Why Can't We Stop Talking About Technology?

Aug 9, 2016 8:56:36 AM by John Mancini

For many years, I’ve watched people in organizations that I KNOW could benefit from content technologies politely listen to sales presentations, nod their heads and then back away from a decision.

I find this “reluctance to commit” mysterious, because most of the people that I’ve spoken with who have automated a previously paper-driven process swear by the results and wouldn’t return to life pre-content management for anything.

I’m convinced that this “reluctance to commit” is due to the fact that many on the sell-side of our industry (including AIIM at times, I’ll confess!) can’t resist talking about technology. ECM! BPM! Taxonomies! Metadata! Capture!

So let’s forget about this “content management thing” for a moment and think about how bad, manual, and paper-clogged processes impact a few real people. I've put together a short tip sheet on the 5 Faces of Information Chaos.  It's just designed to spark some conversations among people who have never considered the potential impact of content technologies -- feel free to use however helpful.

Download the free Tip Sheet

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In the Toronto, NY or DC metro areas?  We've got a process improvement seminar coming up in your neighborhood!  They're FREE.

Washington DC event -- October 4 at the National Press Club

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

New York event-- October 6 at the Manhattan Penthouse

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Toronto event -- October 13 at the Allstream Centre

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Topics: content management, information chaos, infochaos

7 Tips to Unstick Your SharePoint Implementation

Aug 5, 2016 12:34:59 PM by Bob Larrivee


SharePoint Challenges Continue

Many organizations continue to find themselves in a state of struggle when implementing SharePoint. However, all indications suggest that initially, it is not the fault of the technology, but failure of the organization to properly address information governance prior to implementing the technology. SharePoint will not automatically organize information in ways that meet compliance requirements, as it is not and cannot be aware of the requirements. It is the human element of a SharePoint environment that must know and understand the rules, set up the framework for the organization and then align SharePoint to support those requirements and policies.


So are users deserting SharePoint at the rate some might want us to believe? The answer according to our survey is no, and in fact, many are considering incorporating the next generation of SharePoint, SharePoint 2016. More than half of those we surveyed are committed to building and extending SharePoint with a strategic focus for quite a while yet.

Here are my 7 tips if your SharePoint implementation feels stuck

  • Tip #1 -- If your SharePoint deployment is stalled, or failing to add new value, identify the reasons and develop a plan of action to resolve them.
  • Tip #2 -- Confirm with Senior Management what role SharePoint plays in the organizational strategy for ECM, DM, RM, and collaboration, then focus on those areas. Plan and budget for training and system enhancement.
  • Tip #3 -- While technology training is needed for your users, do not discount the benefit from more generic training in content and records management practices. This will help correct previous mistakes with content classification, metadata and taxonomies and better position your organization to align with SharePoint.
  • Tip #4 -- Develop or refine your information governance (IG) framework, and use this to see where you have gaps in your SharePoint capability, particularly with regards to records management.
  • Tip #5 -- Look for ways to integrate important emails into SharePoint, incorporating auto-classification to simplify user requirements.
  • Tip #6 -- Evaluate access to SharePoint remotely or from mobile devices and look for ways to enhance this capability. This may be an important driver for a move to the cloud, most likely in a hybrid model that retains some reassuring on-premise security.
  • Tip #7 -- Link SharePoint to your other enterprise systems, allowing greater accessibility to enterprise information and simplifying business processes that involve both transactional and unstructured content.

For many, it will be a team effort, not an IT only project, leading us to believe that there is serious consideration now being taken in relation to establishing a solid information ecosystem, built within a well-defined framework, and aligned with SharePoint as a primary user portal. The indicators are clear that SharePoint can be – and for many today, is – a platform upon which ECM, DM, RM, and collaboration can be built, implemented and expanded. Do not rely solely on the technology. Establish and enforce strong IG policies and processes. Seek guidance and expertise to fill in those areas where your organization is weak. Most of all, keep things moving.

