What is the biggest problem facing information professionals? - cast your vote

Apr 13, 2015 6:59:14 PM by John Mancini


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ASAE Peeps Need to Pay Attention to LinkedIn Acquisition of Lynda

Apr 9, 2015 8:15:00 PM by John Mancini

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:

  1. professional certification that is a necessary ticket to be in that profession (i.e., you MUST have it to do your job);
  2. big trade show; and/or
  3. clear policy enemy or objective.

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.


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Topics: associations

The shortest #AIIM survey ever

Apr 8, 2015 9:35:00 PM by John Mancini

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Topics: erm, ecm, bpm

With apologies to Julie Andrews, these are a few of my favorite #AIIM15 tweets

Apr 6, 2015 2:32:00 PM by John Mancini

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...

Click here to Download


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Topics: RISK, process automation, content management, ecm, engagement, analytics

5 New Content Management White Papers Worth Checking Out

Apr 2, 2015 12:07:00 PM by John Mancini

5 New ECM White Papers

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?

Click here to Download


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Topics: erm, content management, ecm, records management

When riding a dead horse, dismount - #ECM in the era of Digital Disruption

Mar 25, 2015 4:56:00 PM by John Mancini

Download Content Management 2020!

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:

  1. Improve business processes to produce optimal business results; and
  2. Document or record those results and the information associated with them.

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:

  1. In between eras, the technologies that ultimately become dominant in the next era struggle for an identity and a label.  Ultimately an “industry” of key players emerge, and once this happens, the chaos that was characteristic of the time between eras is forgotten.
  2. In the early stages of each era, early adopters struggle with an absence of clear rules and best practices on how to best proceed.  Again, these ultimately emerge, but not without a great deal of confusion during the interim.

I believe there have been five main eras in managing the people, process, and information intersection.

  1. The Paper Era:  For hundreds of years, the technology that fueled the intersection of people, processes and information was paper. 
  2. The Micrographics Era:  During the 1950s, paper began to be replaced -- especially for the task of documenting and recording -- by microfilm and the Micrographics Industry was born.  But, paper still remained the primary technology tied to the unstructured information in a business process.
  3. The ERP Era:  In the 1960s, 1970s and into 80s, the first great wave of enterprise IT spending replaced ledgers with data, automated a significant portion of core back-end business processes, and gave birth to the ERP Industry.  Amidst this automation, paper still retained its dominant role -- it remained the primary means to convey information and was the primary way that business was documented on a daily basis.
  4. The Document Management and Workflow Era:  In the 1980s and 1990s, we replaced some of this paper -- mostly the high-volume kind -- in selected, mission-critical processes (like new drug applications in pharmaceuticals or claims processing in insurance).  We used closed local area networks to move these new electronic documents around among a limited number of specialized workers within the four walls of the enterprise. Document Management/Workflow emerged as the label we used to describe this era of people, processes and information.
  5. The ECM Era:  The emergence of the internet and the maturation of core document management and imaging technologies ushered in the Enterprise Content Management Era in the early 2000s. Never a perfect industry label -- and probably more accurately a verb (something you do) than a noun (something you buy) -- “ECM” nonetheless served as a useful umbrella term for a decade.  ECM described a cluster of capabilities and technologies that organizations used to capture, store, manage, deliver, and preserve the “content” (mostly images and documents) associated with processes that were 1) document intensive; and 2) mission-critical.

We are now beginning the transition to a sixth era -- beyond ECM --  in managing people, processes, and technology. 

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:

  • New approaches to privacy and security.
  • Ubiquitous broadband connectivity.
  • Bottom up rather than top down innovation.
  • Lots more virtual and distributed work.
  • A shortage of IT “connective” and analytic skills.
  • An OPEX vs. CAPEX procurement model.
  • Increased regulation of the cloud by national governments.

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: 

Where do I put my “stuff” so that it is secure, shareable, and searchable so that my ORGANIZATION can accomplish its goals?


How can I do so in a way that works the way I work and is useful to ME in getting my job done?

