June 1, 2012 – The cloud, collaboration tools and mobile devices all hold respective possibilities to change the way business is done. But the reality of those changes are perhaps nowhere more striking than with content management, where Aragon Research has forecast “an end” to many paper documents within the next four years.

In a new series of reports, Aragon Research looked at ways enterprises should plan for disruption of their document creation and sharing practices. And, given the direction of new content management capabilities and IT planning, that disruption will unfold sooner rather than later. For example, by 2014, Aragon research indicates most sales organizations will use signatures features via their mobile device, and video content management for training and HR will be “one of the fastest growing categories in the cloud.” By 2015, enterprises conducting business on tablets will expect full content management support in the cloud, and vendors will offer a new range of interactive content authoring tools.

Aragon CEO and Founder Jim Lundy, who authored the report “The Changing Role of the Document: The Paper Era is Coming to an End,” says innovation, compliance and, most of all, cost are leading the enterprise shift away from physical documents.

"The value proposition for paper documents is beginning to diminish. In particular, users are beginning to see the unnecessary cost and risk of moving back and forth between a digital document and multiple paper instances – not all of which may be identical, accurate or current, and none of which retain the real-time interactivity of the digital version,” says Lundy.

At the same time, Aragon foresees the rise of a new category of content management – cloud content management – that will increasingly handle the bulk of document storage, sharing and collaboration. While enterprises have sometimes three or four in-house enterprise content management systems in place, the ease of use and access of cloud content management holds the promise of breaking through siloed systems and modernizing user capabilities, Aragon stated. In its report, “Cloud Content Management in the Tablet Era,” Aragon outlined four levels of cloud content management which enterprises should strategize and invest in over the next few years:

Level 1: File and content sharing – the fundamental email and document systems saved in cloud deployments

Level 2: File sharing with mobile and desktop sync – the connection to documents from remote systems

Level 3: Collaborative content services – the library of services provided by traditional, physical document management systems

Level 4: Cloud-based ECM – while a few years out for most, the basis of sharing and connection from the other levels of CCM set the platform for full, deployed ECM systems

Aragon urged internal evaluation of enterprise goals and existing tools, as well as any compliance and security concerns with documents in the cloud, “before going beyond the first deployment.”

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