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The Future of Document Management
What is Document Management?
Current Trends
Trends for the Millenium
Document Management After 2000

Von Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer

Users and vendors alike are reporting a level of interest never before seen in the subject of document management. The investment bottleneck caused by the millennium changeover and the introduction of the Euro is slowly starting to clear.
Users are preparing for new projects, with the focus on implementing modern electronic communications both internally and with customers, improving work procedures, offering new services, and creating a lean organization with optimum technical support.
Document management solutions, including Internet and Intranet technologies, Workflow, Groupware, and electronic archiving systems offer the ideal means to attain these goals.
Document management systems (DMS) make possible the uniform, consistent organization, control, and use of all documents without requiring users to deal with the technical formats or physical locations of information.
What is Document Management?
The term „document management“ is used and interpreted in different ways. Document management in the wider sense refers to the entire industry: scanning, imaging, workflow, in part groupware, intranet solutions, electronic archiving, output management, etc. In the narrower sense, document management refers to „dynamic“ or „classical“ document management.
Document Management in the Narrow Sense
Originally, document management technology involved monolithic systems using special clients for each application with no regard for integration. This type of classical document management is used for the dynamic administration of electronic documents and files within networks, with functionalities such as:
Version management
Access protection
Document group (container) creation
Self-descriptive information objects
Document Management in the Wider Sense
With the increasing overlap and integration of the different document management technologies, the term is also being applied to other systems and their interaction as well as to classical document management. These other systems are:
Office Communication/Office Suites Individual modules like word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, databases, calendars, mail, and fax, with active control by the user
Document Imaging Scanning, displaying, printing, and managing facsimile documents
Electronic Archiving Archiving data, images and/or lists, with database-supported access, remote storage, auditability
E-Forms Electronic forms for the entry, display, publishing, and management of variable information
Output Management Creation, management and print output for professional printing
Groupware Cooperative working, database-supported data and file administration, replication, group functions such as calendar and mail, linkage and integration of individual components
Workflow Structured processes, status and action monitoring, rule-based control, CI and NCI document processing, controlled forwarding of documents and procedures
Different Perspectives
Different DMS solutions concentrate on different things. Each of the above product groups proceeds from a different focus or perspective on the same problem – handling unstructured information. For example:
The „Document“ Perspective Document management systems in the classical sense are document-oriented, i.e. access, management, and presentation are based on document criteria. These systems originated to manage files in networks. In the classical products of this type, organizational concepts such as joint use of documents, inclusion in processes etc. are not a factor.
Electronic archive systems with digital optical storage use an approach that is similar to the classical document management systems. Like them, they use a database to administer information and containers. Electronic archiving systems can also administer large volumes of data online, nearline, and off-line in jukeboxes.
The „Process“ Perspective Workflow systems proceed from a process-oriented approach, in which documents are incorporated into the flow of work (hence the name). They likewise use archive systems that are often directly integrated in the workflow system. Access, which is situation and process-relevant, is less to individual documents than to related processes from different sources and information items.
The „Cooperative Work“ Perspective Groupware systems take still another approach. They focus on the joint use of program and information resources. Access can be document-oriented, within the framework of joint document handling, or within process chains that are not firmly defined or structured. Archiving plays only a subordinate role.
The „Data“ Perspective Fulltext-oriented systems which store all document contents in a format that allows processing use a „data“ approach. In these systems the access and content components are the same data. Many solutions also keep facsimile documents directly in the database and simply treat them as a new type of data. Data and documents are used directly in the database instead of via a conventional electronic archive, workflow, or document management system. These systems usually use reference databases from which individual documents are referred to a separate data storage system (repository, library, archive etc.) by means of a pointer.
The Document, Process, Cooperative Work, and Data perspectives are just different approaches to the same task – the accurate, timely, consistent, and situation-sensitive presentation of information.
The Future of Document Management
The various document management technologies are highly interdependent. The use of one component is generally not possible without access to other components.
Integrated Document Management
By now most users have recognized that they do not need individual applications that usually perform just one function, but rather integrated, enterprise-wide solutions. Distributed document management solutions therefore go far beyond classical document management to include:
The entire Document Life Cycle from the creation or generation of a document through to archiving it,
As well as the entire Document Supply Chain from generation, editing, addition, approval, and output management through to transfer and distribution in different renditions of a single document.