The Impact of SharePoint 2016

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In the Toronto, NY or DC metro areas?  We've got a process improvement seminar coming up in your neighborhood!  They're FREE.

Washington DC event -- October 4 at the National Press Club

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

New York event-- October 6 at the Manhattan Penthouse

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Toronto event -- October 13 at the Allstream Centre

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

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Topics: Microsoft Corporation, enterprise content management, ecm, sharepoint

Big Data, Content Analytics, Information Capture and the Hype Curve

Aug 3, 2016 2:57:56 PM by John Mancini

Last year, Gartner created quite a stir by retiring the “Big Data” Hype Cycle from its popular “Hype” curve series (see Why Gartner Moved Big Data Off the Hype Curve).

Big Data, Content Analytics, Information Capture and the Hype Curve

According to Betsy Burton at Gartner, “We’ve retired the big data hype cycle. I know some clients may be really surprised by that because the big data hype cycle was a really important one for many years.  But what’s happening is that big data has quickly moved over the Peak of Inflated Expectations and has become prevalent in our lives across many hype cycles. So big data has become a part of many hype cycles.”  (See video from last year’s Gartner Hype Cycle announcement.)

This “mainstreaming”  is a precursor to a broader trend I’m seeing, which is the movement to Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence (see my post, Preparing for the Era of Intelligent Machines). Some of the research for that post got me thinking about other areas within the content space in which Analytics is increasingly an integral part of the value equation.  And how some of our old labels and terms in the content space, while still describing a totally valid value equation, are no longer sufficient to describe the new ways in which these technologies can be pushed into the future.

[Note:  In researching this post, I came across a 7 minute video from Tim Dubes from Ephesoft that raises some similar points -- you might like it.]

View the 7 minute video!

Take “capture” for example, a term that has been with us since before I came to AIIM (and that’s a hell of a long time). 

At first, we thought of “capture” as something we did exclusively to paper and with a scanner and with the end objective of creating digital images of the paper that existed in the physical world.

We moved from there to thinking about "information capture" – not just paper, and not just creating images, but automatically extracting information off images as data, and injecting this information as fuel for a business process.  We’ve replaced paper forms that we used to spend countless cycles digitizing with forms that are natively digital. And we’ve spent the past few years extending these information capture capabilities to mobile devices and pushing them closer and closer to the customer and to the point where information is created.

There is no shortage of business still in this business of “information” capture and process automation.  I am constantly amazed at how many green fields there are out there for this set of extended technologies.  Though it seems like we’ve been at this for years, many organizations have truly only begun this journey.  I get more questions that I would call “Capture 101” than ever before.  Even for those who have been in the process automation business for a long time, it’s a new game.  The entry of mobile and the cloud changes the fundamentals of “how” and “how expensive” for capture and opens up all sorts of new avenues for customer experience.

But there’s another huge opportunity for organizations out there, and what we’ve learned in the capture space is incredibly relevant for this opportunity.  And that is applying what we’ve learned to the task of understanding exactly what is in all of that dark (as well as big) data and content in our organization, extracting insight from that it, and putting those insights to work.  "Content analytics" is an example of Gartner’s “mainstreaming” of “big data.”

So I think there’s a “walk and chew gum” opportunity out there for both users and solution providers out there. 

On the one hand, we need to continue to search relentlessly for opportunities to automate and improve our business processes and customer interactions and make unstructured information truly useful by pushing the limits of information capture.

At the same time, we need to use what we’ve learned along the way to push our organizations to the next opportunity.  And that opportunity is to make unstructured information insightful through content analytics as well as useful. And thereby set the stage for the machine intelligence revolution that is coming.

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FYI, as I mentioned earlier, I liked the way Tim Dubes from Ephesoft talked about this topic at the Finovate Conference

Click on the image to view the 7 minute video.

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In the Toronto, NY or DC metro areas?  We've got a process improvement seminar coming up in your neighborhood!  They're FREE.

