You have likely heard of various predictions and trends for 2023, possibly around crypto, AI, or an uncertain economic climate. But what about document management, specifically? What should we expect to see in 2023?
We all expect digitization to continue to increase, especially as more and more industries and even governments are moving toward electronic documents as the default and paper documents as an exception. In addition to the benefits of increased efficiency and decreased costs, this growth was accelerated by the increase in work-from-home and remote work, with many consumer-facing businesses eliminating previous requirements for paper forms and physical pen and paper signatures.
As we will see in another trend below, the growth of intelligent document processing and artificial intelligence in document management has led to even more value in documents being processed electronically.
While previous paperless solutions often involved on-premises file servers and equipment, the growth in cloud computing, as well as the increase in acceptance of cloud storage being considered secure and reliable for industries like banking, insurance, and health care, which often had concerns previously about compliance needs and even the legality of moving documents into a cloud provider’s systems.
As with paperless in general, the growth of work-from-home and remote work has reduced the value of a centralized on-prem storage, since documents and systems may be consumed from locations all over the world. In addition, as cloud services have become more competitive in cost and increased in reliability and ease-of-use, the traditional on-premise model continues to become less desirable for most organizations.
The use of AI in document management systems is increasing, with intelligent document processing being used to automate tasks such as document categorization and tagging, which improves accuracy and reduces manual workloads, allowing for more efficient workflows and better document discovery.
Using optical character recognition (OCR) and natural language processing (NLP), it’s possible for AI to examine document content based on models built from the analysis of previous documents and to provide a confidence score; that score can determine when documents may need to be flagged for manual review. This trend has the potential to bring cost and process efficiencies comparable to the benefits first seen from going paperless.
This trend is a little less certain, with recent high-profile trust concerns around crypto platforms and criticisms of the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining, but as equity investors and consumers consider moving away from cryptocurrencies themselves, the idea of using Web3 technology for other purposes could gain more focus.
In the document management space, the use of distributed blockchain systems for secure, transparent, and tamper-proof record keeping could be used for storing sensitive documents such as medical records or high-value intellectual property in a way that allows the provenance of the documents to be tracked and audited. This can help to ensure compliance with regulations and to prevent fraud.
One industry that could be a leader in this area is pharmaceuticals, where the development of new medical technology requires very strict document control.
In addition to compliance, there is a growing need to protect the documents from breaches, theft, and ransomware attacks, particularly for documents that contain sensitive information.
Security measures such as encryption (both in-transit and at-rest), two-factor authentication, and online anti-malware scanning will figure more prominently in document management.
So our general prediction: 2023 will be a year of continued improvement in trends, some of which, AI and blockchain, are still pretty new in the document management space. This makes sense if you look at document management and enterprise content management as a core component of many organizations; improvements will be gradual and more proven than you might see in less mission-critical applications. And in our opinion, that cautious but steady progress is a good thing.
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