Current Trends
Most professional document management and archiving systems are already mature. The most important things for users to consider in selecting a DMS solution today are:
Separating the wheat from the chaff,
Finding a competent implementation partner, and
Properly preparing their own organization for implementation.
In addition, there are some current trends in the document management market that should be kept in mind:
Internet, Intranet, and Extranet
Enterprise document management
Mergers, takeovers, and partner concepts
Outsourcing and outside support
Internationalization and multilingual systems
Internet, Intranet, and Extranet
The Internet capability of DMS solutions has been an important topic for a few years now. Many users now see browsers and applets as viable alternatives to conventional clients in large-scale solutions.
Access Via Standard Browser
During the first phase of product development, interfaces and services were developed to allow access to documents with standard browsers such as Explorer or Netscape. However, this is not viable for constant work with documents, since documents must also be imported into the systems and office tools need to be incorporated for working on a document.
Applet Technologies
Applets are necessary for access to a DMS using a standard browser with complete document management functionality including check-in, check-out, version management, document security etc. With platform-independent applets, any browser can be transformed on demand into a master desktop or fat client with-out additional proprietary document management software. The user needs only the browser software and an authorization key.
There is still some indecision on the market as to whether to use Java or Microsoft ActiveX.
Standards are indispensable for the interoperability of different document management technologies and components from different vendors.
Document Management Standards
Among the major standardization bodies in document management are:
The ODMA Group (Open Document Management API) ODMA has become the recognized standard for linking clients, thanks to recognition by Microsoft and support by Lotus, IBM, FileNet, Eastman Software, Oracle and other leading companies. The ODMA standard also incluides Intranet extensions for accessing ODMA-compliant document management systems on an Intranet. ODMA-based programming is very simple.
DMA (Document Management Alliance) The substantially more complex DMA middleware is an important standard for open, distributed, and enterprise-wide solutions across highly diverse platforms and locations. For example, DMA-compatible middleware can be the link between different products with proprietary repositories.
WfMC (Workflow Management Coalition) The WfMC has described five different interfaces for workflow product interoperability and components. These interfaces are being developed into products. No workflow product will be competitive without WfMC-compatibility. Increasingly, manufacturers like Microsoft, SAP, PeopleSoft, and Oracle are adding workflow functionality to their products – and all these companies are members of the WfMC.
Standards Influencing DMS
Among the fundamental standards also involved in document management are:
Compound documents
Object models
Format description language
Format description languages on the Internet
E-mail header information
Data interchange
Optical storage
File formats for optical storage media
OLE, MPEG, CORBA / DCOM, HTML, XML, EDI and the file format UDF ISO 13446 will become especially important in the future.
The booby traps of Internet solutions are becoming general knowledge. Transmission security, proof of transmission of a message and its receipt by the intended recipient, message integrity, encoding against reading by third parties and other security concerns are becoming more and more important to users. Developers need to make provision for self-descriptive information objects, distributed resource directories, firewalls, cryptographic encoding, digital signatures, and other modules whose maturity is still the subject of controversy at the present time.
Self-Descriptive Information Objects
Self-describtive information objects are made up of any kind of content components (single object, container, list etc.) and a self-descriptive header. They carry with them all necessary structure, identification, and administration information. As a rule, the header component starts with a neutral description of the characteristics and attributes that can be expected in the header proper. This description is the basis for the self-descriptive character of these documents. The attributes in the header of an information object can be read even when the administrative database does not have access or the information object was sent in an environment outside the system that produced it.
The object-oriented approach ensures:
Secure information distribution
Offline processing
Asynchronous presentation in large distributed systems
Digital Signature
A digital signature has nothing to do with a scanned signature or an electronic signature controlled by password or login. Instead it serves to authenticate the originator and content of an electronic document. A digital signature is generated by the combination of a public key issued by a certification body and a secret private key. The digital signature is attached to an electronic document. In Germany the procedure is codified in the Signature Law (SigG).
Digital signatures could be used in:
E-Commerce The digital signature is one of the primary prerequisites for electronic commerce and business transactions over the Internet. Its main purpose is the exchange of business documents between parties who do not know each other. At the time of transfer of a digitally signed document there is as yet no agreement between the sender and the recipient, so identification of the sender and the legal significance of the message is very important. A digital signature should have the same legal character as an actual written signature.
Legal Transactions The Federal German Notary Association also envisions applications in which digital signatures are used in creating and sending legal certificates, deeds, and the like.