Washington DC event -- October 4 at the National Press Club

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

New York event-- October 6 at the Manhattan Penthouse

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Toronto event -- October 13 at the Allstream Centre

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

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Topics: content analytics, mobile capture, big content, big data, capture

This Just In -- Charles Dickens (Really?) and 7 Key Data Points About SharePoint

Aug 2, 2016 9:50:32 AM by John Mancini

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”  (A Tale of Two Cities)

As I read through the results of our latest SharePoint survey, a kind of Dickensian déjà vu washes over me relative to surveys of past years.

Yes, SharePoint is ubiquitous in most large scale enterprises.  Yes, those pesky users, frustrated by usability and mobility issues, are still end-running the IT uber-lords and using consumer technologies to get their jobs done.  Yes, SharePoint sophistication varies widely, ranging from those still using it only for basic project file sharing (really? why would you do this?) to those running complicated and mission critical workflows upon it. Yes, folks are far too often still faking it when it comes to actually operationalizing those elegant governance policies in their SharePoint environment. And yes, enterprises at scale typically lag at least one – and often more than one – version behind the latest version.

It seems like I’ve written this post before.  I can anticipate the comments.

"AIIM, you aren’t critical enough about SharePoint!"

"AIIM, you are too critical about SharePoint!"

"We can’t wait to port everything to the cloud!"

"We can’t let anything go to cloud!"

"We love SharePoint!"

"We hate SharePoint!"

Oh, and BTW the comment from most organizations at scale, "We’re still committed to it."

I think this kind of bipolarity is what one should expect when you ask questions about a platform.  As I’ve said many times before, SharePoint has said from the start that it was a platform, not an application.  But far too often, when IT folks over the years said “platform, platform, platform” with regards to SharePoint, many of us on the business side heard “application, application, application.”

A couple of points to consider about platforms.

  1. Satisfaction with platforms depend a lot on what and how people build upon the platform. 
  2. Platforms are only optimized when organizations have the internal resources to support the platform and understand how to do so. 
  3. Platforms are optimized when the business realizes that purchasing the platform is just the beginning.  Third-party add-ons and expertise are critical to maximizing value.
  4. There is a significant knowledge gap at the enterprise level between usage of SharePoint (see below -- for 28%, it's their only or main ECM system) and understanding of where the platform is going (only 23% understand what SharePoint 2016 offers). This gap is a recipe for an unsatisfying project experience.

So check out all of the details in our new Industry Watch survey.  There’s some great stuff it in. 

Here are just 7 of my favorite data points:

  1. SharePoint is the only or main ECM/DM system for 28% of organizations. Thirteen percent see SharePoint as important for their overall ECM/DM environment.
  2. Eleven percent of organizations have reached a plateau in terms of SharePoint adoption. 22% say their SharePoint adoption is facing challenges from the user community.
  3. More than a quarter of respondents say they are still using SharePoint 2010 with 41% citing they are using SharePoint 2013 as their live primary version. At this time, only 2% say they are live with SharePoint 2016 and 19% with SharePoint Office 365.
  4. When it comes to the enhancements found in SharePoint 2016, 43% say they are somewhat aware of what SharePoint 2016 offers, while 29% indicate they have no awareness at all.
  5. Only 23% of respondents indicate they understand what SharePoint 2016 offers.
  6. Forty percent of organizations say their SharePoint implementation was not a success.  Inadequate user training (67%), hard to use (65%), and lack of senior management support (64%) are cited as reasons for SharePoint projects stalling or failing. 
  7. When looking at SharePoint as an ECM/DM solution, 43% prefer using their file-share application for everyday content. Looking at SharePoint from a process and enterprise connectivity perspective, 72% of organizations show no support for mobile device use.

Get the Executive Summary of the new SharePoint Industry Watch -- FREE.

The Impact of SharePoint 2016

 Also, check out my "5 Faces of Information Chaos" tip sheet.

