Let’s take a look at seven facts about ECM and the cloud:
- Gartner has estimated that about 5 percent of all current ECM implementations are in the cloud:
This seems like a very low number, but it includes legacy installations, and ECM has also been slower than a lot of IT areas to move to the cloud. A lot of this had to do with cloud security concerns, which are now becoming less prominent. In fact, according to a recent report from enterprise security specialist Vormetric, 85 percent of senior IT security executives worldwide say they are now keeping sensitive data in the cloud. This is up from just 54 percent a year previously. In addition, leading cloud ECM vendors report that somewhere between 20 percent and 50 percent of new business is now coming from cloud sales.
- Cloud offers quicker time to deployment:
One of the biggest headaches of ECM historically has been the ramp-up time. Projects have been known to take months and even years to fully implement, and some even become obsolete before going live. With cloud ECM, there should be little software to install and maintain on site, and VARs should be able to provide remote configuration and support. This greatly simplifies implementation. The cloud also lends itself more easily to a try-before-you-buy scenario, as well as the start-small-and-expand approach that many users like to take with ECM.
- Cloud ECM should be just as secure as on-premises:
It’s probably worth noting that the great majority of data breaches that people hear about are related to traditional IT implementations and not the cloud. The fact is that vendors who host ECM and other applications in a cloud are able to focus more resources on security due to economies of scale. This should actually create a more secure environment than most businesses, especially in the SMB market, can create on their own.
- There are public, private, and hybrid cloud options:
If your customers are uncomfortable sharing their servers with other organizations, most ECM vendors offer a private option, which will likely cost more, because it reduces the economies of scale that a vendor can take advantage of. But it still offers to remove the application-hosting burden from your customer while providing them with the security level they desire. Hybrid deployments can be used in order to keep more sensitive information on premises or facilitate integration with legacy on-premises applications.
- Application integration options are improving:
The emergence of more cloud applications in general, and RESTful APIs for making Web-services calls between them, is making the ability to integrate cloud ECM with line-of-business systems, like accounting, HR, and ERP applications, more readily available every day.
- Cloud capture is emerging:
Because they can be so processor-intensive, many traditional, high-volume, centralized document capture applications will likely never move to the cloud. But as users move to more distributed capture, including capture from mobile devices, cloud-based capture, including the ability to drive scanners and MFPs from the cloud, is starting to emerge as a viable option.
- Sales model adjustment:
Most cloud pricing models are subscription-based. This means that instead of receiving payment up front for software, a VAR will realize revenue over a period of several years. In the long run, the cloud can drive increased revenue streams, but short-term adjustments, including changes to sales compensation models, must be made in order to be successful.
ECM fits nicely in the cloud, but did you know that the hardware vendors that you are currently selling also have solutions in the cloud? Fujitsu, a leader in scanning solutions, offers two products that integrate with the cloud: PaperStream Capture Pro and fi-7160 Deluxe Bundle. Designed in order to easily connect to cloud applications, PaperStream Capture Pro is a high-quality, scalable, and efficient document capture application that will allow your customers to optimize capturing data, minimize the costs of document management, and streamline business processes. PaperStream Capture Pro easily connects to Box, Google Docs, and private cloud storage solutions, enabling employees to access the data they need, from anywhere, at any time. Fujitsu modernizes scanning and document processing with an innovative yet simplified capture application that is easy to implement, easy to learn, and easy to use. This software is also available in Fujitsu’s fi-7160 Deluxe Bundle.
Cloud ECM has certainly had a lot of hype in recent years, without a lot of traction. But as security concerns have been alleviated, performance has improved, cloud ECM offerings have entered their second or third generations, and SMB users have come to realize the myriad of benefits that a cloud ECM deployment can offer, we have reached a bit of a tipping point in the market. If you are not offering cloud-based ECM yet, don’t wait any longer in order to jump on board. If you have it in your bag, but have not been investing a whole lot in selling it, you might want to change that. And if you are already selling cloud ECM aggressively, congratulations—you are ahead of the game. To find out more about the cloud solution for document management, call your Ingram Micro sales reps at 1 (800) 456-8000 ext. 76236 today!