AIIM - The Global Community of Information Professionals

How We Learned to Love Event Based Retention

Feb 16, 2018 10:23:00 AM by Anthony Paille

Allow me to introduce you to Wendy McLain, Manager of Enterprise Content & Records Management at Valero. Valero is a publicly traded international oil and gas company, with revenue in the billions of dollars.

Wendy will be presenting at The AIIM Conference 2018. Her session is called "How We Learned to Love Event Based Retention: A Valero Energy Case Study in Records Management." I thought this would be a great time to catch up with Wendy and ask her some questions.

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Topics: email management, retention, electronic records management, aiim conference, AIIM18

Braindates: How We’re Kicking Peer-to-Peer Learning Up a Notch at #AIIM18

Jan 29, 2018 9:34:11 AM by Georgina Clelland

Say you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Ache here, pain there, friends asking “Are you ok? You look...tired.” What’s the first thing you’ll do? Go to the doctor?

Of course not.

You Google your symptoms, so you can judge if 1) you can cure what ails you on your own, or 2) it’s worth the hassle of going in to see your doctor. If you do end up going, you’ll proudly share your diagnosis with her before she can even examine you, just to make sure she doesn’t waste your time.

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Topics: aiim conference, AIIM18

After the Love is Gone...

May 3, 2017 11:06:00 AM by Peggy Winton

After watching this "Look Back at AIIM17" video, it’s hard to believe that more than a month has passed since we were in Orlando. And yet, the keynotes, sessions, festivities and fireworks feel like they took place ages ago. The sheer energy rush and euphoria that characterizes a gathering of the tribe like ours has already been replaced with a “back-to-work” resoluteness. After all, we’ve got work to do, to develop the ideas exchanged and the promises made.

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Topics: information management, information, aiim conference, AIIM17, AIIM18

Scrum: A More Agile Framework for Your Next Records Management Project

Jan 26, 2017 10:05:00 AM by Gordon Brown


In my current role as Manager of Records Services at the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA), I am responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the records management and archives section of the agency. In addition, I serve as the Product Owner for our Document Management Automation Squared (DMA2) project.

Our DMA2 project encompasses many aspects of electronic records management, including: providing new SharePoint sites, selected migration of records from old SharePoint sites and shared drives, classification and disposition of electronic records in these repositories, deduplication of records, and training and outreach.

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Topics: information, aiim conference, project management, AIIM17

How to Turn 3 Days at #AIIM17 into 365 Days of Action

Jan 20, 2017 9:37:00 AM by Peggy Winton




The problem with most conferences is that, while they inspire and motivate onsite, they fail to provide lasting prescriptive guidelines or hacks that can be applied “back at the ranch.” This deficiency may lay with the conference program itself, lack of planning on the part of the attendee, or both. At AIIM17, our goal is to ensure that your three-day investment delivers at least a year’s worth of value to you and your organization.

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Topics: information management, information, aiim conference, AIIM17

A Case Study of a One Size Fits All RIM SharePoint

Jan 28, 2015 2:00:00 PM by John Mancini

[ This is a guest post from Christine Padilla, Director, ECM, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. Christine will be sharing Sunovion's experience implementing a one size fits all ECM & RIM solution at The AIIM Conference in San Diego. ]

Hello All - I'm excited to be speaking about our RIM/Sharepoint implementation in March. Let me give you a little taste of what Renee (RIM Director) and I will be presenting at the conference.

 AIIM15-EB-Banner

While I've been in the industry for over 15 years that last 5 years of working on Records Information Management (RIM) at Sunovion have been my first experience with this program. I say "program" because that is what RIM is -it never ends like a project - but continues on and on and reaches deep within a company - impacting every employee as trusted custodians and many departments such as IT and Legal.

Over the course of these past 5 years our program has had many stops and starts as we lost and gained executive sponsorship, changed strategic direction and evaluated technology options. But all along we have known that perfect couldn't get in the way of progress. We have used that approach to get our company two-thirds of the way to a complete implementation of the RIM lifecycle - classification, declaration, legal hold, expiration, disposition and finally deletion. Legal hold, while in the middle of the lifecycle, is our current and last focus - with the other pieces in place and/or fully tested just waiting to be implemented. We've made gotten this far on a small budget with limited resources. Both Renee (RIM Director) and I were a team of 1 when we started and we are each a team of 2 now - still small when it comes to supporting a company of over 800 employees, more than 500 collaboration sites and 25 years worth of content on file servers. We knew we had to leverage the technology we had - SharePoint - to the expertise we had in-house for RIM - to create a solution that would be accepted by the employees, meet the business requirements and be supportable by IT.

