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The worlds of content and business processes are converging – yet organizations are not moving fast enough, says Forrester Consulting in a study published today. In the Alfresco-commissioned study, based on a survey of 158 IT professionals at the director level or above in the US and the UK, Forrester sought to uncover the pains of enterprise end users in organizations at various states of “digital readiness.”  And it uncovered some harsh realities.

What’s striking is that over 80% of respondents said integration of data and content is very or extremely important, but only 14% said their content is all-digital today. That tells me we are in a time of significant change and transformation.  But the Forrester study conclusion is even more striking:  enterprises that complete that transformation will become “digital predators”; those that don’t will become “digital prey.”  I know which side of that battle I want to be on.

Why this chasm between needs and realities? And why are content, and the business processes that rely on that content, “separate but equal” silos in many enterprises?  While ECM and BPM evolved in the market as separate entities, today they can, and must, be fully integrated.  That allows companies to achieve the Holy Grail of workflows:  using contextual data to drive business processes that automatically move content to the right person, at the right time, and within the right business application.  You don’t need the “bolt-on digital initiatives and legacy technologies” that Forrester notes still exist and create barriers to getting work completed effectively.

When reading the study, note how quickly things are expected to change in just two short years. This study should serve as a wakeup call for organizations to get their digital transformation projects in high gear now, before they risk becoming ‘digital prey.’  Historically, businesses have approached content management and business process management as separate domains.  But the Forrester study is blunt about the matter, saying that separate domains are not sustainable. Digital business automatically blurs the lines between process and content.

Forrester adds that “IT leaders … must recognize the pivotal role that employees play in delivering superior customer experiences, and, in turn, the role that employee-focused technologies play in creating more productive, agile enterprises.” In short, when employees have the digital tools and content they require, they can maintain a laser focus on the needs of their customers.

For more information, download a copy of the Forrester study here. Or, for a summary of the study, read Alfresco’s press release here.

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