It may sound like a bizarre question, but it certainly is appropriate. As we move into an ever-digitized future, it isn’t inappropriate to ask, “What is the future of documents?” Certainly, the 21st century has revolutionized every aspect of our lives, from work to play; from the indoors to the out. And how we manage documents, contracts, emails, attachments, and every other bit of data - physical or digital - that we accumulate throughout our lives will continue to change. And as it changes, businesses of all types, stripes and sizes will modify how they accumulate and process information in all its mediums.

More businesses every day make changes to de-clutter their workspaces. Today, the primary method they do this is through document digitization. Still, far too many businesses have vast amounts of critical data trapped within the 2D space confined to physical documents. And yet still even more are not properly managing the data that’s already been digitized. The time is now for businesses to look past the metaphor of virtual sheets of paper and start looking at the data within them.

The future of documents in the 21st century will continue to be shaped by a vital change in how information is shared, contracts are written and agreements are secured. In this future - and the future is now - we will see a shift from traditional ‘e-paper’, formatted and optimized for reading by humans, towards semantically tagged information in an open digital format, which will make it easier to digest and collate by machine minds. This shift is highlighted by a new report by Forrester Research called The Future of Documents.

Some interesting topics to come from this fascinating and thorough bit of research include:

  • The assumption that all documents are files: This is a common misconception. Documents do not necessarily need to be files, but instead can be any assembled set of digital objects.
  • We’re trapped in a cycle of pages, folders, files and labels: When it comes to physical and digital documentation, our imagination has become static. How can we break out of the established paradigm?
  • Your coauthor is a robot: Get ready for the coming wave of AI-driven content production. How will this impact how we create, store and share documents, whether physical or digital?

These are just a few of the fascinating nuggets to come out of the Forrester Research paper. The fact is even something as constant as documentation is on the cusp of revolutionary change. Will your company be ready for it or will you still be swimming in a mountain of regular matte? We can help you escape the documentation crush and bring your documentation efforts into the 21st century.

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