Preserving financial independence and expertise in the IT industry: a genuine advantage

(Translated from the original French article that appeared on Journal du Net on November 23, 2015.)

In the ultra-competitive market of new technologies, capitalistic movements strongly influence enterprises’ development strategies and often lead to mergers and acquisitions, whether profitable or not.

Against this backdrop, it’s clear that the document management sector (BPM, EDM, ECM) is experiencing profound changes that translate into merger and acquisition operations. Even though some of these seem to bear fruit, a good number of them have as their goal to kill competitors and snatch up their client. The notion of the business plan is totally absent from these operations.

So what becomes of the client in this context?

This is the main question. Indeed, let’s not forget that document management technologies often occupy a key position in enterprise information systems. Vendors’ “structural” changes can thus significantly impact enterprises, especially if the intent of the purchase is to not maintain the technology acquired. The client therefore sees their investment impacted and, in certain cases, must abandon their project and their solution. In fact, the solution deployed can quickly become unstable and unable to respond to operational expectations for lack of development or support.

Of course, many buyers will use marketing arguments and speak of global offers unified with very high added value. Even so, the reality is that such plans are rarely successful and the clients finds themselves “forced” to subscribe to new offers in hopes of capitalizing on their solution. We then no longer find ourselves in an industrial process but rather in a commercial one initiated by vendors.

The responsibility for long-term project planning

Against this backdrop, IT Departments must carefully measure their degree of dependence on the application being used before deploying a document management tool. This first step should be performed by a thorough analysis of the chosen vendor’s development strategy. In this sense, favouring an independent vendor (one without investors, for example) with its management oriented towards due diligence will allow more certainty when it comes to the longevity of the platform chosen.

Thus, deploying a document management application is not a project to be taken lightly. To capitalize on their investments over the long term, IT Departments must obviously first evaluate their technological criteria, but must equally better understand their suppliers in order to ensure the latter’s capacity to support them over the long term. A pure player strategy together with financial independence are therefore important arguments in positioning as a genuine partner of IT Departments.