The role of legacy technologies in the remote and hybrid workplace is often overlooked in the rush to introduce new technologies. One of the most widely used and deployed technologies over the past 20 years has been document management systems. While investment and spending on technologies is largely focused on the cloud or communications and collaboration platforms and apps, we have seen over the years that investment in document management is still substantial.

In fact, according to Statista, the global document management system market was valued at $3.59 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to $6.78 billion by 2023. The document management system (DMS) market, is ever-changing, driven by the need for increased efficiency in the workplace. The improving technologies and efficient execution of DMS are expected to gradually eliminate the traditional paper files concept.

Evolving Document Management Systems

The problem is that now, with the move to the remote workplace, workers are communicating and managing their documents through new kinds of technologies. Sam Babic, chief innovation officer at Westlake, Ohio-based Hyland argues that what is “current” in document management has become a moving target, given the rapid change to which content services customers and vendors adapt.

To that end, many enterprises have incorporated new automated technologies, which have become more prevalent in helping streamline business processes as enterprises settle into hybrid work. Those technologies, to name a few, include robotic process automation — which will scale down companies’ dependence upon humans, freeing those individuals up for more strategic tasks — and cloud-based software deployment, providing quick and easy access to stored information, anywhere.

“Further adoption of new technologies will position those handling content services deployments for even more efficiency. Low code/no-code developments, for example, allow for improved company agility and higher productivity by providing stakeholders the ability to configure and rapidly deploy customized solutions,” he said.

The result, he said, is that many people are now pointing to hyper-automation as the next big thing in a company’s digital transformation roadmap. Hyper-automation is defined as a collection of tools and technologies that act as enablers of technologies, which, when taken together and integrated in some way, can automate large portions of end-to-end workflows to a degree legacy automation technologies or stand-alone automation could not otherwise do. In essence,  hyper-automation more seamlessly integrates these separate automation tools into a collaborative automated technology.

“Enterprises will be challenged to identify the problems they are trying to address with hyper-automation, and cloud-based vendors must ensure those tools are available — and interoperable,” he added.

Related Article: AI Is Changing How We Handle Documents

Accessing Data in One Place

Remote work will likely continue post-pandemic, meaning managers will need to continue coming up with new ways to ensure their remote employees have all the insights they need, and resources can be easily found in one place, said Kevin Beasley, CIO at New York City-based VAI.

Elements such as ease of use and updating are still relevant. As a result, the growing sophistication of document management systems will become crucial to organizations looking to collaborate under one solution and should be moving from on-premises to the cloud. By adopting a holistic approach and implementing a single platform, executives can keep a digital record of the business and employees can access various resources, trainings, and metrics with ease.

“Document management systems that take on this holistic manner, such as a system integrated with ERP, will continue to be valuable tools for remote working environments, if the line of sight and communication remains clear and transparent,” Beasley said. “Managers who ensure their document management systems are updated with necessary information can ensure that their workers are better equipped to handle remote work and complete their tasks independently.”

Related Article: 5 Common Ways Companies Use RPA to Enhance Document Processing

Content Enablement

Everything in the document management space, however, is not perfect. “Quite frankly, there are very few, if any, elements of document management systems that are still current”,  New York City-based Templafy co-founder Christian Lund, said. “The shift to remote working has totally transformed the way we need to think about managing and utilizing documents. And we believe this shift is manifesting in the creation of a new category called content enablement.

Learning Opportunities

Content enablement comprises the platforms and point-solution services that deliver better-performing business content by enabling more efficient and higher quality creation, collaboration, distribution, and management of content-elements across an entire organization.

He argues that up to this point, content used to create documents within enterprises has been static, stored away and disconnected from workflows. But to thrive in this new era of work, content needs to be enabled. Meaning that content is directly integrated into workflows and served to employees. Allowing them to create accurate, on-brand, compliant and simply better documents than ever before.

Across any organization, documents are a driving force for success. It’s within every part of the business and is how professionals bring their ideas to life — from emails to pitch decks to contracts and more. And the shift from DMS to content enablement will allow documents to do what it does best: drive growth.

While some tools have been able to pivot to meet new remote work needs, many document management systems have stayed static, simply storing documents and waiting for users to actively find them. In today’s remote workplace that can no longer be the norm. “A Content Enablement solution is the next era of successful document management. When content is connected throughout the entire tech stack, employees are served exactly what they need within the applications they’re already using,” he added.

Documents in Business

While the pandemic has forever changed the business ecosystem, one reality remains constant, documents are still the foundation of how business gets done, Shawn Herring, the VP of marketing at San Francisco-based PandaDoc, said. In this environment, it is essential that business have in place solutions to easily manage the creation, editing, and signing of documents.

With more HR teams now bringing on new hires remotely, an automated document solution that offers 24/7 access to up-to-date online documents can ensure that onboarding is consistent and streamlined for HR, the manager, and the job candidate.

An automated digital document workflow streamlines the entire process, from document creation to approval and distribution. “As you move from static to dynamic document creation, you’re enabling real-time editing and collaboration. With the endless back and forth between stakeholders eliminated or held to a minimum, digital documents promote a better user experience — for both employees and clients”, he said.