This week I attended the 2017 Alfresco Government Summit here in DC. It is part of Alfresco’s rotating 1-day summits that they hold around the world during the year. Alfresco held this year’s DC event at Nats Park, a great location for the great weather. When attendance is good, it is a solid event full of productive discussions about information governance.
This year was a good year.
As a former Alfresco employee, it was enjoyable to chat with old friends to learn what has changed, and not changed, since my departure. More importantly for Dominion Consulting, it was great to hear directly from Alfresco executives what their priorities are and their vision for tackling them. Enterprise content management (ECM) is constantly evolving so as a leading vendor in the space, their opinion matters.
Based upon what I saw at the event, Alfresco’s priority is enabling digital transformation for organizations.
Last week I had the pleasure of jumping up to Boston to present at ARMA’s Boston Chapter. The topic was a familiar one, Information Governance in the Age of Digital Transformation. I updated and expanded my keynote from the 2016 Information Governance Conference to allow the attendees to receive the latest insights.
As expected, it was a great event with a lot of good conversations about how we can take a fresh approach to Information Governance. This is a real need as many organizations are still struggling to make strides more than two decades after beginning this journey.
Another year and another AIIM Conference in the bag. It was a good year as the industry seems to be slowly coming to the realization that while content is a problem, the solution is to solve the business problem, not necessarily the content problem.
The industry entered AIIM17 with a debate over whether Content Services or Enterprise Content Management (ECM) should be the default name for the industry. The speakers, and attendees, basically uttered a massive, “Who cares?” We are solving problems and learning how to make sure that not just information can be found. Valuable information can be found.
Next week I will be representing Dominion Consulting at the annual AIIM Conference. AIIM is returning to Orlando after a three-year hiatus. A lot has changed in the industry since the last trip to Orlando. Even the events in the last year have changed the space quite a bit. EMC will not be present and any Documentum presence will be at the OpenText booth. An interesting cloud-based Records Management vendor from last year, RecordLion, was just bought by Gimmal. There will also be many discussions over Content Services versus ECM as the new label for the industry.
As always, the most valuable part of the AIIM Conference will be the exchange of ideas taking place between sessions and over refreshments. Another year of new experiences gained and lessons learned that the community can combine into success for everyone.
A common refrain that I hear is the statement, “I need a new content management system.” I often nod in understanding because most organizations have challenges with their current systems. Understanding that you have a problem is a great first step in determining a solution. It is during the second step of the procurement process when organizations introduce problems.
Skipping the Why
Most organizations skip over the why phase. They may automatically define “the why” as their system is broken. This overlooks many possibilities. Was the software implemented correctly? Were people trained? Has the system been maintained? Are there processes in place to modify the system as the organization evolves?
One of our core solutions at Dominion Consulting is Information Management. It is a term that we, and the industry, use to encompass a large collection of skills and expertise centered around content and information. Information Management is also a critical part of everything organizations do every day.
How do we define that collection of skills? Stated from a high level:
Information Management (IM) is a strategy for the coordinated management of all information throughout an organization, allowing for people and systems to find and use information from within any business context.
The goal is to provide people the right information at the right time and be confident that nothing is being overlooked. We make sure that information flows as needed between every system and process. Whether we are talking about governance, content, or digital transformation, IM is at the heart of every project and sets up long-term success for our clients.
This year’s Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, RI last week was a great experience and I was excited to represent Dominion Consulting at it. During what is quickly becoming the premier event in the industry, a milestone was marked in the evolution of the information governance industry. Loaded with some amazing speakers, the conference had a feeling of an industry who is trying new ideas and advocating for a complete change to how we approach the management, and subsequent governance, of information.
The key focal point was on the people working with information in our organizations. How can we remove the friction between people and the content management systems (CMS) that we implement? Specifically, how can we use design thinking to improve the user experience? This new focus on design and people was present in keynotes, individual talks, and in the hallway conversations. While there were still a lot of war stories shared, there was an underpinning of hope that we can make real progress.
Next week I’ll be representing Dominion Consulting at the 3rd annual Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, Rhode Island on October 12 and 13. I have attended the previous conferences, and as with the annual AIIM conference, simply sharing ideas and stories with the other attendees is worth the trip. This year I have an additional reason for attending, I am delivering the closing keynote on the first day.
I am pretty excited about this opportunity. When the Information Coalition, the organizers, contacted me about speaking. I was very excited. I spoke the first year at InfoGovCon and was interested in delivering a follow-up talk. Delivering the follow-up as a keynote is an unexpected honor.
I attended the annual AIIM Conference recently in New Orleans. As expected, it was a great event with a lot of interesting presentations. I spent a lot of time talking to people, learning what they were doing, how they were achieving success, and hearing about what wasn’t working. I may also have had a beignet or two.
My chief interest was content analytics. There has been a lot of buzz in the industry regarding this capability and I wanted to learn how real it was among practitioners. It seems like a simple concept; Take the classification technology from eDiscovery tools and apply it at the front end of the business process. Instead of reacting, become proactive in analyzing and acting upon content.
I learned that it is going to take some pioneers to make this a reality.
We’ve been talking about how to leverage open APIs to connect content-centric solutions together. The goal is to leverage the success from deploying point solutions without creating the numerous silos that typically accompany that approach.
The question that arises is what kind of platform providers are incented to create and maintain open APIs? Any vendor can claim to have an open API. Unless supporting those APIs long-term is core to their business model, those APIs may vanish or become closed in the future. While any enterprise content management (ECM) vendor may have open APIs, open source and software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors are the ones whose business depends on open APIs.
The Open Source Advantage
Open source software (OSS) is a natural tool in creating open ECM ecosystems. Being open is core to who they are, making their APIs open by default. Documented and supported APIs are very useful, but when the code is open source, a new level of capability can be taken leveraged.
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