Securing Industrial Property Rights and Copyrights on the Internet The boundary between accessing information and using services requiring payment with binding electronic agreements is shifting. This can make digital signatures more important for spreading disseminating information and using Internet information pools. In the future the digital signature may also contribute to the protection of industrial property rights and copyrights on the Internet.
Multimedia Right Clearance Systems (MMRCS)
Copyright, payment for services, and industrial property rights are very important for the use of information on the World Wide Web. The publication and publishing industries are therefore pushing the development of Multimedia Right Clearance Systems (MMRCS). These systems support the approval process for multimedia rights and serve as interfaces between the use of creative media creations and their industrial property rights holders.
Systems for clarifying multimedia rights generally include the following functions:
Digital storage of components and descriptive data
Component-sensitive research and display functions
Information on legalities and licensing
Support of different types of agreements and contracts
Secure provision of components
Support of different payment and security mechanisms
Integration in the production and use environment
A comprehensive strategic study of these systems has been carried out within the framework of the INFO2000 program of the European Commission. The study had three major objectives:
Identifying the main problem areas in trading with multimedia rights within the EU, and prioritizing the necessary steps
Providing for the different viewpoints of the parties involved
Recommending the necessary measures
Initial studies have identified the following problem areas:
High costs for releasing rights
Complex legal footing
A lack of international standards
A lack of information on the release process
Enterprise Document Management
The age of small-scale „tryout“ solutions in the DMS environment is over. Today’s users demand „Enterprise Document Management.“ Enterprise document management integrates all DMS technologies as well as the world of office and business applications. The goal of these solutions is to provide to users all of the information within an enterprise without regard to the location, type of client, or application that generated a given document.
In the past standalone solutions were common. Each application had its own archiving system with its own user interface. Today the spotlight is on so-called enabling technologies, which add special document management functions to existing applications. The user does not see an autonomous DMS, workflow, or archiving system. Instead, the functionality is integrated into the application or groupware.
Architecture of Enterprise Document Management Solutions
True distributed document management solutions with central, local, or completely distributed components require a three-layer architecture, with the entire functionality nestled between the actual data and the user interface.
Enterprise document management also makes it possible to link up with customers and suppliers over the Internet.
Mergers & Acquisitions and Partner Concepts
The DMS market has matured and shows all the signs of consolidation – take-overs and mergers, the entry of large standard software vendors, and the disappearance of small software manufacturers with proprietary products.
Takeovers and Mergers The boom in demand for DMS-related products has begun, and will peak at some point after 2000, when the Euro and millenium conversions have been accomplished. There is a seller’s market for qualified system consultants and programmers, so that headhunting and poaching are rife in the DMS industry. And if you can’t get an employee, you might just take the entire company instead - many well-known names of suppliers and products have already disappeared.
Stock-Market Capitalization Many DMS vendors are currently getting up the capital for takeovers by going public. By doing so they also hope to get quick capital for the European market. Some of the stock prices for new companies are rising so fast that analysts are starting to get furrowed brows.
Partner Concepts Since enterprise solutions require the integration of widely diverse components and technologies, partnerships and alliances are widespread on the DMS scene.
Implementation Partnerships Proprietary software vendors are relying heavily on system integrators who do projects based on their products. Only in this way is it possible for a company to finance its own development and gain sufficient market share. This makes the acquisition of distribution and integration partners one of the most important objectives for product vendors. Implementation partnerships with system houses offer several advantages:
Qualified expertise for the customer on-site
Quick regional coverage
Synergies through integration with the partner’s solutions
Solution of the problem of building up qualified implementation and project management staff
Enrichment of development through partner requirements, market proximity, and knowledge of the industry
Good system integrators who can carry through projects on site are not easy to find. The software vendors with the most and the best integrators will determine the future. Therefore, many vendors have gone over to making the integrator’s performance and experience, and not the product, the reason-why criteria for a solution.
Outsourcing and Outside Support
Many corporations have realized that they cannot build up their own know-how in all areas.
Archiving and DMS From Outsourcers
Already, a lack of own resources or economic reasons lead many corporations to outsource the capture and indexing of documents.
Once the problems of inadequate bandwidth and security mechanisms have been solved, it may be possible to outsource entire DMS and archiving solutions. In such cases payment would be „per view“ for both LAN and Internet clients. The user would have no costs for administration and migration.
