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Digital Landfill, blog by AIIM President John Mancini

Paperless Dilemma No. 6 -- Mash-up Madness

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 20, 2014 9:04:00 AM

The last in my series of six issues relative to getting rid of paper focuses on what I call Mash-up Madness. See also…

  1. Paperless Dilemma No. 1 – Paper Persistence
  2. Paperless Dilemma No. 2 – Legal Limbo
  3. Paperless Dilemma No. 3 – Input Irregularity
  4. Paperless Dilemma No. 4 – Cloud Craziness
  5. Paperless Dilemma No. 5 – Perplexing Processes

The last topic in my series focuses on some of the rather unusual combinations and mash-ups that are being driven by consumerization, the collision of cloud and mobile, and the Internet of Things. This gets beyond just going paperless, but I think it’s important to place our tactical paper reduction initiatives in a broader context.

For years, those of us in the content management space have made a distinction between unstructured information and structured information (i.e., data).  This has been a comfortable distinction and allowed us to conveniently describe what is “in” our space and what is “something else.”  The problem with this is that these lines are blurring. Users no longer make this distinction, if they ever did.  It’s just data, used in the context of process.  And this mash-up between unstructured and structured information requires a different skill set – one that cuts across the worlds of content and data (like the CIP!).

A second mash-up relates to the collision between the MFP/copier space and content management.  There is still a bias that somehow players from the MFP side of the house are not “real” content management.  But that makes about as much sense as when we said back in 2007 that SharePoint wasn’t “real” ECM.  Perceptive/Lexmark is a good example of the new breed of content management players with roots in the MFP space.  Consider for a moment the acquisitions by Lexmark over the past four years:

Lastly, and coming back to the world of paper, I think we are seeing an increasing mash-up between capture devices and software. Over the next few years, this will accelerate as more and more software power becomes embedded directly in the device – giving us much better opportunity to finally cross the paperless divide. Consider the Fujitsu fi-7180 scanner, which retails for about $1,500.

This scanner includes the following bundled software – “PaperStream IP (TWAIN/ISIS) Driver, Software Operation Panel, Error Recovery Guide, PaperStream Capture, ScanSnap Manager for fi Series, Scan to Microsoft SharePoint (13), ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap, Scanner Central Admin Agent.”

It also the following embedded image processing software – “Multi-image, Blank page skip, i-DTC, Advanced-DTC, Simplified-DTC, sRGB, Auto color, Deskew cropping, Punch hole removal, Tab cropping, Upper lower separation, Error diffusion, Dither, Moire removal, Image Emphasis, Color cleanup, Dropout color (None, Specified, Color Saturation), Edge repair, Vertical Streaks Reduction.”

[Note:  Before I’m accused of favoritism, this is just for illustration – the same could be said for scanners of any other major manufacturer as well.]

The point is, consider how different the software component of this product is from the value proposition of a scanner as recently as five years ago.  And imagine what this portends for going paperless as the hardware/software mash-up accelerates in the next few years.

So that wraps up my little series on the challenges of going paperless.  Get our new Paper Wars research report HERE. And if you want a little cheat sheet on the issues I’ve discussed in these six posts, here you go…

A recent keynote that I did on the “Six Paperless Dilemmas” can be found HERE.  


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Data, Applications, and the Hybrid Cloud

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 20, 2014 3:49:00 AM

[This is a guest post by Rohit Ghai, Chief Operating Officer at IIG at EMC. To learn a bit more about the issues he raises, you can join him for a live discussion on Dec 3rd -- “Moving Data and Applications to the Cloud: 3 Key Considerations.” REGISTER to join the live event or to receive the recording afterward.]

It’s undeniable; there is a fundamental shift of organizations moving from the second to the third platform of computing – and facing the need to revolutionize access to data in order to get there. Before I talk about how to progress that transformation, let me clarify what the journey is and why organizations are making it.  

What are the platforms, and why move?

The 1st platform was the age of the mainframe.

The 2nd platform is based on the traditional client/server IT architecture, heavily utilizing PCs.

The 3rd platform is the IT destination designed for cloud, mobile, social engagement, and big data.

As they face an unavoidable need to provide cloud-based services, I hear more and more CIOs and IT leaders talking about retooling their organizations. From rewriting applications to rethinking business processes, they’re renovating for the future.

As I do not expect 2nd platform technologies to disappear anytime soon – and I fully anticipate the 3rd platform to be increasingly vital to how business is done in the modern world – I see great value in leveraging a hybrid cloud environment. It’s this approach that extends the value of a 2nd platform and fuels the capabilities of the 3rd.

Where to start?

In some ways, the journey to the 3rd platform is much like moving from one home to another. An essential step in any move is to clean out the garage. To do this, one must first inventory the garage contents. Next, determine what is to be left behind and that which will be taken to the new destination. When looking at legacy applications and the data stored within them, this same process of inventory, purging, and transfer is a crucial first step in the journey of IT transformation.

