of options at CeBIT: Once he has established what he needs, it's easy and convenient to request two or three different offers from providers. Pentadoc Radar among others offers a market overview. CeBIT provides a chance to review the offers from top providers in as much depth as desired.

Experience the whole world of Enterprise Content Management at CeBIT: Solutions for secure storage and handling, company-wide archiving systems, platform-agnostic systems and much, much more.