Outside Partners
Increasingly, jobs like the Euro-conversion, workflow, and business process op-timization or document management and electronic archiving are being tackled with the assistance of outside consultants. This gets the user off the hook of establishing his own specialist expertise for the implementation phase. Instead, users can call on the experience of neutral consultants. Market research has shown that consultants are used especially for projects in document management, electronic archiving, Workflow, and Intranet applications.
Internationalization and Multilingual Systems
The Euro will transform Europe into a single economic entity. Likewise, the document management market and large enterprise solutions do not stop at national borders.
Broadening Distribution
The DMS products left in the arena when the day is over will be the ones developed not for a national market but for the European or the international market, and which have a certain critical mass of installations. Only they will be able to amortize the high development and maintenance costs required for archival software intended to keep information available for 7, 10, or 30 years. Therefore, all German DMS vendors of any size are starting to expand their distribution networks through Europe and to the US.
In Europe, German vendors lead the market along with the Americans, some of whom have had offices in Europe for years.
Multilingual Software
Multilingual thesauri promote standardization in classifying documents, permit defined, structured access, and support searches for documents that are not available in the user’s language.
There is still no „true“ multilingual software for DMS solutions. In order to serve the international market DMS software must support numerous languages and character sets. In addition to the linguistic requirements, there are measurement and currency conversions to consider as well as differing spellings and formats for dates, addresses etc.
Convergence of Technologies
Conventional divisions of products into imaging, archiving, document management systems etc. is disappearing. This means that users are losing a primary basis for comparison as products increasingly cover similar sets of functions. Cooperations and mergers often start with one company wishing to add the features of another company’s products to its own.
Extension of Classical DMS Functionality
More and more workflow products can do archiving and document management, E-forms are turning into workflow, workflow is integrating archiving, archives are adding multimedia functions, etc. etc. The goal of all of this is to support the entire life cycle of documents, the generation, processing, and presentation of all forms of documents, data, and objects and the inclusion of every imaginable monitoring, forwarding, and control function. In this context, easy-to-use tools for creating applications are becoming more and more important.
Integration and Incorporation of Office Functions
Functions that earlier were the province of autonomous applications, such as fax, e-mail, text/data integration, text block administration, groupware functions etc. are increasingly being directly integrated into DMS products. Behind this are strategies such as „just one IN basket“ for all types of applications and documents, from conventional e-mail, Internet, fax, and voicemail to production workflow.
Disappearance of Conventional Criteria for Evaluation and Classification
This is steadily eliminating users’ evaluation criteria, as products increasingly do the same things. The implementation partner’s abilities and experience, i.e. „soft criteria,“ are becoming more important than pure product functionality. Future-proofness, modularity, migration security, and simple maintenance are gaining in importance as criteria.
Trends for the Millenium
By the millenium the following changes can be expected to take place on the DMS market:
Enabling and engines instead of autonomous applications
Split into high-end and low-end products
Integration and interoperability
New Internet standards
From document management to knowledge management
Integration of multimedia
DVD will push aside other digital optical storage mediaDMS will become one of the major IT growth markets
Enabling and Engines Instead of Autonomous Applications
In the place of autonomous document management solutions, document management functionality will increasingly be controlled from other applications and used only as a subordinate service:
Document Management Enabling Instead of autonomous DMS clients, document management functions will be integrated into other applications via standard interfaces.
Imaging In a multimedia environment, images and scanned documents are just two more types of data. In addition to today’s dominant black and white formats, new compression technologies will increasingly allow color images.
Electronic Archiving Electronic archiving as an autonomous application is slowly retreating. Electronic archives will operate as subordinate services for other applications.
Workflow Engines Autonomous workflow solutions are losing ground. Workflow is increasingly being integrated into applications as an engine.
The Use of Specialized Engines for Business Applications In commercial applications more specialized engines are coming into use. They allow the integration of document management services on the server side. These include services for distribution, the index database, the communications interface between client and DMS, printing services, and more. This means that the user no longer needs special archiving or workflow products, but can access these services from inside existing applications. Thus, all functions are integrated under a single user interface.
Split Into High- and Low-End Products
There are two roads to survival on the market – vertical specialization concentrating on high-value niches, and the cross-platform low-value strategy overwhelmingly followed by the big vendors like Microsoft, IBM, Lotus or Netscape.
Mass Market Document Management Infrastructures
The big vendors are already including in their systems and products many of the basic elements for managing the documents or knowledge of an organization. These elements include retrieval functions, the joint use of information, push strategies for filtering information in the web, and more.