Let’s get to work.  What do you think?

  Download Content Management 2020!

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Finding the 'Weak Links' in Your ECM Ecosystem - Alix Kneifel

Mar 10, 2015 2:21:11 PM by John Mancini

[ 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. ]

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Topics: ecm, aiim15

Yet Another "The Dog Ate My Homework" Email Scandal

Mar 3, 2015 2:45:00 PM by John Mancini


As the quote goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

I guess fool me a gazillion times, and we're talking politicians.

Sometimes I feel like it is getting impossible to figure out where the politicians on The Good Wife and House of Cards leave off and where the real ones begin.

So let me get this straight.  We've got us another "Case of the Missing Emails."

Per the New York Times,

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act....Under federal law, however, letters and emails written and received by federal officials, such as the secretary of state, are considered government records and are supposed to be retained so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them. There are exceptions to the law for certain classified and sensitive materials.


Jason Baron, who is smarter than anybody else I know on this kind of thing, had this nuclear winter take (as quoted in the Times):

“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration....

“I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business,” said Mr. Baron, who worked at the agency from 2000 to 2013.

You can't make this stuff up.

In the interest of being balanced, here's an alternative take in the Daily Beast but the whole thing still doesn't sit right.


You might also enjoy...

The IRS E-Mail Scandal, Or How the Dog Ate My Homework -- Information Governance


We'll be talking about information chaos -- this is a good example -- in a couple of weeks at AIIM15.  Join us.



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Topics: email management, email, records management, nara

Prelim #ECM #Survey Results -- What's Your #ECM Strategy?

Mar 3, 2015 10:09:00 AM by John Mancini

In AIIM's new survey, "ECM Decisions: strategic options for managing, accessing and preserving content," we look at how organizations are optimizing their content management systems some 15 years since the term "ECM" was first introduced.

What's your ECM strategy?

Preliminary findings are pretty sobering:

  1. 46% have no access to their ECM systems from mobile devices
  2. 22% have no business-wide mobile policy.
  3. ECM is now a core platform for so many business functions, yet most organizations have more than one system, and they aren’t connected. Some of those systems support capture, or BPM, or mobile access, or cloud, or social -- or all, or none.

How about you? We have been surveying user issues in ECM for 10 years, and would love to have your input to this year’s survey.  We think that it will help focus your own strategic content management decisions.

At the end of the survey, you can opt in to a prize drawing for an Apple iPad-Air or a Microsoft Surface 2 (RT).

The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete (and you can skip questions if you wish). Your response is completely anonymous and your details will not be passed on to any third parties.


You might also be interested in this recent post -- Wanted: Practical Document Management Advice for Small Companies

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Topics: industry watch, ecm, Industry statistics and research

Wanted: Practical Document Management Advice for Small Companies

Mar 2, 2015 3:52:00 PM by John Mancini

Going back a few years, I used this chart from Geoffrey Moore from Dealing With Darwin – internally we call it the two-humped camel jpeg -- to talk about some of the changes occurring in the enterprise IT space, and more specifically, in the content management space. 

The way to interpret this diagram is like this…(Per Harvard Business Review)

Most companies in the first category [Complex-Systems Model] have large enterprises as their primary customers, while many in the second tend to be consumer oriented, but the distinction is not as simple as B2B versus B2C. Rather, it is more deeply rooted in their contrasting economic formulas. In the complex-systems model, vendors seek to grow a customer base of thousands, with no more than a handful of transactions per customer per year (indeed, in some years there may be none) but at an average price per transaction in six to seven figures. In this model, a thousand enterprises paying a million dollars each per year generate a billion dollars in revenue.  By contrast, in the volume-operations model, vendors seek to acquire a customer base of millions of consumers, with tens or even hundreds of transactions per consumer per year, at an average price of relatively few dollars per transaction. Here it takes ten million customers each spending $8 per month to generate a billion dollars in annual revenue.

In the Content Management space, we clearly have lots of left-hump, right-hump confusion at the moment. 

