Electronic Document Management (EDM) has grown dramatically over the past few years, becoming one of the fastest-growing software applications in the UK and Europe. With this upsurge expected to continue, more VARs will reap the rewards of growing end-user demand.
One of the main reasons for the rapid growth of EDM technology is that the cost of the hardware has fallen substantially. This means that EDM solutions are within reach for every size of organisation.
In addition, more businesses recognise that it is perfectly acceptable to electronically deliver and store digital images of business documents. The escalating government focus on electronic document delivery and storage is also encouraging the increased use of EDM solutions among public- as well as private-sector organisations.
Apart from the obvious benefits of saving time, money and space, organisations are implementing EDM for reasons of compliance and business continuity. According to its latest research, the Enterprise Content Management Industry Association found that more UK businesses were naming compliance as a key driver for purchasing electronic content and document management solutions. With the growing threat of a UK Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), this demand can only continue.
The main reason why SOX is fuelling demand for document management technology lies in the fact that with EDM, reliance on paper-based documents is replaced by digital images that cannot be altered, shredded or ‘lost’. This means that key corporate information is permanently preserved. Also, as access to mission-critical documents is based on authorisation, this makes document management a vital tool for compliance.
For VARs and software authors that respond to the growing need for EDM technology, the opportunities are vast. EDM technology can inject tremendous value into existing software systems, making them more function-rich and easier to sell.
EDM also improves a VAR’s bottom line while providing a ‘door opener’ for new business. And, as document management bolt-ons have such a fast return on investment, resellers cannot afford to ignore the popularity of this software. If they do, they are missing out on the greatest opportunity of the decade.
Tony Bray is director at Version One.
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