Operating Systems Simple document management functionalities will be or already are included in operating systems. Object-oriented document management as the basis of modern operating systems will replace the hierarchical File Manager.
Office Suites Office suites will increasingly include simple document management and workflow functionality. For the front office these extensions will in particular comprise word processing with E-forms, fax sending, WWW browser, and imaging viewer for viewing images and compression. For the back office there will be functions like database-supported document management in place of the hierarchical File Manager, cooperative document processing, simple workflow or controlled e-mail, groupware functions, hierarchical storage management (HSM) with digital optical media, fax receiving and Intranet functionality.
Workflow Traditional e-mail will be replaced by controlled e-mail with ad-hoc workflow. This will enable the tracing and control of all incoming and outgoing mail plus the passing on of information and documents. Workflow will in addition become a standard component in Internet, Intranet, and Extranet use.
Integration of TV and Computer The TV and the computer are coming closer and closer together, bringing document management in information distribution into this area as well.
Professional Solutions
The utility of low-end standard products for single users and smaller workgroups is uncontested. However, full-blown professional solutions are a necessity for productive environments of 50 or more users with requirements such as enterprise document management or audit-proof archiving. In addition to the product itself, such systems require a whole battery of services such as system consulting, individual configuring, integration of existing software, implementation support, training, maintenance etc. Users expect vendors and integrators to provide a very high level of legal admissibility, availability, and migration security for such systems.
Integration and Interoperability
The integration requirements created by document management solutions should not be underestimated.
Integrated Document Management
Most of the applications used in enterprises generate documents. Enterprise document management solutions integrate the entire knowledge base and all applications of a company. In addition to generated documents, this includes all transferred, sent, and received documents which must be stored. Likewise, the accelerating addition of document management functions to other products and platforms requires professional solutions to be compatible with these components.
Operating Systems
Windows NT is becoming the main platform for client/server applications. Like OS/2, UNIX as a server operating system for DMS solutions is coming under increasing pressure. Two years ago UNIX derivatives and Windows NT were about equally represented on the market, but today Windows NT solutions have a clear lead. Plans by large-scale users for migration to Windows NT are well under way.
Compatibility With the Big Platforms
Increasingly, DMS solutions are being installed directly with new NT backbones, with integration with Exchange, Outlook and other Microsoft applications playing a very important part.
It will be more and more vital for DMS products to be compatible with products on the big platforms like Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes. Lotus is extending Notes to become a Domino Platform, which will be an important platform-independent basis for integration.
DCOM and CORBA Object Models
The object models COM+/DCOM and CORBA are converging. As this happens it will give rise to a general standard for uniform middleware for document management systems.
NC – Back to Centralized Solutions
Especially now that Lotus Notes is no longer going to support the OS/2 platform, the NC-NetClient/ThinClient variant for distributed organizations with large host systems has lost much of its attractiveness.
New Internet Standards
Existing standards are being overtaken by standards from the Internet environment:
XML - Format Description Language While HTML is still king of the hill on the Internet, XML is the format of the future. Microsoft is planning to use XML as a document format in the Office environment. In the future XML will be followed by a universal document, container, and object standard.
E-Commerce There are ISO-standard EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) procedures for the exchange of structured data between defined business partners. These procedures have different emphases for different industries. Conventional EDI will give way to Electronic Commerce in the future. E-commerce allows open user groups to be included in transactions. The digital signature will become important for identifying the sender and for legal validation in the exchange of business documents between unknown parties.
SWAP The Simple Workflow Access Protocol (SWAP) is developing on the Internet in competition with the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC). However, in view of the dynamic nature of the Internet environment it is impossible to predict which standard will have more staying power.
Knowledge Management
Knowledge management is a new trend in the US which is also gaining a foot-hold in Europe. This is based on the long overdue recognition that it is the con-tent of a DMS system, the stored information, that represents the primary value of the system. New strategies that include users and processes aim to access and increase this enterprise knowledge. Thus, knowledge management will provide the basis for an organization’s ongoing learning process, bringing the knowledge gained into context with existing knowledge via hyperlinks created automatically and by users.
Intelligent Information Retrieval
The knowledge possessed by an organization is made up of explicit, clearly definable knowledge as well as knowledge that is not immediately recognizable, and goes far beyond documents, web pages, and other explicit forms. While explicit knowledge is generally easy to transfer, hidden knowledge is much more difficult to tap, much less transfer, as it is often empirical and subjective. However, often it is just this hidden information that forms the basis for the strategic knowledge of an organization.
