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Top Digital Transformation Trends for 2022

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The events of the past year and a half have affirmed the critical role that digital transformation plays in any organization’s ability to carry out its mission. And as we look to 2022, forward-thinking organizations are increasingly focusing their digital transformation efforts on enabling their people — and the people they serve — to thrive in the more distributed, more digitalized world we’re living in.

Last year, we had to evolve to survive. We redesigned key processes and learned how to interact in a much more virtual environment. But the evolution is not stopping there.

In 2022, it’s on us to take what we’ve accomplished and expand on it, so our teams can continue to work more efficiently and collaborate more effectively in the face of unpredictable and rapid change. We’ve seen how quickly we can adapt and what amazing things we can achieve when we are well-aligned and highly motivated.

Here are the most promising, accessible and impactful technology solutions for organizations to focus on implementing in 2022.

Digital transformation opportunities for 2022

Cloud-enabled content servicesCloud-enabled content services will help manage your widely dispersed workforce.

Why it should be on your radar: The remote, widely dispersed workforce that exploded in popularity and necessity since the pandemic began, and which Gartner projects to be nearly one-third of the global workforce at the end of 2021, isn’t going anywhere — especially back to an office-only work life.

Many legacy systems weren’t designed to handle remote work at scale and immediacy. Your distributed workforce needs to stay connected, and with cloud-enabled content services, it is. Your content services platform (CSP) should be filling the gaps and integrating the content and process management between your other systems, whether it’s financial data, customer data, employee data or some other core business system. We all know that, for reasons of security, accessibility, performance, interoperability and ease of ownership, the future of most enterprise applications is in the cloud.

For the modern workforce, cloud-enabled content services delivered via software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) models will allow for accelerated deployments and elastic provisioning. You’ll be able to leverage open standards and take advantage of native integration to cloud services such as AWS. And, as you build your digital transformation roadmap around cloud-enabled content services, you can empower your teams to solve business problems that non-cloud users just won’t be able to address.

The takeaway: Reasons to move to the cloud have shifted from cost savings and scalability to services for business continuity across the ecosystem. Content services solutions will continue down the path of being more and more cloud-centric, and SaaS- and PaaS-based content services will accelerate other mission-critical trends.

Federated repositoriesFederated repositories help you gain valuable insights from the data within them by providing users with content in context across applications and devices.

Why it should be on your radar: Expecting teams to operate in siloed systems is no way to run a business, and leaders know it. By federating repositories, you eliminate information silos and increase productivity across the enterprise.

“By 2022, 30 percent of enterprises will consolidate their traditional enterprise content management provider in favor of a content services platform that works across content silos,” according to Gartner® in its report, Content services strategy: An enterprise view of content-centric markets and applications. The shift embraces federated repositories, which help organizations access data previously locked in siloed systems.

Today, many of our organizations manage multiple content repositories — file systems, legacy content management applications and line-of-business applications. Your CSP needs to be equipped with deep integrations for your most important systems so that your content flows seamlessly among these applications to addresses your users’ needs.

The takeaway: By federating repositories, we gain valuable insights from the data within them. And, by integrating our content services platforms with our other core systems, we can provide users with content in context across applications and devices.

InteroperabilityInteroperability helps you meet your users where they are and adopt processes that are user-friendly, accessible and distributed.

Why it should be on your radar: It probably has been for a while, but with the rapid digitalization of the past couple of years, technology users expect solutions to be interoperable with all of the business systems they rely on, so they can experience and offer greater efficiency and convenience than ever before.

To be ready for the future of work, content services platforms need to easily integrate with other cloud services and business systems. This interoperability means your CSP will be more accessible, making it easier to reach a broad array of users through a friendlier, user-centric approach to extending content outside the four walls of the organization. To achieve the security needed to enable such interoperability and accessibility, content solutions will rely on:

  • Distributed, blockchain-anchored, trusted networks
  • Certified documents
  • Digital credentials

Self-sovereign identity, the concept of giving individuals control of their digital identities, will also be a key feature of your content services platform of the future. In this future-state, we’ll all own our content/data, and we’ll be able share that data with others in a secure and revocable fashion. Self-sovereign identity will also go a long way toward preventing fraud and identity theft.

The takeaway: We must meet our users and their data where it’s at, and adopt processes that are user-friendly, accessible and distributed — all within the rights of the data owners.

Intelligent automationIntelligent automation isn't just smart, it's inevitable, given the sheer volume of content our organizations manage.

Why it should be on your radar: “As organizations grow — expanding into new markets, acquiring new customers, adding suppliers, offering new products — data and information are being created and collected at astounding rates, most often outpacing humans’ ability to manage it and keep pace. On average, information volume coming into organizations is expected to grow by 4.5X over the next two years, with nearly 60% of that information to be unstructured (like a contract or a conversation) or semi-structured (like an invoice or a form).”

– AIIM’s State of the Intelligent Information Management Industry 2021

Intelligent automation (IA) can be more than automating repetitive tasks; it can drive considerable value, from productivity intelligence and reduced human errors to optimized business continuity and enterprise scalability. Intelligent automation solutions build efficiency and resiliency into business processes and help you get the most from your content, information and people.

