With IT budgets being cut, document management has dropped to a place where it shouldn’t be on a CIO’s priority list, according to research firm Aite Group— dead last. In a recent report, “Vendor Options for Advisors to Break the Paper Habit,” Aite Group found that document management ranks last on the technology priority list for financial services firms in 2009. Aite surveyed 28 senior technology executives at a cross section of capital markets firms for spending priorities, and 201 financial advisors regarding advisor productivity. Ten leading vendor platforms, including Docupace, IBM, Laserfiche, NetDocuments, were also evaluated for their ability to service financial advisors in their document management, e-mail retention and workflow needs. Though document management ranks low on firms' IT “to-do” lists, going paperless would help save money and meet proposed regulation, according to Adam Honoré, research director with Aite Group and author of the report. "Aite Group believes business groups would benefit by making a case for its importance," explained Honoré. "Benefits will be felt throughout the organization, from cost savings to improved efficiencies. From a compliance standpoint alone, going paperless would be worth the effort, giving compliance officers more control and audit capability over processes." Business drivers of document management - including cost savings, increased efficiencies and improved compliance capabilities - as warranting renewed consideration from advisor firms. According to the report, only one advisor in 10 has an integrated document management solution today. While the process can appear overwhelming, noted Honoré, myriad vendor solutions are available to help with document management. Firms that do outsource integrated document management solutions are generally quite pleased with their solution, regardless of vendor. “Some of the key findings were that from a labor perspective, these things pay for themselves. It’s an easy ROI [return on investment],” he said. “I found that to be supported not just in the numbers articulated in the report, but if you look at the vendor ratings… everybody who implements this is really pleased with what they get.” This article can also be found at SecuritiesIndustry.com.

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