The Future of Documents is Metadata. Here’s How a Data-Driven Approach Can Transform Your Business.

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 27, 2021 3:13:04 PM / by Chris Hussey

Over the past decade, document management hasn’t changed all that much.

Of course, there are clearly more tools and technology available now than ever before. Unfortunately, this means very little because our very way of thinking about data and documents is outdated and ineffective.

We need to stop thinking of documents as information and instead start thinking about the data they contain as what's useful.

What’s the Future of Document Management?

In December 2020, Forrester released a report titled, “The Future of Documents: A Look Beyond The Paradigm Of Paper And Into Opportunities For Innovation.” In it, Cheryl McKinnon notes that documents are ready for their own digital disruption. 

Here are just a few of the powerful conclusions she comes to in that report: 

  • The mental model of paper lingers over mainstream document-creation practices and stifles innovation. A data-driven point of view must replace the vocabulary of files, pages, and folders.
  • Documents that are cloud-native, componentized, interactive, or highly structured may not fit storage and governance models in traditional enterprise content management (ECM) or records management systems.
  • Employees love their existing word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools.

These insights tell us a lot about what lies ahead for documents and enterprise data management in general. Unfortunately, many of the solutions available today only solve part of the problem, as they are simply a means to catch up with the current pace of innovation and change.

To get ahead of the competition, we have to completely reimagine how we think about documents.

Are You Thinking About the Entire Information Ecosystem?

We've been raised on the idea of applications. They are something we can point to, something we can wrap our head around.

But what really matters is the data they hold onto. After all, data is the water we're all swimming in. It's being created non-stop from smart remote sensors, to purchase invoices, social media mentions, project deliverables, transmittals, reports, meeting minutes, emails and on and on.

It's malleable, distributed across the enterprise, endlessly iterated on, fragmented, shared, copied and ever-evolving.

To better manage our documents, we have to understand and manage the data they contain. 

When we do that, we don't have to worry about where our information lives. Instead of obsessing over consolidating our information into multi-million dollar boxes, we need to accept that information will always be widely distributed. It ensures that knowledge is accrued through a connected ecosystem and not a singular monolith.

Digital Transformation Can Be Done Faster Than You Think

Embracing this new way of thinking will completely change the way you manage your documents, and we mean that in the best way. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, but there are things you can do to speed up the process. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to understand all your data and automate processes is a great start.

Learn more about how Artificial Intelligence has changed document management forever in this free eBook we created.

Download the FREE eBook here

Topics: Enterprise, AI, Automation, Metadata, Information Governance

Chris Hussey

Written by Chris Hussey

Chris is a Content Marketing Specialist at Shinydocs. As a former journalist-turned marketer, Chris is passionate about telling a good story and providing value for organizations all over the world.

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