I was recently talking to an AIIM member about accessing documents related to a project that we were both working on. So this will not be viewed as some sort of tacit endorsement, I’ll leave the name of the vendor out, but it’s a significant player in the enterprise sync and share space. I’ll also leave out the name of the AIIM member so he/she won’t get into trouble!
But I think this short story illustrates the totally unrealistic and counter-productive way most enterprises are looking at the incursion of consumer technologies into the enterprise. Consider the following.
When I mentioned the specific cloud file repository we were using for project, the AIIM member said they couldn’t access the site because the "domain was blocked at work." As we talked about the implications of this, an old adage of mine came to mind -- the desire of the “business” to get work done by individuals will always trump our desire for organizational “control” of information.
The response of the AIIM member was this (paraphrasing): “It won’t be a huge problem to get around it. I’ll access the documents at home on a personal device, and then forward them to myself at work for reference during our conference call.”
Truth be told, this kind of stuff occurs all the time. And yet so many organizations persist in putting their heads in the sand, and assume that if they wish it so (“we’ll keep information under control by just blocking the domain”) it will be so.
Our upcoming ECM Industry Watch (look for it on the 29th) provides some data documenting the head in the sand approach most organizations are taking when it comes to thinking about the question of mobile accessibility and the REAL patterns of how knowledge work is actually done in the year 2015.
Consider the answers to this question: What progress are you making towards content and process access on mobile devices? Is it any wonder that user adoption and utilization of most ECM systems remains a significant problem?
The upcoming Industry Watch notes that 60% of organizations that have deployed ECM solutions agree with the statement, “Gaining user adoption has been a big problem for our ECM project.” 62% agree with the statement "We still rely on file shares." And this is among organizations with ECM solutions!
I think a lot of this comes from a miscalculation of the true nature of information risk -- calculations that for many organizations are based on the outdated assumption that users have no choice with regards to the tools they use and that we can continue to "control" things the same way we did when all knowledge work was done at a desktop computer and in an office and on equipment owned and issued by central IT casting.
This comment from Michael Coleman, SVP & CIO at Comporium Communications illustrates the challenge facing organizations as they recalibrate risk in an era of consumerization and disruption:
“Deciding where to let go is a key element in managing overall risk. You need to decide what are actually corporate assets, and push processes to make sure they live in a specific place. There are not enough people to manage the volume. Make sure you get that foundational layer right.”
Alan Pelz-Sharpe spoke at the AIIM Conference about this challenge under the description of the “fragmented enterprise” and offers this advice to organizations:
All of which brings me to a previous post: When riding a dead horse, dismount - #ECM in the era of Digital Disruption.
We need to think about the question of information management and information security from a different vantage point – that of the knowledge worker – rather than that of central IT control. Because to be sustainable in an era of consumerization and digital disruption, a strategy must answer two questions for knowledge workers:
Where do I put my “stuff” so that it is secure, shareable, and searchable so that my ORGANIZATION can accomplish its goals?
Where do I put my “stuff” so that it works the way I work and is useful to ME in getting my job done?
Until we recalibrate our strategies to deal with BOTH these questions, we will struggle to achieve a true strategy to effectively manage our information assets.
Last month I did a blog post on the need for associations to thinking AGGRESSIVELY about the intersection of our networking, learning, and content curation efforts, or risk being left behind by better positioned competitiors in the consumer world -- Association Friends – A Manifesto to Survive Disruption -- Am I a Genius, a Nut, or just plain Cranky?
The premise was the following -- there is a terrible lack tools in the association community to bring together our networking, learning, and content curation efforts. I used my experience in recording a course for Lynda.com -- located HERE! -- to describe my concerns about the lack of strategic tools to link networking, content, and learning in the association community. Stated simply, we need to drive an intersection of these tools -- what we all currently deal with is stunningly suboptimal -- or risk the consequences. My premise:
1 -- There is a shakeout coming in the association space.
2 -- The associations that are currently financially sustainable have at their core:
3 -- Everyone else is essentially in the a) networking, b) training, or c) content development/delivery business.
4 -- All of the items in #3 are in the midst of accelerating disintermediation from the web and social technologies.
Well, associations better pay attention to the combination of Lynda.com and LinkedIn.com, because it the game has just changed DRAMATICALLY. Check out the announcement -- and think about how compelling YOUR offerings are compared to this combination.
Here is a sampling from some of my favorite #AIIM15 tweets. Enjoy.
If you weren't able to attend in San Diego, we hope to see you next year in New Orleans. And here is a short (and FREE!) e-book to give you an idea of what you missed...
#AIIM15 was a smashing success. Take away: build as much info mgmt intelligence into business processes; people can't manage on their own.— Sue Trombley (@sue_trombley) March 24, 2015
#aiim15 - IMO the best AIIM conference yet ....... thanks to everyone for your insights, advice, discussion, friendship and support.— Alan Pelz-Sharpe (@socialbizAlan) March 21, 2015
Dance like nobody is watching, email like the world is reading!! Brilliant !! #AIIM15— Barry Byrne (@ikmsolutions) March 18, 2015
“Chaos is never comfortable” #AIIM15— Jedediah Carr (@JedediahCarr) March 18, 2015
DPO: in-house, near shore or offshore?