So maybe this strikes a chord with you - limited resources, small budget, lots of content to manage but potential to make a big impact on the organization. Let me know what questions you might have - See you in March.

[ Thanks for reading! See Christina and many other wonderful speakers March 18-20 at The AIIM Conference 2015 in San Diego. ]

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Topics: ecm, aiim conference, sharepoint

Oil & Gas: The Move From Documents to Data

Jan 28, 2015 11:00:00 AM by John Mancini

[ This is a guest post from Neale Stidolph, Head of Information Management, Lockheed Martin UK. Neale will be speaking at The AIIM Conference in San Diego on Information Management in the Oil & Gas Industry. ]

People often seem to think oil & gas companies are leading-edge and have enough money to invest in whatever systems they like, and that they live in a World of 3D models, data and analytics. The real picture is often very different. Exploration and production companies, who search for and extract hydrocarbons, see information systems and information management as something necessary but not something that excites the interest of the board. Data is certainly much in evidence, but information overall is not treated as ‘the new oil’ by the industry. Much of the focus on data is within the geoscience discipline, from the creation of seismic surveys to reservoir modelling and interpretation. The techniques have changed a bit, but mostly we see increases in resolution, frequency and speed of analysis. This clearly improves the odds of making a discovery and reduces the financial risks of drilling.

Engineering is the domain where there are pockets of data and certainly plenty of systems and methods that could help, but it isn’t working very well for many businesses. Most oil companies do not achieve data-centric engineering and do not practice engineering lifecycle management, though they may believe their engineering contractor does this form them. Records, drawings, specifications, datasheets and other documents are variously controlled, uncontrolled, lost, out of date, duplicated, rendered and generally not in an acceptable condition or one that can be used to advantage. The data is there, data which could provide for faster, less risky and cheaper engineering projects. It is not readily available in the right form, cannot always be trusted and spans incompatible systems often involving several firms in the oil supply chain, with inconsistent or missing metadata.

Value is being eroded or destroyed and opportunities are being missed. In most other sectors that would be game-over, and tragically in some cases we see fatal consequences. Why does it persist in oil? Because the industry has been profitable enough to be inefficient and just works around the problems.

So, what’s the issue? Nothing stays the same and what worked in one era may not work in another. The current oil & gas business environment is very challenging. It is tough enough finding and exploiting reserves, be it oil sands, fracking, high-pressure / high-temperature, deep water and often unstable geopolitics. Add to that the problems of huge swings in oil price, fast-rising costs and falling production volumes in mature provinces and you have a perfect storm.

The sector is challenging with huge projects and lots of legacy information changing hands over the life of assets. The digital age is suffering from rising information chaos, scale of growth and pace of change. A documents and records approach is only partially working and does not support easy use of underlying data. Data is the key to analytics and better decision making. This will be the future as resources diminish, risks rise and returns fall.

1. Tackling legacy information
Oil feels like a modern industry but it is one that has existed through a time of great technological change. We have gone from drawings made with pen and paper, to primitive CAD systems, smarter systems with 3D capability and engineering data warehouses. Many firms are holding information spanning these technical generations, archives of paper, microfiche, scanned image files and a range of electronic files or tape media some of which were made by systems that no longer exist, so can’t be easily opened or converted. Value still exists but you have to know where to look and how to do it. Legacy projects can take many years and be very labor intensive and that will not suit the board.

If you are in a firm that acquires an oil field from another firm you should expect a very large and diverse range of information and are unlikely to be given much guidance or structure. That presents a major risk. This first phase is about discovery, what do you have, in what forms and what are the areas of greatest value?

2. Mining data from documents
Once there is an appreciation of what documents or drawings to target it is time to get tactical and deploy appropriate techniques that will make them more useful. Common safety-critical documents include piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), isometrics, and line lists. If you are working with a scan you can use OCR, but it isn’t easy to do well, you may need to have it re-drawn or at least manually checked by someone with appropriate engineering or document control skills. That takes time and money.

You will also need to validate if the drawing version control is correct as drawings are often marked up for changes but never re-mastered or ‘as-built’, sitting in backlogs that can last years. You will also need to look at current processes to make sure appropriate data capture exists for new drawings, otherwise your legacy stack will just increase. What we are looking to do is relate engineering objects, such as a pump with a tag number, to drawings and other documents. We would also then like to know what class of pump it is, details of its technical and physical features and have the ability to link all that to a maintenance plan and spare parts inventory. This will all support safety cases and ultimately the license to operate. Poor asset lifecycle management will lead to issues such as poor handover from projects to operations, where gaps in information will cause delays, extra costs and inefficiency. We must remove the problems that are leading to duplicated effort and costs.