The efficient retrieval of company information as knowledge is the most important aspect of this new trend. Earlier, the decision was simple: There were full-text databases for pulling texts and relational databases for pulling structured data. These databases could also be used to refer to documents in document management systems via pointers.
The situation has changed. Data warehouses make it possible to distribute, prepare, and compress information, while new search engines can locate data and documents even in unstructured repositories while self-teaching agents autonomously search for data and documents. These changes deserve the name „knowledge management“ – storage and administration are no longer in the foreground, but rather the intelligent retrieval of information leading to more knowledge.
The Renaissance of Expert and Knowledge-Based Systems
Knowledge management lies somewhere between document management, data and document warehousing, expert systems, search engines, groupware, workflow and other technologies. If databases and data warehouses are about pulling and combining traditional data, knowledge management is about the contentual retrieval of all types of structured and unstructured information, from data records to incoming faxes to multimedia presentations.
Knowledge management transforms, selects, and combines important information for a user in a given context to support the decisions and actions of an enterprise.
The next generation of document or knowledge management solutions will become a central part of the infrastructure that makes the knowledge within an enterprise available and useful.
Integration of Multimedia
The integration of multimedia forms of information like structured data, text, images, graphics, audio, and video with interactive manipulation capability is becoming increasingly important:
Digital Photography For some time now compact and affordable digital cameras have been on the market which outwardly differ little from normal compact cameras. Digital image resolutions will continue to improve. As a rule digital photos are generated as TIFF, BMP, and JPEG files.
Video Recordings With special interface cards and software it is possible to digitize analog color videos. And of course, more and more digital videos are being made directly with digital camcorders. MPEG (Motion Picture Expert Group) is going to become widespread for storing and compressing digital and digitized motion pictures. As PC and ISDN-based videoconferencing becomes more common, this multimedia standard will become an important factor for document management systems. For example, DMS could enable direct access to video sequences during video conferences.
Speech Recordings With the increase in business transactions by phone, especially with call centers, speech recordings are gaining in importance. At the same time information volumes are falling, permitting good clarity with reasonable storage space. Recording is software-supported, and parameters can be applied.
Combinations of Still Pictures, Video, Audio, Text, and Data In the future there will be more and more applications for the linking and conversion of different types of information. Already, speech recordings can be automatically converted into a text format that allows further processing. In addition to storing and administering repositories, new document management functionalities will use the intelligence and interactivity of hypermedia formats to support business processes and increase the total knowledge of an organization.
DVD - Digital Versatile Disk
DVD technology was developed over the last two years by several companies primarily for the entertainment industry, like the Compact Disk before it. The big objective with DVD was to replace the videotape recorder with a format that would allow extremely high quality full-length recordings. For that reason DVD originally stood for Digital Video Disk. But since DVD can also store computer data, DVD today stands for Digital Versatile Disk.
DVD is starting to edge out digital optical media, and CD-R, both rerecordable and conventional WORM, are going to come under pressure.
High Capacity
According to many analysts, only DVD offers the capacity needed for multimedia. Currently, a DVD has 7 times the storage capacity of a CD, and still higher capacities are under development.
DVD Drives as Standard Equipment in PCs
PC manufacturers will soon offer DVD-ROM drives as standard equipment. According to Hitachi, by 2000 some 70 million DVD drives will be in use, of which 30 million will be systems for write-once or re-recordable disks.
DMS – A Leading Growth Market in the IT Industry
For years observers have been predicting rapid growth for the DMS industry. According to a market study commissioned by the IMC, Germany is currently the largest market for DMS solutions in Europe. The VOI (Verband Optische Informationssysteme e.V.) estimates a 1997 market volume of about 1 billion DM for DMS solutions in Europe and projects an annual growth of 20 to 25 percent through to 2001. If you count the periphery (groupware, output and other services) the market volume is many times larger.
According to the International Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), DMS and Internet will be the major IT development markets for the next ten years, and will become backbone systems in all IT solutions. The Gartner Group estimates that DMS solutions will become important for all IT applications as services for superordinated access to data and document repositories. The Delphi Consulting Group assumes in its studies a 30 to 40 percent annual growth rate for the international DMS market. The projected American DMS market in 1998 is $ 2.6 billion.