Document process outsourcing now covers a wide range of document conversion and process execution, and the work can be done anywhere in the world. We surveyed users and non-users to explore the drivers and the concerns. Download your copy now.
My Documents or Our Documents?
Mobile workers, project partners, and suppliers must have access to vital project-centric documents. Sharing content via the cloud makes it easy, but we still need to apply governance, and cloud content needs to align with on-prem ECM. Read what our survey takers said. ECM and the Cloud.
End-to-End Process Monitoring for Performance and Compliance
Managing and monitoring document-centric business processes presents a unique challenge. We look at the issues of monitoring business processes through different stages and systems to spot the loops and stucks, and the benefits of applying intelligent BI to the end-to-end process. Get the report.
Extracting Maximum Value From Your Content
Too many ECM implementations fail to meet their full potential, and, as a result, the full value of the stored content is not available to the business. In this report, we look at four aspects of ECM that go beyond the basics and round out the true business potential: capture, case management, information governance and mobile access. Read Maximizing Your Content Value: Capture, Case Management, Compliance, Mobile Workforce.
Shining Daylight on Archived Premises and Construction Drawings
We still live in a mixed world of paper and digital, particularly where records are kept for a long time – often because the building, plant, patient or client has a lifetime over many decades. But do they still need to be stored on paper? Suppose you could wave a magic wand and “overnight” all your archive drawings appeared in the cloud. Learn how.
Have you checked out our new Content Management 2020 report?
The challenge of managing the intersection of people, processes, and information is not a new one. However, the technologies and the timeframes that we use to manage this intersection DO change, and we are currently in the middle of a phase of high disruption and uncertainty.
Specifically, I am talking about how we manage the intersection of people, processes, and information to:
Organizations have dealt with the challenge associated with the intersection of people, processes, and information through a series of technology waves. In each wave or era, it took some time for norms and best practices and standards to emerge. Ultimately these norms did -- generating a period of widespread adoption of that particular technology -- only to be disrupted by the next wave of technology innovation.
A couple of things are constants during periods of transition:
I believe there have been five main eras in managing the people, process, and information intersection.
The combined impact of consumerization, cloud and mobile, and the Internet of Things are rapidly signaling the end of the ECM Era as we know it. Organizations are struggling with best practices and norms as they make the transition to this sixth era dominated by Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, and Collaborative (MACC) technologies, and the solution providers that are part of this change are struggling with their identity as an industry. We at the cusp of a sixth era, still to be defined.
There are several key MACC-stack driven trends on the 2020 horizon – and remember, 2020 is just 5 years away:
As we prepare for these massive changes, we need to do so conscious that best practices in this emerging era do not yet exist. The community forged at AIIM15 represents the community of leaders who will help forge them.
Just having come out of AIIM15 (get a cool e-book summary HERE), my challenge for this community is this: Between now and AIIM16, we need to break down the issues we face into very practical and direct terms that can be understood by the business.
The problem is not that ECM is no longer relevant. It IS a good description of the set of capabilities that evolved from document management and workflow, and a good label for the technologies and capabilities needed to automate relatively static, document-intensive, mission-critical processes. “Every organization, every executive, every individual, every object is on a digital journey and content is at the heart of that journey,” notes futurist Thornton May. “Content is ubiquitous and critical, but ECM is rapidly becoming invisible.”
However, “ECM” as has problems on three fronts as we think about the "6th era": 1) we have tended to use it as a noun rather than a verb (something you buy and plug-in, rather than a strategy that you pursue); 2) it no longer works as an umbrella for the content and information-centric technologies that are at the core of the Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, and Collaborative era; 3) it is almost exclusively associated with cost reduction and people reduction.
Automation and people reduction are how “ECM” has been sold over the past decade -- and particularly in bad economic times. We’re coming to the end of that cycle; we’ve pretty much automated what we can automate. A new “umbrella” term is needed. ECM needs to become PART of the puzzle, rather than the puzzle itself. There will be many pieces to this puzzle in 2020 -- Content Management, Information Governance, Smart Process Applications, Collaboration and Social Technologies, Taxonomy and Metadata, Scanning and Capture, Content Analytics, Customer Engagement, and Search -- and the lines between “unstructured” and “structured” information will further blur. Organizations must combine analytics, collaboration, governance and processes to manage and leverage information assets more intelligently.
As an industry and as information professionals, we usually tend to explain the business problems we solve in “elevator pitches” that would take a 4,000-story elevator to tell and in insider terms that the business just doesn’t get. And pitches that are so rooted in where we have been that we forget to tell people where we are going. So as John Leggate, former CIO at BP said during a recent AIIM ELC meeting, "When riding a dead horse, dismount!"
So over the next year, let’s get very practical. Let’s tell our story and build best practices in straight-forward terms focused on the twin problems confronting all knowledge workers who operate in the transforming digital workplace:
Let’s get to work. What do you think?
[ This is a guest post from Alix Kneifel, President and Principal Consultant of A.Kneifel and Associates. Alix will be speaking at The AIIM Conference in San Diego on how to assess your ECM status. ]