The Growing Value and Importance of ECM to SMEs

It will come as no surprise to learn that globally, SMEs are investing more and more financial and human resources in Enterprise Content Management (ECM). Market research by Fotopia shows that close to 15% of SMEs have strategies in place to bring ECM solutions online in the short term. Even more significant were results from larger organizations, where upwards of 20% indicated that they were going to embark on ECM investment programs in the near future.

The research also shows that the main characteristics SMEs look for when selecting a solution are that it is user-friendly, flexible in its application, and extremely practical – along with the most desired criteria: that it offers a good price/performance ratio and low long-term operating costs.

Typically, ECM software can be used by firms for the management and organization of documents – in all their various forms and formats: text documents, image documents, videos, audio, along with reference material in libraries, archives and repositories. ECM software is the foundation of an efficient system to record, file and retrieve documents, handle and manipulate document-based processes, and accurately archive critical documents whilst complying with statutory and auditory requirements.

Fotopia notes that inefficient standard business software is currently used by about a third of SMEs to undertake ECM activities such as electronic filing and invoicing. This rises to almost two thirds in larger organizations. The concept of ECM is therefore not alien to SMEs. Firms are aware of the need for ECM without being aware of, or gaining from, the benefits of a purpose-designed ECM solution.

Fotopia’s market research reveals that close to 90 percent of SME respondents who have some form of ECM solution consider that the software they use enhances efficiency in all document-related processes. And for around 75 percent of SMEs document security and regulatory compliance improvements are noted. Large-scale, broad-based ECM solutions are well established in big companies and corporations – to be expected when one considers the vast amounts of documents handled and stored by firms of any size. But Fotopia concludes that most SMEs have yet to recognize the potential of an integrated company-wide ECM solution and just how such a system can deliver improved efficiency, compliance requirements, and cost savings.

Very often a small company will only associate ECM with departmentalized basic activities, like filing and perhaps internal technical or sales libraries. Foptopia has found that less than half of SMEs consider ECM for process- and collaboration-related matters, and are missing out on the increasingly-important elements of internal and external corporate communication via social media.

Fotopia believes that the adoption of ECM solutions in SMEs will accelerate quickly in the short term. This is mainly due to the fact that small businesses can be more flexible and adaptable than bigger corporations. However, currently, the main stumbling block to mass adoption of ECM solutions by SMEs seems to be a shortage of tech-wise decision makers.

The future of document processing in its widest sense is ECM; it’s inevitable and is the right path. But just how far along that path is your company? And how can your company benefit from an easy-to-use, efficient, ECM solution for the storing and accessing of the myriad of documents that are vital to the day-to-day running of your business – and to ensuring its long-term success? Check back on this page often and find out how Fotopia solutions will make business processes more simple, efficient and cost-effective.