As our tradeshow schedule slows down a bit for summer and we begin to prepare for the rush of industry events this fall, we’ve been busy reflecting on what we have learned so far in 2017. In the last year alone, I’ve seen our company’s presence, brand and message evolve significantly. Our employee base has grown almost 40 percent, we’ve continued to enhance long-term existing customer relationships with the introduction of our next generation Etrieve platform and we’ve seen increased opportunities in building out relationships with new customers looking to replace outdated technology. At the end of the day, we’ve learned a lot about who we are as a company, who we are becoming and who we want to be. Much of this learning process has been fueled by existing and prospective customer conversations at these events.
After spending many years in the enterprise content management (ECM) space, it’s been interesting to see the drivers of what today’s market holds. Traditional paperless solutions were meant to increase efficiencies for the back office. Paper-intensive processes, lost records and countless rooms of files bombarded institutions. From cross-departmental processes to campuses spread across counties and states, collaboration was, and still is, limited in a paper-based world. The goal of these ECM implementations was to rid the institutions of paper and improve business operations from HR to finance and student services.
As I’ve chatted with registrars, administrators and others over the last couple months at various tradeshows, I’ve seen a transition in their technology initiatives. At the root, they are still looking to improve these back-office operations, but they’ve added a new player to the game…the student. As student demands become targeted around instantaneous access to information, institutions are forced to match these needs. Not only do processing times require reduction, student requests need to be handled electronically at any time from any device.
What does this mean for today’s institutions and their tech buying processes? All in all, they are simply having to factor in another voice and another value. The end users of the systems they leverage are no longer limited to their employees. The solutions must be responsive, able to easily integrate with existing technologies and scalable to meet student growth and peak times for requests.
Keep in mind, we are not suggesting that the traditional drivers are not still the priority today, but instead that a new opportunity exists for colleges and universities to expand their implementations to provide further value and recognize increased ROI. For some, this may mean a refresh of legacy applications or simply additional roll-out of current solutions to additional users and departments. Either way, this evolution is a great opportunity for universities of various types and sizes to recognize an added benefit to their ECM deployments they may not have thought about previously.