Cost components in DMS project budgeting are shifting. While product licenses are less and less expensive, total project costs are rising.
More Convenient and Affordable Products
A price downturn for DMS products is leading to further growth. Simple document management tasks can be performed by standard office suites or network operating systems, so the linkage of professional solutions to basic systems like E-mail components or Microsoft Exchange is turning into a major trend. There are also many simple DMS products for single users or the home office.
Document management is becoming affordable for everyone. Low cost archiving products are already offered for as low as $40 for single users and starting at $150 per workplace for networks. However, these simple off-the-shelf products are not wholly suitable for large organizations. There is always risk involved with long-term archiving, and users are ill-advised to trust their documents to cheap little solutions. The security and long-term availability of information have their price!
Europe Catches Up
The DMS market in the US is only about six months ahead of the European DMS market. The US-Europe gap in the acceptance and implementation of new technologies has narrowed considerably. But the real boom in document management in Europe will only begin after the turn of the century, once capacities and budgets are freed up after completion of millenium conversion and the conversion to the Euro.
Right now experts speak of a market penetration substantially below 10 percent for archiving, groupware, workflow, and DMS solutions. In addition to the big firms, medium-sized firms are increasingly seen as potential customers.
The Test Phase is Over, Now Comes Investment!
In past years many installations were just small test systems or at most depart-mental solutions. Now, big enterprise document management systems are coming into use. Today, special hardware and software licenses make up only about 10 to 20 percent of the overall investment costs. What makes projects expensive is the integration with other applications and customizing. In addition, the amount of consultation in projects is increasing. The organizational component of implementation projects is becoming more and more vital.
Document management systems are economical only when the organization is adapted to them. The guiding principle is „Strategy comes before Organization comes before Technology.“ This starts with simple archiving systems and ends with Business Process Redesign for workflow system implementation. The acceptance of a complex, fully integrated system depends on careful project preparation, user qualification and training, and the streamlining of procedures. System integrators are increasingly competing with classical business consultants and specialist DMS consultants.
Document Management After 2000
In the future, DMS will relieve users of many routine tasks, freeing them to concentrate on the actual knowledge-intensive tasks that only humans can accomplish. Future document management solutions will probably continue to combine existing technology with new improvements and paradigms. But since technologies that are new now can be completely superceded within five years, ongoing, comprehensive market monitoring will remain essential for the development and implementation of document management systems. Since it is extremely difficult to predict future developments, the following survey can only try to make projections by extrapolating current trends.
Document Management Coming Under Threat as an Independent Industry
Software development cycles are speeding up all the time and vendors continually try to surpass each other in terms of product functionality. Components and functions that once required their own solutions are more and more included in other products. Since DMS solutions are not applications in and of themselves but only make basic functionalities available to users, they are under increasing pressure. One the one hand more and more functions are integrated into operating systems and network platforms, on the other DMS functions are being sucked up by business applications.
Vendors of autonomous DMS products will survive only if they can find enough integrators and OEM partners, if they design their products to be modular enough to allow integration in other applications, and if they also provide industry-specific solutions.

The expected replacement of the hierarchical file managers, which saddle users with the same disorder, impenetrability, and inability to assign documents more than a single reference as paper files, will put vendors of traditional document management solutions under particular pressure. Like today’s websites, hierarchical, file-oriented systems are not suitable for the orderly, secure, and complete presentation of information. Autonomous document management has until now profited from the failings of file managers, but in the final analysis it will be subsumed into operating systems as the successor of this superceded organization and access system.
New Competition for DMS Vendors
The typical DMS solutions will not have the huge market anticipated for DMS to themselves. Part of the market potential DMS vendors are looking for will be covered by new applications and new types of software.
Knowledge databases, data warehouses, virtual offices, and other technologies already in the starting gate will accomplish typical DMS tasks by other means. They will compete with traditional archiving, document management, and workflow systems. The classic DMS functions will remain only as subordinate services which users never experience as separate programs.
New Ways of Capturing, Indexing, and Retrieving Information
The capture and indexing of facsimile documents is still a major bottleneck and cost factor in DMS solutions. In the future the proportion of digital documents will grow sharply. Thanks to knowledge-based solutions, OCR/ICR technologies will improve so much that recognition accuracy will be sufficient for automatic indexing. In combination with ever cheaper magnetic storage media, this will create new information presentation possibilities. Conventional jukeboxes for digital optical media will in the future be used only to secure large data and document volumes. The proportion of documents available online will steadily increase.