For enterprises in 2022, intelligent automation can look like:

  • Cloud-based capture solutions that speed and enhance the accuracy of classification and data extraction
  • Robotic process automation, which transfers repetitive tasks from people to software bots, so organizations can leverage human intelligence and time more strategically

The takeaway: Given the sheer volume of content our organizations manage on a daily basis, capitalizing on intelligent automation opportunities isn’t just smart, it’s inevitable.

Artificial intelligenceArtificial intelligence and analytics will enable us to leverage the full potential of the vast amounts of data stored in our content solutions in both structured and unstructured formats.

Why it should be on your radar: Aggregating data is the first step in controlling content chaos, but putting that data to work is just as critical. Why gather the data if you can’t harvest insights from it?

Most organizations are gathering data, whether it’s structured or unstructured. As we process more and more content, artificial intelligence will play a vital role in enabling us to gain valuable insights from it.

Artificial intelligence can use machine learning and analytics to boost productivity and help inform your business strategies. So, we move from data to information to knowledge to insights, and finally wisdom. To identify trends and achieve true insights, solutions will have to learn from large sets of data — possibly aggregated with other large sets of data from disparate sources. Technology including data warehousing, data aggregation, data curation, data visualization and machine learning algorithms will all play an important role in unlocking the potential of AI.

In 2022 and beyond, AI will empower us with the ability to intelligently capture and extract more valuable data, not just in the form of metadata, but with other properties that don’t come from traditional indexing. For video files, imagine creating structured data that identifies the people in the video, what they are saying and even their tone.

The takeaway: Looking to the future, AI and analytics will enable us to leverage the full potential of the vast amounts of data stored in our content solutions in both structured and unstructured formats.

Digital asset management (DAM)Digital asset management is a game-changer for organizations that manage large volumes of rich media files connected to products throughout the supply chain.

Why it should be on your radar: Organizations aren’t just managing an increasing volume of content; we’re also managing increasingly complex content, and we need the tools to do so effectively. A recent Forrester report shows where technology is headed: 64 percent of global software technology decision-makers are adopting DAM.

Organizations use digital asset management to guide the creation, production, distribution and retention of rich media content such as audio, video and images. A DAM solution can connect those assets with related data and content across your organization, a feat that delivers exceptional experiences to users.

While frequently used by creative teams, DAM has broad applications across the enterprise. Rich media are used everywhere in your organization. They’re part of different processes, from insurance claims to product development, and the images drive a wide range of mission-critical processes. Historically, those images have existed in silos that inhibit collaboration and hurt your teams’ productivity and alignment. A DAM solution connects the images with your organization’s content to create increased efficiencies, as well as improved employee and customer experiences.

The takeaway: Digital asset management is a game-changer for organizations that manage large volumes of rich media files connected to products throughout the supply chain.

Low-code app developmentLow-code platforms allow you to conceive, build and deliver the new business applications your users need next month instead of next year.

Why it should be on your radar: Speed of business is imperative to success. Low-code app development delivers net-new applications in half the time it takes for non-low-code users to build the same product.

As we continue our digital evolutions, we also need the agility to adapt to the changing needs of our businesses, employees and customers. By taking advantage of low-code application development capabilities within your content services platform, your teams can go further, faster — relying on visual design elements like point-and-click and drag-and-drop configurability to quickly build targeted business applications.

With low-code rapid application development capabilities, your team members — both inside and outside of IT — can focus on growing your business processes responsively, creatively and intelligently. By providing users with increased autonomy, you not only attract and retain top talent, but you also can pivot and evolve based on the competitive landscape, emerging technological innovations and customer feedback.

The takeaway: Low-code platforms allow you to conceive, build and deliver the new business applications your users need next month instead of next year.

Managed servicesManaged services helps you go beyond the latest technology and make success more about your people.

Why it should be on your radar: People trump technology. Without support from the right people at the right time, many promising solutions falter, fizzle and ultimately fail.

Managed services: The only non-technology solution on our digital transformation trends list.

And yet, it’s perhaps the most important. The unique combination of record-breaking digital adoption and a shallow pool of highly skilled, new-technology-minded professionals makes managed services a game-changer for organizations, regardless of size.

If your organization doesn’t have the headcount, resources or perhaps the desire to fully realize the management of necessary new technologies, managed services can bridge that gap. These skilled teams provide the technology intelligence, strength of leadership and implementation expertise to guide your internal team toward the powerful, long-term impacts of well-vetted new tech.

The takeaway: Accelerating your digital evolution is not just about adopting the latest technology; it’s also about people. You need experts to support and advance your cloud solutions while you empower your team to focus on what they do best.

As you continue your digital transformation journey, wherever that path leads, I encourage you to find ways to work smarter, not harder. We have the tools to support more efficient ways of working and more effective collaboration.

In 2022 and beyond, we can use these tools to accelerate our digital evolutions by harnessing our content and empowering our teams.

This article originally appeared on Inpute are proud to be a partner of Hyland.

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