Industry Profile: Rainer Krause, Managing Director of ELO Digital Office AU/NZ

Celebrating 15 years of activity in the ANZ market, IDM asked MD Rainer Krause to reflect on the evolution of ELO Digital Office in the ANZ ECM and records management marketplace.

RK: We started as a one-man-company and the aim was to provide document management to small and medium companies. At the time, we found that the market in Australia was many years behind the European market with regards to document management. Some early breakthroughs came via wins at the NSW Government, Taronga Zoo and the Australian Institute of Marine Science who each selected ELO over more dominant players. We still provide benefits to many of those customers who selected ELO in 2006-2010. The team is really proud of that. And we’re proud that we support selected not-for-profit organisations such as Kennerley Children Homes with free software and services. We are proud to help people who help people.

ELO’s Records Management solution was specifically developed for small and mid-sized private, public and Government organisations. The ELO Records Management solution delivers more than just compliant Records Management. The base package already provides organisations and businesses what they need to make them more efficient, productive and compliant with both Australian Federal and State records regulations. A fast to deploy system that combines Records Management requirements with Document and Workflow Management out of the box.

We have always taken a separate approach to Records Management and business process improvement through Document Management. This is essentially still in place and we see a major shift in the market where “single purpose” systems will soon be the dinosaurs of the digital world.

IDM: Despite the famous Gartner Inc. pronouncement of the death of ECM a few years ago, the number of contenders in the marketplace is actually growing. Why do you think this is so?

RK: I don’t believe that ECM per see will ever disappear, although the term itself may be out of fashion. For example: if you are a small or medium company/entity and you want to streamline your business processes, you may be deterred by the word ‘enterprise’. That sounds expensive and you may think that you’ll buy something that is far too big for what you want to achieve. I think, the word enterprise is hindering it.

People have got smarter, and the IT departments have now become more of a service division and the selection of an ECM product is aimed at improving processes and not just “managing content”. So, the term ECM may be outdated but the functions become more and more important.

IDM: What do you think sets ELO Digital Office apart from other contenders?

RK: First and foremost, we do both Records Management and Business Process improvement. While others have stuck to a single purpose software, we offer the best of both worlds. Why should a Shire or Council have two systems, two suppliers, two contracts and twice the cost only because they want to be compliant AND want to – say – automatically process invoices. That doesn’t make sense and wastes taxpayers money.

Another great advantage of ELO is its pricing and fee structure. Customers can select whether they want a CAPEX or and OPEX solution or a subscription or whatever they deem reasonable for the problem they want to fix. Over 90% of all Australian revenue stays in Australia and our customers appreciate our dedication to the Australian market.

ELO has an open architecture meaning that we can integrate with essentially any other 3rd party system. We provide complete knowledge transfer, so that customers can decide what level of self-sufficiency they want. If you want to administer the system yourself – we’ll train you.

ELO provides all clients and MS Office integrations for free while other still charge for these standard features.

Scalability is another USP. We often start with 5 to 10 users and some of our customers have exceeded 300 or even 500 users within just a few years. The rollout is often done by the companies themselves.

Last but not least, all our services are provided from within Australia unless a very specific task needs to be performed, then we ask our German headquarters to help out. It’s rare but it happens.


ELO is holding two Webinars to offer systems specialists, IT consulting firms and reseller information on becoming certified ELO Business Partners. Register for Thursday, November 19, 4:00 - 5:00pm AEDT or Thursday, November 26, 4:00 - 5:00pm AEDT.


IDM: ELO recently released ELOprofessional 12. What are some of the new features introduced in that release?

RK: ELO12 has created a major shift in functionality and dedication to business processes. We’re now completely agnostic whether a customer wants to deploy in the cloud, on-prem or as a hybrid. The user interface for both the installed client and the Web client are so similar that some people don’t even know which one they’re using – and that’s exactly what we wanted to achieve. Independence from where you are.

The market has really embraced our business solutions for AP Automation, Contract Management, HR Personnel File, eForms and most recently the complete integration with DocuSign. This will be followed in 2021 with Knowledge Management and eLearning. Our Business Solution Framework modules are completed with a full suite of collaboration features such as feeds, workflows and various notification features.

I personally like and use the ELO for Smartphone features almost daily.

IDM: What are some of the main reasons that organisations are looking to deploy ECM in 2020?

RK: 2020 was/is a strange year and we have increased our sales dramatically because companies have realised that you don’t have to be at the office to be productive. A good system will give you both, the information when you need it and the workflows to make smarter decisions. 2020 was/is a year where companies need this. I am not sure if the term Digital Transformation hasn’t been overused in 2020 but it’s certain that companies and government organisations have all come to realise that staff productivity is more important than their location.

IDM: What impact do you think the Corona crisis has on the enterprise content management (ECM) industry?

RK: I would say that there have been three phases. The first one started in March / April where we all had no idea what to do. We appear now to be in the second phase meaning that the transition to remote working – at least for office staff – has become somewhat normal. We realised that remote working – with the right tools – isn’t as bad as we would have thought 18 months ago.

Phase three will be interesting. Many entities jumped on SharePoint, Microsoft 365 and Teams which provides a new tool for  shared document storage but not processes. Companies will learn that this isn’t enough.

SharePoint is a framework and ELO is a product. While SharePoint is a powerful framework you still need to build processes from scratch. ELO can be up and running in 5 days providing immediate benefits. We hear more and more that people find that SharePoint becomes “just another shared drive”. Duplicate control, visualisation of structures, open APIs and process functions are often missing. ELO has a very powerful SharePoint synchronisation and our SharePoint/ELO customers usually separate the business process (ELO) from the user access (SharePoint). They say that SharePoint may be the frontend but ELO does the hard yakka in the background.

IDM: What are some of the smart technologies we can expect in upcoming releases of ELOprofessional and ELOenterprise?

RK:  ELO has continued developing best practice business solutions. Our Australian team has added locally developed solutions such as Google Maps integration, eSignature integration and other developments.

Docker/Kubernetes and other backend technologies are just the beginning of the cloud technology leap. Without exposing our competitive advantages, I think we’ll be focussing on fast deployment and enhanced functionality. We were recently able to implement a full suite of Records Management at Junee Shire Council in NSW in just over 18 days, while others quoted 60-80 days.

Together with local developer Castlepoint Systems we’re looking to integrate some of their astonishing capabilities in AI and auto-classification. Our next scheduled release in 2021 will have some ground-breaking new functionalities such as Integration Clients which take away or reduce the need for additional development, also additional modules for internal and external collaboration, visitor management and an eLearning platform.

Following a career focussed on business re-engineering and process improvement, Rainer Krause founded the Australian branch of ELO Digital Office in 2005. ELO Digital Office is a leading creator of enterprise content management (ECM) systems with more than 1,000,000 users in 40 worldwide markets. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, products from ELO include document management, archiving, workflow, and collaboration.

The ELO Integration Client integrates ERP and CRM systems such as SAP Business One, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Salesforce, and more.

Prominent ELO users in the local market include Baiada, the company behind the Steggles and Lilydale poultry brands, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, various Federal, State and Local Governments, Monash Health, the Royal Flying Doctor Service,  Taronga Zoo, John Holland Group, IBM and Services NSW (through partner Grace Information Management.)

ELO has various certified business partners such as Toshiba, Grace Information Management and SAU Digital. In addition, ELO implements directly where it is not in competition with its partners.

ELO is holding two Webinars to offer systems specialists, IT consulting firms and reseller information on becoming certified ELO Business Partners. Register for Thursday, November 19, 4:00 - 5:00pm AEDT or Thursday, November 26, 4:00 - 5:00pm AEDT.