Thoughts from the Home of Country Music

By Joe Budelli posted 12-01-2010 12:09


What started with a round of golf ended with a fare adieu. No, I’m not talking about my in-laws’ trip into town this past holiday weekend. I am actually referring to the AIIM Document Management Service Provider Executive Forum that took place a few weeks ago in USA’s very own “Music City,” Nashville, Tennessee.

I gained a lot of insight during the event on industry topics ranging from increasing targeted website traffic, fiscal leadership, offshore outsourcing, and Sharepoint.AIIM President, John Mancini, gave a great presentation on the state of the document management service provider industry, which revealed results from AIIM research and a survey on end user drivers, adoption, and implementation obstacles.

With approximately 30 percent fresh faces and 70 percent return attendees, I took the show as an example of our thriving market and growing economy. In terms of market health, I think that we are at a turning point.  Revenues are increasing and companies are showing profitability again. During John’s presentation he reported that aggregate revenues were up 9.7percent this year vs. 2009.  Seventy-nine percent of the companies surveyed were profitable.

John also discussed the top vertical markets for document management including government, healthcare, banking and transportation, which I have addressed before as key areas for capture adoption and growth. It was interesting to see that our industry’s perception of the key target markets is dominated by healthcare at 76 percent, followed by state and local governments at 36 percent, banking at 28 percent and transportation at 26 percent. This is most likely due to the advancing pressures of the HITECH Act and meaningful use policies. The top drivers for adoption of capture within these markets (and others) should come as no surprise as they include reducing costs, improving information access, advancing workflow and general processes, and enhancing customer service.  However, one that I was surprised not to see listed as a top target, is also one many of us market everyday: removing paper/becoming more green. The corporate environmental responsibility revolution seems to have shifted to other methods like solar energy creation.

The two key trends from the show that caught my eye were cloud computing and subscription services. Our industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and it is vital for capture professionals to recognize that moving to the cloud is no longer a pretty thought, it’s a necessity for business development. There's no question cloud technologies will impact organizations’ IT deployment strategies. The ease of deployment that comes with a cloud infrastructure is opening up new opportunities with organization of all sizes. Moving to the cloud will mean offering next generation document conversion platforms for flexible, efficient, and virtual processing. This will require our industry to get outside our normal comfort zone to gain traction in this evolving technology deployment method.

SaaS for document capture and management is ultimately changing how our products are delivered. SaaS based capture platforms make it possible for companies to overcome high costs, administrative complexity, and other barriers of traditionally deployed services. By allowing companies to deploy our software as an online, pay as you go, service subscription, we are enabling cost-effective services and ease-of-use.  This will begin to play a larger role in our markets’ evolution as we look to fulfill more mainstream problems.

Of course, the show wasn’t all deployment strategies and other bits and bytes. AIIM offered peer-to-peer networking opportunities to compare past experiences, discuss current trends and look forward to future developments within our industry. Are there any past experiences that you’d like to share, or trends that you see affecting market growth and business development?

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