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Topics: content management, ecm, sharepoint, business process

Preparing for the Era of Intelligent Machines

Jul 25, 2016 4:46:11 PM by John Mancini

Preparing for the Era of Intelligent Machines

As many of you know, I’ve been spending time thinking about the evolution of the “content” space, and its roots in the intersection of the triad of people, processes, and technology.  I’m starting to think that there maybe is a 4th player in this intersection – Machines – but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.  More about that later.

As I think back to my early years at AIIM, I entered the organization during the era of Document Management and Workflow, with the following “people, process and technology” characteristics.

Somewhere around the turn of the century, the industry pivoted into the Enterprise Content Management era, changing our “people, process, and technology” triad:

And most recently, we’ve moved into the Mobile and Cloud era, once again changing our triad.

 So before moving on to what comes next, a couple of observations about these three eras:

  1. Technologies exist in beta long before large companies put them into practice. This means that even though it seems we have no idea what will come next, we really do given the lag between consumer technologies and large-scale enterprise adoption.  That’s a good thing, because if we want to understand what’s coming, all we really need to do is look around.

Future of an Information Professional

  1. Successive eras don’t replace what came before – they are stacked on top of what came previously. This is not such a good thing, although it is a pretty good rationale for having some Information Professionals in your organization.  Check out our new white paper (free), Information Professionals: Where We Came From and Where We’re Going.
  1. These – and successive eras – are coming at organizations faster and faster. This is a recipe for information chaos in most organizations as they struggle with not only keeping the lights on, but anticipating and preparing for what comes next.

Combining the three layers of content capabilities – 1) Document Management and Workflow; 2) Enterprise Content Management; and 3) Mobile and Cloud – to create new and rich customer experiences that allow you to get ahead of the Digital Transformation curve is the current strategic imperative for the C-suite.  And this is no mean feat.

But looking a bit ahead, I find myself thinking about another huge coming change. Going back to my point 1 above -- Technologies exist in beta long before large companies put them into practice – maybe if we look around a bit in the broader technology space, maybe we can get a glimpse into the next wave.  And in thinking about this, I’m pretty convinced that in the next wave, we’re going to need to add a fourth party to our triad – Machines.

Ever since I read some of the work of Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee about the impact of Moore’s Law in the second half of the technology chessboard (check out Race Against the Machine if you don’t know what I’m talking about), I’ve been fascinated with the question of what happens when tasks that were previously beyond the reach of computers suddenly become feasible. What happens when we get to the second half of the chessboard?

In preparing for some recent meetings with the folks at Adlib Software and Precision Content, I came across this presentation by Frank Chen from Andreessen Horowitz on AI, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning: A PrimerIt’s well worth a look; the 45 minutes goes by quickly.  He talks about radical advances in machine intelligence like a computer that can play a 19 x 19 version of the game of GO, a game with a google times more potential moves than chess.  And a fellow who invented a working driverless car in his garage

Frank talks about six dimensions of machine intelligence that are in the process of radical innovation and disruption, the likes of which we've never seen before.

  • Reasoning
  • Planning and navigation
  • Natural language processing
  • Knowledge representation
  • Perception
  • Generalized intelligence

Which gets me back to content and information management.  As I said, combining the three layers of content capabilities – 1) Document Management and Workflow; 2) Enterprise Content Management; and 3) Mobile and Cloud – to create new and rich customer experiences that allow you to get ahead of the Digital Transformation curve is the current strategic imperative for the C-suite. 

Organizations have a critical and immediate need to organize all the “stuff” from the document, web, and mobile/cloud era, automate as much of this task as possible, extract as much value from it as possible, and utilize this “stuff” to create customer experiences.

But just beyond this immediate challenge lies another one – and an enormous opportunity.  And one that I think takes a lot of the generic and hype-driven conversation about "big data" and "analytics" -- which frankly always seems like a bit of a stretch for content-y people -- and brings information, how it is managed and organization, and the people who know how to do this -- squarely into the central challenge that lies ahead.