For many, the future is now

In reality, the journey is not perfectly linear. Many organizations have already delved into the 3rd platform and are keying new applications daily. Their challenge is not where to begin; rather, they need to revolutionize access to data via the new apps they’re writing. They must pull data from a multitude of siloed, often older or acquired, applications – and bring it together into the new cloud-based and mobile apps that will look at this information completely differently. For them, the crucial step is to bridge new apps to the data trapped in the old. Then, they can shut down the old apps when they’re ready to let go of what they no longer need.

Providing a path forward

Whether just starting out or mid-journey in IT transformation, organizations need to: 

  1. Fund the journey. Reducing IT complexity saves money that can be reinvested in innovation.
  2. Eliminate applications no longer needed. Free up resources spent managing and servicing legacy systems.
  3. Feed data into the hybrid cloud. Enable simplified access to data in cloud-based, mobile applications with faster retrieval, improved auditability, and increased compliance.

IT transformation goes beyond virtualizing the infrastructure to modernizing applications across the enterprise and in the cloud.


REGISTER to join Rohit’s live event on December 3rd or to receive the recording afterward.  InfoArchive is EMC’s major offering in this space.

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Paperless Dilemma No. 5 -- Perplexing Processes

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 17, 2014 10:53:18 AM

The fifth in my series of six issues relative to getting rid of paper focuses on what I call Perplexing Processes. See also…

  1. Paperless Dilemma No. 1 – Paper Persistence
  2. Paperless Dilemma No. 2 – Legal Limbo
  3. Paperless Dilemma No. 3 – Input Irregularity
  4. Paperless Dilemma No. 4 – Cloud Craziness

Someone once told me there are 2 things a person should never see made – 1) sausage; and 2) legislation. I would add a third – changing processes.

AIIM data suggests there is still a lot paper related challenge out there -- and lots of untapped process improvement opportunity. When asked, “Would you say that the amount of paper flowing through your business processes is increasing or decreasing?” there is an upside that 46% saying the amount of paper is decreasing. But for over 50% of organizations there is a lot of work to do – 28% say the amount of paper in processes is “stable,” despite all of the technology we have deployed and another 25% the amount of paper is “increasing” or “increasing rapidly.”

So what should we do about all of this?  What lessons can we learn from those who have “been there, done that?” The data from our recent Paper Wars survey suggests some basics:  1) capture as early as possible; 2) make sure you get senior staff buy-in and like any project, do not neglect the change management implications; and 3) don’t repave the cow path – use this as an opportunity to rethink processes from scratch.

Download new AIIM Research

A recent keynote that I did on the “Six Paperless Dilemmas” can be found HERE.  

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Paperless Dilemma No. 4 -- Cloud Craziness

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 13, 2014 11:12:21 AM

The fourth in my series of six issues relative to getting rid of paper focuses on what I call Cloud Craziness. See also…

  1. Paperless Dilemma No. 1 – Paper Persistence
  2. Paperless Dilemma No. 2 – Legal Limbo
  3. Paperless Dilemma No. 3 – Input Irregularity

As many readers know, I usually view cloud and mobile as the twin steroids of business disruption, so let me start with mobile and then shift to the cloud.

I believe one key thing in understand the impact of mobile is to think of mobile not as just a phone, but rather as mobility, and to think about the long term shift from centralized to decentralized computing.  I really like this chart from my friend George Parapadakis from IBM. I think it places mobility to the broader context of enterprise computing, views mobility through the prism of device, connectivity, the user, and the interface, and concisely tells the story of where we are.

mobile and cloud

So given that base, where are we currently with the other steroid, cloud?  The data from our recent Paper Wars survey reaches the conclusion that for 2/3 of organizations, cloud capture is still a pretty hazy thing – they are either still setting cloud strategies or have reached the conclusion that they will not be pursuing them. 

cloud capture strategies


A recent keynote that I did on the “Six Paperless Dilemmas” can be found HERE.  


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Paperless Dilemma No. 3 -- Input Irregularity

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 11, 2014 12:40:00 PM

The third in my series of six issues relative to getting rid of paper focuses on what I call Input Irregularity. See also…

  1. Paperless Dilemma No. 1 – Paper Persistence
  2. Paperless Dilemma No. 2 – Legal Limbo

The issue of “Input Irregularity” has plagued organizations for years – How do I make sense of all the different forms of customer communication bombarding my organization?

However, in the era of Information Chaos, it’s getting a lot worse.  This is no longer a question of paper and phone and email, but also tweets and Facebook posts and LinkedIn comments and Yelp comments and on and on and on.

Whenever I go on what my wife calls one of my “Angry Old Man with Social Clout” tirades (the latest centers are a godawful customer service experience with - I know, what did I expect from the name?), I usually get the same experience – and that’s from the companies that are GOOD at social listening. Usually, someone responds fairly quickly to a negative tweet; that’s good.  But then, it is almost comical how you need to totally recreate the experience you have had, in all of its Input Irregularity madness, because the backend systems simply do not manage all of the various points of customer communication in a coherent way.

A lot of the problem centers around a failure to put coherent capture strategies in place.  In most places, input adhocracy reigns supreme.  It all starts at the earliest stage where information touches the organization.  Almost two-thirds of organizations (64%) that do scanning and capture have only the most rudimentary of implementations – they do either ad hoc scanning or only after a process is completed.  This is ironic because the true ROI of capture comes in direct proportion to how hard you push the technology.

