Updated on 28/10/2022

We are living in the midst of an unprecedented revolution that has affected the lives of individuals, society itself, and economy itself: digital transformation. It is in this large context that the themes of digitalization and documents dematerialization must be inserted, both in the private sector and the more delicate sphere of the Public Administration.

In this post, we will take a look at the new trends on the horizon around the vast and complex theme of dematerialization.

Before we get started, we’d like to refer you to some previous posts on this blog that can provide some background information on this topic. In an article we focuses on the importance of documents dematerialization and how it differs from simple digitization (where the biggest difference is on the legal and evidentiary level). We cover, also, the topic of dematerialized document archiving within the Public Administration, with a focus on the relevant legislation. In an another article, we looked at the advantages of a digital document over its paper counterpart, focusing on the “direct” (at the level of cost-benefit) and “indirect” and medium- to long-term (from sharing, transparency, Customer Communication tailored) advantages. Next, we looked at the current transition period, where analog and digital document management coexist. This post focuses specifically on electronic signage.

Now, we’ll turn to the future, which, in many cases, it is already a reality. We will look at the 8 most important trends related to dematerialized document management.

1. Cloud, cloud, and more cloud

Cloud Computing has been one of the most important IT revolutions in recent years. While it initially got off to a slow start, it’s clear that this is a solid and lasting revolution that has set in motion processes that are now indispensable. Cloud computing has had a fundamental impact on all types of software solutions and – of course – also on the world of document management.

The opportunities and advantages that only a cloud ecosystem can offer are many: immediate sharing of digital documents or parts of them, on any type of device. Scalability, therefore adaptability for small and large businesses (or, even more importantly, for businesses that start small and grow, perhaps rapidly; more on this point later).

Then there are the most obvious advantages in terms of saving space, time, and money.

2. Being mobile-friendly is increasingly essential

Mobile is increasingly the device of choice; this is nothing new. For this reason, dematerialized documents must be designed from an omnichannel point of view and with an approach that is as user-friendly as possible.
To many, this may seem to be a matter of course, but in many cases – especially in document archiving – this is not yet the case, unfortunately.

3. Collaboration is key (with the tools that encourage it)

Document management is no longer an individual or fragmented task. In a dematerialized ecosystem, collaboration works better, as those in the field already know. Of course, this collaborative approach must be well managed upstream.

Exchanging attachments via email is no longer enough. There are several tools on the market that enable creation or implementation of a collaborative workspace: the vast majority of these operate in the cloud (and here we return to point 1). A great added value is the possibility to customize these tools and platforms.

4. Integration with social networks is possible (and desirable)

Social networks have nearly become the very engine of the internet today; in many cases, social has replaced email and phone calls as a method of communication, even in the workplace.

More generally, social networks (and their underlying technologies) are increasingly moving from the private to the professional sphere.
And all this can ultimately also be used in the area of document management.

For example, the social network approach has also revolutionized corporate intranets, transforming them into virtual communities within which colleagues and collaborators can interact in real-time, sharing files and digital documents, all while working together. (It is important to emphasize the importance of how these platforms are designed. Having well-defined roles, levels, and structures is key to making them easy to use and manage).

5. The importance of scalability

In a dematerialized ecosystem and in an increasingly fluid market, the issue of scalability in document management systems is more central than ever before. Consider the case of the start-up that begins small and takes off over a relatively short period of time, with the corresponding need to significantly increase their operations.

Specialized companies like Doxee are attentive to such requirements. In a single day, Doxee manages 7.5 million electronic invoices; on a monthly basis, it is 30 million. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, a total of 82 million invoices were handled, with over 24,000 media received and approximately 75,000 media sent by Doxee systems.

Finally, a figure that shows how scalable these systems are: according to a projected calculation, Doxee is able to handle about 20% of the Italian electronic invoicing traffic to the Interchange System (SDI).

6. Transparency and dialog with the customer

In points 3 and 4 of this list, we mentioned the importance of collaboration and sharing when it comes to document management within the business ecosystem (with the creation of tailor-made workspaces). But the trend goes even further, involving the end customer in this open and collaborative approach, with a view to maximum transparency.

Especially in the B2B field, shared platforms can be built between project managers and customers, fostering trust, and a spirit of collaboration, engagement, and loyalty. Loyalty, in particular, is an especially important factor in our hyper-competitive market.

7. Maximum attention to security

There is no digital innovation without a simultaneously high level of attention to security, and this is all the more important when it comes to managing documents of legal value.

In this sense, the highest degree of security is provided only by highly specialized companies that legally hold the role of “Head of Conservation Service.” For example, Doxee serves in this role for the document management of a major internet and telephony operator, Fastweb (with over 2.5 million customers).

8. Documents dematerialization improves the Employee Experience

The Employee Experience measures the quality of your employees’ working life. It is an area to which all companies are paying the utmost attention: it is in fact the decisive point on which company retention is played out, that is, the ability of a company to attract the best talent and to be able to keep them—with mutual satisfaction—in the workforce.

Documents dematerialization can also be fundamental in this area, according to two directives.

The first is raising the technological level, in general, which improves workflows (and therefore the daily lives of employees): think of the personalized platforms mentioned in points 3 and 4.

The second is even more refined: thanks to digitization and documents dematerialization, companies can have a huge amount of data on their workforce at their disposal. This can be used to divide it into specific targets and go as far as personalization for communication purposes. All of this has positive repercussions on the company-employee dialog, and therefore on loyalty and productivity.