When we say the phrase “ECM” we immediately create left-hump images – images of complex, expensive, mission critical applications driving high volume transactional processes.  Or images of case management systems that operate at scale, linking together disparate content and data repositories to create a consistent and rationalized view of the customer in context.

SharePoint originally entered the market as a project-team-focused collaborative solution dealt out by IT staffs to business people to handle very basic file share replacement functionality. Clearly a right hump solution. However, as time has gone on, and the scale and complexity of SharePoint has grown – and as SharePoint began to be viewed as a business platform rather than a document-sharing application -- it migrated into Complex Systems Land.  This confusion is clearly reflected in AIIM’s just released SharePoint Industry Watch, Connecting and Optimizing SharePoint – important strategy choices.

But since SharePoint came along, the market flipped again, and there’s another set of solutions like (just for example, NOT intended as an exhaustive list) Evernote, Box, DropBox, Google at Work, Office365, and M-Files clearly focused on right-hump land.  And truly opening up the market to thousands of companies and organizations who previously and justifiably viewed document management (or heaven help us, ECM) as something way beyond their means.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with EITHER the left hump or the right hump.  They are just different.  I like to think there are two questions we should ask about a technology solution – 1) is it good technology?; and 2) is it appropriate technology?

I was reminded of this Complex Systems/Volume Operations dichotomy last week by an article in Forbes, The One Thing That Can Transform An Idea Into A Phenomenon.

We like to think that disruption happens in Silicon Valley and other technological hot spots, but the reality is that things only take off when they gain traction somewhere else.  The true face of revolution looks more like The Good Wife than it does Homeland. Innovation doesn’t become real when you read it in Wired, but when you see it on CNN….Ironically, it is often the early adopters, usually hobbyists who have built a tight knit community around new technology, who are most resistant to spreading it....And that’s why we call people like Steve Jobs geniuses.  They are the ones who are able to see that the grimy bunch that collected around the Homebrew Computer Club could one day morph into a throbbing mass of soccer parents shopping for sleek laptops.  It’s the interface, not the mechanics, that makes an idea “insanely great.”

Think for a moment about small businesses with between 10 and 100 employees.  Just as a data point, there are 1,074,459 of these firms just in the United States. 

How many of these 1,074,459 companies would be interested in a left hump “ECM” solution?  Probably less than 1%.

How many could benefit from a right-hump “good enough” document management and workflow solution?  I would bet almost all of the remaining 99%.  How many of these have even rudimentary document management capability and how many are just utilizing a mess of unmanaged file shares and local hard drives? I’ll bet the ratio is 5%/95%. 

I was talking to some colleagues about this "keep it simple" challenge today and they came up with a good personal analogy that is extendable to organizations.  How many people use all -- or even a majority -- of the functionality built into Excel?  Answer -- probably just a very few finance types.  How many just want to do some pretty simple things with spreadsheets, things that are terrifically useful but not very complicated?  Almost everyone else.

I recently spoke with a legal clinic that had these fairly typically information chaos challenges:

  1. They process about 2,000 submissions per year (and 20,000 files needing back-file conversion)
  2. They don’t have a lot of IT staff and those they have aren’t terribly helpful with “document” questions.
  3. They have about 75 people on staff. Relatively few process the submissions, but a lot of the 75 access them.
  4. They need a solution that is 1) cloud-based, 2) easy to use, 3) able to scan directly into a repository (all submissions initially paper) using the MFPs they already own, 4) able to do so with full-text search (currently just static PDFs) and to automatically apply basic metadata, 5) able to check on who accessed which files.

Clearly this legal clinic needs mid-range right hump functionality.  Complex Systems Land is not even on the radar screen.

Which brings me to my point, and the points upon which I would like your help.

What does a company with 10-100 employees need to know to simply manage documents effectively and responsibly? 

How can they do this for less than $25,000? (Can they?)

Post a comment and let’s get the “Document Management on a Shoestring” conversation started.


We'd love to see you at AIIM15 in a few weeks.


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Topics: document management

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