Enterprise Content Management as part of the 3rd technological revolution
This article aims to emphasize the need, to investigate the benefits of Enterprise Content Management strategy for medium to large enterprises.
These benefits have an immediate effect on operating costs, while, at the same time, ECM strategy helps management to build stronger awareness of many additional benefits that will be experienced, as implemented on future changes in business environment that are due to come.
Such changes will seriously affect the way most businesses will operate, hence any investment on ECM strategy will have an exponential effect on ROI of any company, in any business sectors.
Recent effects of technology on business and economy.
The terminology ‘3rd Technological Revolution’ is gradually being established due to new horizons emerging from the evolution of technologies in communications, IT, robotics, artificial intelligence , machine learning, Big Data etc
This technological revolution inevitably has an effect on economic, social, even political developments as it has an impact, primarily, on societies with advanced heavy manufacturing industry, where the size and complexity of big production lines and operational environment are very high but automation had, for some time, greater room to experience improvements.
Most of other types of business such as services, retail, distribution, logistics, general administration, shipping, health, Banking, insurance, finance, and many more, are now, experiencing the first effects of the ‘3rd technological revolution’ with the introduction of ECM strategy.
Conditions in the Balkan including the Greek, markets
The lack of large industrial units in the Balkan and Greek markets does not give the opportunity to business executives to acquire ‘hands on’ experiences of the benefits arising from the adoption of ECM technologies, hence the introduction of Enterprise Content Management strategy is being delayed, except for minimal steps taken in very obvious cases where management was forced to handle either, very large volumes of data (physical documents and electronic data) in combination to complex processes involving many persons participating.
Alternatively, many organizations have been forced to adopt ECM strategies due to pressure from international organizations to adhere to quality standards, certification and data security.
An additional, most important consequence, due to delays in implementing ECM strategy is that companies miss out on deeper understanding of additional multiple future benefits that will be experienced, in relation to significant forthcoming changes expected in the near future.
These changes will, very soon, affect operating business structures, and working conditions while they will, most certainly, increase international competition.
Opportunities for the Balkan and Greek economies
The 3rd Technological Revolution presents specific opportunities which can contribute to the improvement of the Balkan and Greek economies.
Balkan and Greek economies can turn some of their disadvantages to advantages.
One of the disadvantages is the lack of heavy manufacturing industry. Such industries, in North European countries have been going through severe restructuring due to many fundamental changes covering, product, manufacturing processes, market requirements, technology etc. As an example, consider the issues that car industry has to overcome that needs to produce electrical cars.
On the contrary, Balkan countries and Greece can easily take advantage of ECM technology, in specific sectors, without the need to go through similar restructuring processes, instead, it needs to focus on the improvement of operational processes to promote in its infrastructure most existing competitive advantages in public and private companies which mainly provide services in sectors such as Health (Hospital administration), logistics (including the management of import export procedures), Product distribution, agricultural cooperatives that expand into vertical business, general administration, transport including shipping , tourism, insurance, etc
Improving competitiveness in contrast to the problem of unemployment
The ‘3rd technological revolution’ and as part of it, ECM technology is mainly about improving competitiveness that does not necessarily reduces human resources, but mostly improves the efficiency of human resources which participate in work processes.
At the same time, as a byproduct, the same technology contributes in savings on media and materials, reduces and even eliminates errors while finally enhances the adaptability of business units to sudden changes in market conditions.
It would, of course, be hypocritical not to recognize that among the consequences of the current ‘technological revolution’ will be the reduction of available jobs. Once more, the challenge will be to tackle the problem of unemployment. This time, the increased unemployment will lead to the introduction of many new social adaptations that will improve among other, working conditions, which means that part of the real profit will eventually be to the benefit of society. Our experience has shown that similar positive consequence has been experienced in the previous industrial revolution.
ECM technology as a precursor to artificial intelligence
It is reasonable to question why we insist that there is a correlation of ECM technology with the next stage of adaptation of production processes which employs new technology by exploiting artificial intelligence, robotics combined with the huge amount of information that businesses produce on a daily basis (Big Data).
As an example, ECM systems utilize both document and image digitization technologies with automatic content recognition facility with machine learning capabilities, which in cooperation with Business Process Management, enable information to be evaluated, processed and distributed to the right participants.
This means that an ECM system can recognize data from hundreds of sources of different incoming document forms, exploit knowledge derived from ‘big data’ files, classify that information, and finally deliver the end information product to different recipients without any human intervention, to carry out activities such as controls, approvals, accounting, etc.
I hope that this makes it obvious how ECM technology introduces the splitting a production process in stages, ultimately leading to the replacement of human intervention by systems with artificial intelligence capabilities.
Transition to the new reality
Transition to full automation is implemented by splitting operational process in small stages that, initially, require less and simpler human intervention.
In conclusion, one needs to be aware of the exponential speed by which artificial intelligence and robotics are taking over and how important it is for management to adapt to the changing conditions imposed by technological developments that radically modify business and market environment.
Just consider some implications:
- The 1st industrial Revolution was followed by the First World War
- The 2nd industrial Revolution was followed by the Second World
- The 3rd Technological Revolution. What will follow?
I urge you to further investigate the areas, that Enterprise Content Management Strategy can be applicable to your organization.
The survival of your medium-long-term business depends upon.