Have you ever searched your e-mail accounts for a specific message that was sent to you years ago? Then you know exactly how laborious it is to search through mountains of old correspondence. In your private e-mails, you may give up in exasperation after some time and look for the required information elsewhere. But that’s not always an option! For this reason, in a business environment, all business-related correspondence (even e-mails!) must be kept for up to ten years in accordance with Section 147 of the German Fiscal Code. This is a particular challenge for medium-sized companies that are growing.

This is why more and more medium-sized companies have been using Enterprise Content Management technology for some years. Instead of storing business documents only on the local hard drive of the employee’s computer, they are stored on a central document server, managed in a version-secure manner, provided with metadata, and archived. The decisive factor in Enterprise Content Management is that all authorized employees can access and work with all relevant data from all workstations (and more and more often, also while on the move).

The IT industry association bitkom, of which OPTIMAL SYSTEMS is a member, has examined the use of Enterprise Content Management solutions in medium-sized companies in its study “ECM in Medium-Sized Companies – Status Quo and Perspectives on the Way to the Digital Office.” Some of the insights gained here are quite remarkable – we have summarized the most important ones for you below.

Large companies as ECM pioneers

The larger the company, the earlier it uses software for Enterprise Content Management: On average, large companies have already been using an appropriate software solution for ten years, while medium-sized companies, on average, have only been using ECM for six. Only one in three medium-sized companies already has an ECM solution in place.

Medium-sized and large companies compared: how long has your company been using ECM?

Of these, only one third use this solution throughout the company – for the most part, the ECM solution is limited to individual specialist departments such as Controlling, Purchasing, or HR. Large companies, which typically have several locations and are more decentralized, are well ahead of medium-sized companies, with a rate of more than 90% company-wide deployment. The replacement of existing ECM software is often considered here, while many medium-size companies are currently planning the introduction of a company-wide solution.

Medium-sized companies rely on flexibility

Almost one in three medium-sized companies currently still manages company-internal knowledge in individual Office documents. Many companies have come up with their own filing systems, which serve their purpose more or less well. With the introduction of an ECM designed to channel this accumulated flood of data, adaptability and flexibility are understandably in high demand. It is noteworthy that these factors are even more important for medium-sized companies than the introductory and operating costs.

Medium-sized companies have the following requirements for their ECM suite.


The new software should fit into the familiar workflows as seamlessly as possible, in order to minimize the training requirements and avoid a time-consuming restructuring of large databases. enaio® by OPTIMAL SYSTEMS excels with its versatile expandability (including its own interfaces and seamless Office integration), allowing it to adapt flexibly to the intended requirements.

Medium-sized and large companies compared: where do you operate your ECM solution?

Even in medium-sized companies, IT resources are scarce and therefore valuable. This is probably the main reason why almost half (44%) of medium-sized companies currently rely on an external solution for storing their CRM content instead of operating their own on-premise data center. In contrast, 74% of large companies use their own server farm from which all ECM locations can be supplied.

One in four medium-sized companies plans to purchase an ECM solution

Of course, enaio® by OPTIMAL SYSTEMS keeps mobile working in mind without compromising on data protection, and provides clients that enable secure working with different mobile devices and browsers regardless of the location.

All in all, bitkom’s study sees Enterprise Content Management in medium-sized companies as a sector full of growth opportunities. One in four medium-sized companies plans to procure an ECM solution in the near future. The market volume is estimated at over 1.2 billion euros.

Of course, we are very confident of seeing the enaio® ECM suite by OPTIMAL SYSTEMS at the forefront of awareness among medium-sized companies. We have already helped many medium-sized companies to successfully take the step into the digital future.