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If 2016 taught us anything, it was, "Expect the unexpected," and the document and information management industry was no exception. It was a year of tectonic shifts in the technology landscape that redefined how we view the marketplace. Competing forces, such as customer experiences, digital transformation, cybersecurity, and so on, all fought for the dollar inside of organizations. It's a confusing time, to be sure. I'm always fascinated by retrospectives to see the trends and challenges that inevitably boil to the top. Our top 10 articles below show that companies are grappling with these disruptive forces while balancing the need for real business solutions at hand.

Change is hard, and taking the first step might be even harder. For organizations, there is a large gap between being efficient and being effective. Asking “Where do we need to go?” is quite different from “Where do we want to go?” This piece asks if you have what it takes to make the first step.

We might have never cared so much about email management than we did in 2016. The political juggernaut exposed the very real vulnerability of unauthorized email destruction. The move away from email and toward social collaborative tools, such as SharePoint, will only help federal agencies reduce the time it takes to sort through and classify emails as records.

Digital transformation (DX) was the buzzword of the year, but a lot of confusion comes with it. What exactly do you have to do to create DX? It's a complicated process, and organizations are leery of diving head-first into the transformation pool. Taking a look at your customer communications management (CCM) solution and e-signatures are good technology entry points for these companies.

The news of OpenText acquiring the customer communications management (CCM) assets from HP Inc. was big, though, certainly, not the last ground-shaking announcement from the Ontario-based company. (Look for our exclusive take on the future of Documentum here). Yet, this move by OpenText shouldn't be surprising as they continue to make inroads as a customer experience management leader.

Let's not forget that our solutions should actually drive revenue and solve business problems. We can fast get lost in the "digital business" black hole, but looking at digitizing your business should focus on how to replace inefficient paper-based tasks, so you can pay more attention to your profit centers.

Again on our list, digital transformation (DX) makes another appearance, but this time, we look at agility. It's one thing to recognize change but another to rapidly respond to change. To address digital agility, I sat down with Jeroen Huinink, vice president of product marketing at Lexmark Enterprise Software, to find the five best practices for agility and transformation.

It's no surprise to see yet another one on the digital strategy. See a pattern yet? We get it: Organizations want to be digital. However, going paper-free is a lot harder than it looks. To be effective, it's best to start with the lifeblood of any organization—information and data. Looking at an enterprise content management system can be a good start.

The meaning behind the recent movement by many vendors into the customer communication management (CCM) space was pretty crystal clear: CCM is hot again. IDC Analyst Terry Frazier summed it up best saying, "Communications isn’t a back-office function or a marketing function but a core function of the digital enterprise."

If our number two read says anything about business, it says that the risk and the value of the information we hold will be key drivers to decisions we make as an organization. How we evaluate and analyze the content we have will ultimately determine how intelligent our decisions will be.

It's the process, dummy! Nothing drives home this saying more than our top read of 2016. Manifesting change is embedded into our processes. However, less than 20% of most organizations' processes are documented and up to date. It might indeed be time for the Process Officer.

There you have it—our most-read stories of 2016. 2017 is sure to be challenging, exciting, and transformative. As a final takeaway, I offer this thought: No matter the disruptive forces, marketplace shake-ups, or a changing of the guard, we should always focus on delivering real business outcomes and customer experiences that benefit, well, our customers—not just ourselves. It might not be sexy, but trust me, it will push you to the head of the pack in no time.

Happy New Year!

Allison Lloyd serves as the Editor of DOCUMENT Strategy Media. She delivers thought leadership on strategic and plan-based solutions for managing the entire document, communication, and information process. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonYLloyd.

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