A look at the inputs associated with a process with a long history of automation and extremely high ROI – invoice processing – reveals the Input Irregularity mess that is characteristic of most organizations. For 49% or organizations, half or more of their invoices arrive electronically – for 30%, it’s three-quarters. So what do organizations do with these electronic inputs?  Yes, you guessed it.  59% percent of organizations wind up printing out the invoice at some stage of the process; only 8% or organizations pass the electronic invoice directly along to a capture system.

Input Irregularity – Paper Dilemma No. 3. What are you doing about it?

A recent keynote that I did on the “Six Paperless Dilemmas” can be found HERE.  

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Paperless Dilemma No. 2 -- Legal Limbo

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 10, 2014 9:12:00 AM

The second in my series of six issues relative to getting rid of paper focuses on what I call Legal Limbo. See also…

  1. Paperless Dilemma No. 1 – Paper Persistence

One of the things that surprises me a good deal in doing seminars around the country on content management is that many people still do not quite understand that in most instances, scanned documents are legal replacements for paper.  We have had the E-Signature Act for probably 10 years now and yet printing paper in order to assign signatures is still a very common practice.

I think we need to do a better job of convincing the skeptics -- especially in finance and administration -- that getting rid of paper need not oppose legal challenges.  When we ask the question “Which departments in your organization would you say are the most resistant to the introduction of paper free working?” The results are pretty predictable. Legal is at the top of the list among 37% of the organizations surveyed, followed by finance with 33%, and HR with 21%.

 Another data point in the “Legal Limbo Sweepstakes” relates to what happens to documents after they are scanned. In our recent paper wars survey, for 61% of organizations, half or more of scanned documents are not destroyed after scanning.  Pretty astounding considering that we have been doing this for twenty plus years

I am reminded of a visit recently to a service company that was scanning hundreds of thousands of documents for customer. All of the paper files were coming in on pallets through the back door, being scanned, and then loaded back on the pallets and shipped right back to off-site storage. Clearly there is some education needed in this process.


A recent keynote that I did on the “Six Paperless Dilemmas” can be found HERE.  

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Paperless Dilemma No. 1 – Paper Persistence

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 7, 2014 5:00:00 AM

Note:  Don’t forget to get a copy of our new Industry Research report (free) -- Paper Wars: An Update from the Battlefield.

One would think after 20 years of talking about paperless offices that we would have made more progress than we have. The truth of the matter is that while paper consumption -- and paper infused processes -- are decreasing, the rate of decline is still somewhat slow. Here is a rather telling question that we asked in our most recent paper wars survey.

Would you say that the consumption of paper and/or number of photocopies in your organisation is….

For 56%, it's increasing or staying the same, and it's only decreasing for 44%.


So why is that? Why haven’t we been able to move more quickly the looking to the limit eating the presence of paper in our business process?

I think the answer wise first and foremost with management commitment.   When we asked organizations whether they had a specific policy or maxim to drive paper out of the business, only 35% indicated the presence of such a management directive. I think we can add to this a number of additional reasons. Many people still think that they need physical signatures on paper, and this is a major driver to print things out of digital systems and into analog  form. There is also the change management issue – for longer documents many staff still prefer paper as a means to read or handle longer documents.  And lastly, and this perhaps is where AIIM should do more basic education, there is simply a lack of understanding of what the options are.

For more information on this, don’t forget to get a copy of our new Industry Research report (free) -- Paper Wars:  An Update from the Battlefield.

We'll be doing a webinar on this research next month -- Register today to save a seat...


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How can I get paper out of my business processes?

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 6, 2014 8:21:16 PM

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Zombie Paper -- The Walking Dead

Posted by John Mancini

Nov 6, 2014 12:30:00 AM

I was looking through the initial results of our new Paper Wars:  An Update from the Battlefield report, and the following data point caught my eye:

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Just a few more days until World Paper Free Day

Posted by John Mancini

Oct 29, 2014 2:33:00 PM

Have you gotten your "Paper Free" badge yet?  What are you waiting for?  World Paper Free Day is next week -- TAKE THE PLEDGE.

Or if you’re not quite ready to take the pledge, do one of the following…

Just “like” the World Paper Free Day page on Facebook and show your support.

Or follow World Paper Free Day on Twitter.

Or check out our cool YouTube videos on the World Paper Free Day You Tube channel.

Check these videos out...

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About Digital Landfill

#InformationChaos -- The game has changed.  

Information is the world’s new currency.

Read just about any business publication and you will quickly conclude that how an organization manages its information assets is now just as fundamental a source of competitive differentiation as how it manages its physical assets, its human assets, and its financial assets. Amidst all of this opportunity, organizations are drowning in a sea of content and information. #InformationChaos reigns supreme.

That's the focus of this blog -- and for that matter, of AIIM.  As the President of AIIM, my goal is to help you and your organization survive and thrive in the era of #InformationChaos.  If I can help, contact me at

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