Latin America is going through a stage in which companies are increasingly focusing their efforts into understanding how they can have benefit from trends such as cloud computing, big data analytics and mobility.
The spread of awareness regarding these markets has positively affected some adjacent segments like Enterprise Content Management (ECM), which plays a critical role in helping businesses manage and interact with content within the organization, as well as with stakeholders such as regulatory bodies and customers.
Part of the market still thinks that ECM solutions are the same, old but still well-known, Electronic Document Management (EDM) solutions that started to be noted in the early 1980s. But nowadays ECM provides a core asset management foundation for competitive companies seeking operational, marketing, collaborative, and communications efficiencies.
What is ECM?
Frost & Sullivan defines ECM as a large-scale, multifunctional, cross-platform content management system designed to address the structured and unstructured content management needs of a range of organizational types and sizes. Originally ECM was deployed as a point solution to fulfill specific organizational needs such as document management, file management, records management, case management, compliance or other business process requirements. Yet today ECM functions as a unified software platform, rather than a multitude of isolated applications, promoting data-driven discovery and enabling collaborative workflows.
As an enterprise-wide deployment, an ECM system helps companies eliminate redundant and parallel resource expenditures, create an interactive layer devised to facilitate cross-platform inter-operability and simplified data sharing, and infuse a creative and collaborative environment that today’s sophisticated knowledge workers demand.
ECM Adoption in LATAM
Latin America is experiencing a growth phase on the strength of ongoing digitization and IT infrastructure investment as well as relatively strong GDP growth. What we have seen in the past years was companies implementing ECM solutions in some departments, but without integrating all the information. As a matter of fact, some Latin American businesses even started to develop their own ECM solution for a specific department (HR, Sales, Marketing), shifting to more structured tools that could help manage and integrate the data.
Nevertheless, when businesses in Latin America recently started to analyze how to gain competitive advantage thanks to Big Data analytics, with for instance social media data, they discovered that they needed to integrate all the information within their companies. This circumstance has created an attractive scenario for vendors that offer integrated solutions, and the potential of the market is huge if we consider that according to Frost & Sullivan’s Global Enterprise Content Management market analysis, nowadays less than 1% of all organizations worldwide have a purpose-built, end-to-end ECM solution deployed across all functional areas.
Most companies in the region are still managing a lot of their processes on paper. However, countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia have more mature markets and therefore are likely to experience a major growth in EMC adoption in the future. According to Frost & Sullivan, in Brazil in 2013 investments in ECM solutions surpassed U$ 68 million and the market will reach U$ 165 million by 2018 with a CAGR of 19.2%.
Benefits of ECM
The largest verticals within the market today are government, healthcare, and business and technology services, with emerging verticals like manufacture, financial services and transportation among others poised for rapid growth as market awareness grows and ROI is better understood.
A good example in Latin America is Rexam, a global consumer packaging company and leader in South America, which implemented content management solutions in all its Latin American subsidiaries in order to eliminate large amounts of paper work, manage content for its intranet and also automatize human resources processes, increasing the speed of its process governance. It enables the subsidiaries to access precise information on a single platform.
Companies who implement these solutions will gain access to benefits such as the elimination of redundant and parallel resource expenditures, the creation of an interactive layer devised to facilitate cross-platform inter-operability and the simplification of data sharing, creating a more collaborative environment that today’s sophisticated knowledge workers demand.