This will give rise to new methods of retrieval and presentation at the workplace, putting an end to the days of document access by filling out a database mask or through a hierarchical structure. New virtual document views, intelligent links, completely new ways of navigating through document stocks, and active, context-sensitive document presentation will replace traditional strategies.
Opening document contents to further processing, regardless of whether the source was originally a digitally generated CI or NCI document, or a scanned or faxed analog document, will permit the document to be used as enterprise knowledge. The film „Disclosure“ with its virtual company archive took many ideas from development labs.
Thus, the end of the microfilm era will be rung in less by the traditional backers of digital optical media than by databases and repositories that store the complete contents of documents. It is impossible to run searches for text and data on microfilm, so this media will have a place only in long-term archiving to satisfy legal requirements for record-keeping and archiving of business documents. And even here, the digital signature and the recognition of electronically generated documents will change the situation after the turn of the century.
The Future of Digital Optical Storage
Microfilm is not the only technology in danger of extinction. Rotating digital optical disks will also disappear from the IT landscape sooner or later. Optical media kicked off electronic archiving and workflow at the start of the 80’s. However, their reason for being is disappearing as magnetic storage options begin to provide sufficient storage capacity. One manufacturer after another of the traditional 12“ and 14“ optical disks is giving up, and the 5¼“ disks are giving way to the re-recordable CD. But even this medium has inherent technical restrictions and capacity limitations which mean that it will have peaked out by the end of this century.
The successor stands ready – DVD. It will flourish for a season, but then digital optical storage as „rotating memories“ will disappear from professional information technology. Even with better control technology and tighter laser bundling, rotating media eventually run up against inherent limitations. Furthermore, online information storage will replace distribution on media.
In the new millenium entirely new storage technologies will be available. However, at this point it is impossible to say which of the many new processes – like solid-state storage based on Multiple Layer RAM, holography, crystal, biochemical or other technologies – will finally put the magnetic hard disk to rest.
Back to the Source: Recentralization
Currently, the majority of document management systems are decentral, distributed solutions in client/server or intranet environments, while traditional host systems are mostly used only as database servers for referencing documents held separately. In the future a major recentralization of document holdings will take place. Gigantic archives will be centrally maintained and accessed globally and multilingually. As soon as sufficiently fast lines can be provided at reasonable prices concepts like complete outsourcing of information capture and presentation, „pay per view,“ and central fallback and security solutions will set the tone for the future.
In particular, corporations that have can provide proprietary line networks, communications facilities, and computing centers will compete with existing DMS solutions installed on site. All communications service providers are very interested in long-term customer retention. Both public content as well as inhouse information holdings will be made available. The beginnings of this are already in place in the form of publishing on demand, information broadcasting, digital mailing, and other services, and these will become part of the general strategy.
New User Communities
At present, the term „document management“ typically calls to mind commercial solutions at corporations. However, even now this technology is reaching home PCs through telecommuting. Document management in all its variants for organizing, retrieving, and interchanging documents is becoming democratized. Document management functions will enhance the standard Internet communications tools with monitoring and presentation of large information volumes. However, it is less probable that the majority of the new users will be aware of these functions as autonomous document management or workflow. Instead, their functionality will be hidden in new types of applications that can organize workflow literally from the refrigerator to the grocery store.
For this reason the document management industry would do well to stake a claim to this new territory with easy to understand „non-technical“ terminology and to further develop their products to meet changed user requirements. The development of this technology will no longer be propelled by the IT or organization departments of large corporations, but rather by the needs of the consumer industry. Playful multimedia user interfaces, functions that can be used simply and intuitively, and speech control will determine the look and feel of future applications.
Will Document Management Survive Only as an Organizational Service?
Regardless of advances in software and hardware, orderly document management will still require the same organizational effort. The preparation and retrieval of information will become ever more important, given the increasing information overload. This will give rise to new job descriptions, but these will not be able to fully compensate for the disappearance of jobs caused by more efficient processes and improved use of information.
The effective and economically viable use of document management, for example in the automation of incoming mail or at universal call center workplaces, wherever information comes together from widely diverse sources, will continue to necessitate extensive organizational and consultative effort. This service industry will continue to grow as long as the software industry keeps failing to create simple products that are truly suited to their intended purposes.
© CopyRight PROJECT CONSULT 2001
Autorenrechte Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer

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