In the era of machine processing that is coming, what would it mean to be able to express your business value in ones and zeros?  

It means content and information, a lot of it, organized in ways we have never done before.

It means how content is created NOW will have a direct bearing on how “machine processable” it ultimately will be in the future. 

Is anyone in your organization thinking about how you will approach this task?

More to come on this...What are your thoughts?

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If this conversation piques your interest, you might be interested in two content resources:

A tip sheet by me -- 3 questions to ask about content creation

Get your free tipsheet!

A white paper underwritten by Precision Content -- Innovating Content Creation and Reuse

Download Now

 

 
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4 Steps to Improve Customer Experiences

Jul 25, 2016 3:21:13 PM by John Mancini

Leverage what you already have and know

Digital Disruption. Digital Experiences. They are on the wish list for just about every C-level executive. But where do you start? How do you move from the hype to value? A good place to start is by leveraging the capabilities you likely already have – scanning, capture, and the digital mailroom – and extending them into the core processes that you use to run your business. 

  Download Your Infographic

 

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I've prepared a free tip sheet on 4 steps to improve customer experiences -- free -- get it HERE.

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Topics: mobile capture, customer service, scanning, digital transformation,

Is BPM the Digital Transformation Enabler? [Infographic]

Jul 20, 2016 10:52:53 AM by Sean McGauley

Agility and efficiency have become the keys to meeting the growing and changing demands that come with digital disruption. Businesses can no longer afford to waste time with lengthy business analysis, development and implementation projects spanning two or more years. Organization leaders know that change must occur rapidly to remain competitive, retain current clients, and attract new business and BPM has become the method of choice.

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Topics: business process management, bpm

5 Benefits of Intelligent Document Recognition

Jul 14, 2016 9:15:24 AM by John Mancini

How can Intelligent Document Recognition change the way you view business processes?

The combination of pressure to reduce costs, comply with stringent regulations, and
satisfy ever-increasing customer service demands is placing a big strain on operations
and processes that rely on unstructured information such as documents, images and
e-mails.

Making matters worse is the explosion of information that must be managed efficiently
and securely, and the increasingly diverse channels through which documents arrive.
Approximately two-thirds of those surveyed report that the volume of documents (paper and electronic) flowing through their operations increased between 2014 and 2016, according to a 2016 survey conducted by Brousseau & Associates and commissioned by ibml. What’s more, two-thirds of organizations report that the volume of paper alone flowing through their document processing operations is unchanged or higher compared to two years ago.

A 2015 InfoTrends study found that implementation of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street
Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is one of the main drivers behind higher
volumes of paper and digital documents at financial services organizations. For
organizations in other industries, “big data” initiatives are requiring the capture of more
data, faster and more accurately than ever.

Intelligent document recognition provides five key benefits that transform unstructured information into the fuel that ignites better processes and insight:

  1. Accelerated document processing cycle times
  2. Streamlined regulatory compliance
  3. Enhanced service
  4. Reduced operating expense
  5. Streamlined document preparation

Interested in learning more?  Check out this new white paper, 5 Benefits of Intelligent Document Recognition, by AIIM Board member Dan Lucarini.

Get Your Free White Paper

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Topics: ocr, scanning, capture, recognition, icr

What the Heck is Intelligent Document Recognition?

Jul 11, 2016 9:50:50 PM by John Mancini

How Does Intelligent Document Recognition Work?

Intelligent document recognition provides three key capabilities that transform unstructured information into the fuel that ignites better processes and insight:

1. Classification: Intelligent document recognition interprets content and patterns on documents to automatically classify paper and electronic documents into different document types, and determine the beginning and end of a document. For instance, intelligent document recognition can apply optical character recognition (OCR) technology to an entire document to capture information and compare it with data stored in lookup tables about known document types. 

2. Extraction: Once a document is classified, intelligent document recognition automatically extracts important data from anywhere on the document, creating information to start a business process and/or to populate a database in a downstream application such as an accounting system, enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, customer relationship management (CRM) system, or enterprise content management (ECM) system. 

