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Rob Koplowitz remembers it well: that time a decade ago when document management was considered a "non-sexy technology." Thanks to the new emphasis on social business, those days are behind us now.

"Over the course of the last eight years I've been with Forrester, we've seen that completely slip on its head," said Koplowitz, a vice president and principal analyst for the technology research house. "Everything has changed so dramatically."

Koplowitz reviewed the reasons for that change on Feb. 19 in a webinar that also featured Marci Maddox, senior director for product marketing and customer experience management at OpenText.

Driving Opportunity

Coming out of the recession, there's been soaring demand to "do business differently" by empowering workers with technologies that allow them to collaborate while building their knowledge through real-time access to expert information.

"They want new technologies around content and social because they drive business value," Koplowitz said. "They drive huge amounts of business opportunity."

The analyst, who has spent a quarter-century in document management technologies, noted OpenText has been involved in many core parts of this change for many years. 

Today, he said Forrester is experiencing "white hot" demand for refreshing company portals to meet new requirements for multimedia, spoken word, video, podcasts and user-generated content. Sales staffs, marketers and other parts of the company now see great value both in having rapid access to in-house materials and to listening to their increasingly powerful customers.

"We have this redefined role of business content," said Koplowitz. Years ago, he said some materials were always sent to high-end document management systems, but the rest were being shipped around through file shares and other places "where it wasn't very useable." Today, companies are allowing employees to interact with each other in "much more interesting and compelling ways" thanks to the social revolution that began on Facebook and is now permeating the enterprise. He continued:

All of these things that I'm talking about, which were separate pieces of technology that were coming into the enterprise over the last several years and also addressed these opportunities for the more efficient knowledge worker are all coalescing into a single environment. We call it the engagement workplace at Forrester."

Evolution of the Workplace

Maddox responded that the cultural shift is pervading many types of companies today. "The workplace you've described around mobility and social is really an evolution we see for the conversion of these consumer technologies into real business value," she said.