3. Release: Intelligent document recognition solutions automatically export data and images (such as searchable PDFs) to a business process/workflow or to any downstream system. This information is immediately available for use, to gain insights into operations and customers, or enabling workers to quickly take action.

Interested in learning more?  Check out this new white paper, 5 Benefits of Intelligent Document Recognition, by AIIM Board member Dan Lucarini.

Get Your Free White Paper

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Topics: ocr, scanning, capture, recognition, icr

12 Things You Can Do NOW to Use BPM to Drive Digital Transformation

Jun 6, 2016 5:15:39 PM by Bob Larrivee

Process improvement and workflow are not new; in fact they have been around since the late 1980s.  Yes, they have evolved and continue to do so but as was true of ECM, Business Process Management -- once seen as a nice to have -- is now considered a critical part of business operations.

Process improvement and automation using BPM as the framework is an essential part of the Digital Transformation of businesses. The more paper is eliminated from processes and digitally born information is created, the greater the dependence upon and need for efficient, effective, and secure digital workflows. When assessing process improvement and automation opportunities, include the identification of and ways various information sets are integrated with the process and remember to look at the end-to-end process rather than just the departmental workflow. What gets changed in the department could have negative impact on other departments feeding this process or that this process feeds.

Our new survey (executive summary downloads free -- Process Improvement and Automation 2016) is available!

business process and automation  

12 Key Process Improvement and Automation Recommendations:

  1. Begin with existing process maps if they exist and if they do not; create at minimum, high level maps to document the steps in the process.
  2. Identify areas of opportunity for process improvement. Look for bottlenecks in the process and ways these bottlenecks can be eliminated. Perhaps use of parallel processing would be the approach.
  3. Improve the existing process before introducing automation or extending the automation capabilities you have in place. Automating an inherently bad process will not resolve the underlying issues.
  4. Uncover the real business problem you are trying to solve. When you are told that the issue is slow processing times or too many exceptions, look deeper into the root cause. Ask the question of why there are too many exceptions.
  5. Assess how paper can be eliminated from the process. If the reason for paper is one of acquiring signatures, explore how esignature can be incorporated to enhance the process and eliminate the paper.
  6. Take time to design the process. The best question to ask is why things are done the way they are and then explore how it could be different.
  7. Take inventory of your current BPM capabilities, using this as the foundation of reference when developing a set of requirements. In this way you can maximize your current investment and only purchase those technologies that are missing.
  8. Document the business requirements first. “I need capture capabilities of 500 pages-per-minute,” is not a business requirement. The business requirement is, “to process 10,000 applications per day, in 50 locations around the globe.”
  9. Build your functional requirement based on the business requirements. Map the current process of capturing applications from each location, including volumes and all activities to bring this information into your systems.
  10. Develop technical requirements based on the functional requirements and map these against your current technology sets. In other words, do a gap analysis to determine what is missing then seek to purchase the missing elements.
  11. Consider how cloud and mobile device use, along with mobile apps, can help address your current needs and support remote workers and stakeholder of your processes. At the same time, assess how these would be synchronized across the enterprise and the line-of-business applications. Remember that BPM can serve as the integrating mechanism.
  12. Establish a continuous improvement program that will periodically review and refine those changes you make now. BPM is not a one-stop project; it should be a cross-functional team sport that is ongoing across the enterprise.

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Some related resources on Business Process Management best practices worth checking out:

Download the FREE Process Improvement and Automation 2016 Executive Summary.

Check out this article on the survey -- AIIM research: more than half of businesses now view Process Management as imperative or significant

FREE white paper -- Business Process Management:  User Perceptions and Expectations

FREE webinar on June 15 with me -- No Longer a Luxury, BPM Is Imperative to Business Operations:  5 Steps to Learn How It Can Work for You.

Sign Me Up  

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Topics: process automation, business process management, business process, bpm, digital transformation,

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The Impact of SharePoint 2016