3. Using data analytically
This is where the action is, where we get the real returns for all our efforts. Much of the labor of information management is about governance, or in other words building a stable foundation for our information. That is a tough and thankless task. Many fall short of even this level of maturity. It is not a popular line to pursue for the CIO, he won’t be making friends. So, we answer it with analytics. Show the business the money to be saved, risks avoided and improved decision making. From the previous example of our pump, analytics can ingest all forms of information concerning this single item. We can use inspection reports (free text), maintenance systems (database), sensor readings (real-time data), images and more. What do we get? Historical analysis and future prediction. We could just replace that pump after a number of hours use as per manufacturer guidelines, but what we really want to do is know exactly how it is performing, how best to manage it and the most cost-effective yet safe way of proceeding. The benefit across an oil business may result in a few percent savings in operations and maintenance. Sounds small? Given that this is often the largest area of expenditure for the business the savings can be very large indeed. One day of lost production can cost millions of dollars. Skilful information management can play a leading role in improving production efficiency and delivering competitive advantage. It all hinges on digging into the data and being smart.

My AIIM 2015 presentation will cover the range of points made in this blog and provide some practical suggestions on solving them.

[ Thanks for reading! See Neale and many other wonderful speakers March 18-20 at The AIIM Conference 2015 in San Diego. ]

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Topics: change management, aiim conference, information chaos

Change Management: From Chaos to Transformation

Jan 27, 2015 3:58:32 PM by John Mancini

[ This is a guest post from Laurie Fischer from the Huron Consulting Group. Laurie will be speaking at The AIIM Conference in San Diego on Change Management. ]

Change permeates and envelopes us, and is the one constant in our lives.  Think of all the workplace changes in just the past few years related to how we create, use, share, retain and dispose of information.  Our ever-increasing need to collaborate and communicate, to analyze and innovate, and to “be mobile” has led to sometimes massive change to existing technologies as well as new solutions that enable us to attain our objectives.

Since change is inevitable, then why is the lack of managing that change the number one reason technology projects fail?  The oldest and strongest emotion in mankind is fear, with fear of the unknown topping the list.  So perhaps it is fear of the unknown that is behind the failure to adopt, accept and enable change.

Often, change management efforts focus on process changes, and training employees on those revised processes required by the implementation of new technologies. There is so much more to change management, however, than a training plan and a communication protocol.  Where change management is really needed is on the “people side” of change.  What are some obvious signs of employee resistance to change?

  • Decline in productivity as employees feel de-motivated
  • Key employees get frustrated and quit
  • Work-around’s (often very creative!) escalate
  • A culture of failure grows and employees ask themselves “why bother?”
  • Deterioration in morale and employees spend a lot of time sharing in the misery
  • A mistrust of management and leadership due to a lack of transparency and availability
  • Employees proactively try to sabotage the system

Let’s look at the other side of the coin now, where change is embraced and integrated. The impact to the bottom line can be significant. Adapting to change (and doing so quickly) in response to marketplace needs or technology innovation can result in a competitive advantage, increased market share and profits.  Organizations that refuse to change get left behind.

Of course, not all change management efforts are the same.  The magnitude of the change (type, scope, size, number of employees affected, etc.), the potential resistance, and a vision of what the change will look like are all significant factors in determining the complexity of a change management strategy.  An initial impact analysis will help define the capacity for change.  However, if there is one key critical success factor to all change management initiatives, it is the clear demonstration of leadership support. Is there a leadership team that is accountable for the success of the change?  Do leaders invest their personal time and attention to following through on actions related to the change?

Come join me at AIIM where, straight from the trenches, I will share real life examples of successful change management efforts as well as epic failures.  We’ll investigate the winning formula for successful integration of change into the organization – whether it’s a change in information management roles and responsibilities, process and procedures and / or technology.  Incorporating key change management principles will increase the success of change management initiatives by applying a structured framework of methods, tools and processes, to manage the change from current to future state, and realize real ROI.

Click to Learn More About AIIM's Change Management Course

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Topics: change management, aiim conference, information chaos

The #AIIM15 Digital Transformation Hot Seat: The Dark and Dirty of Big Data

Jan 21, 2015 1:42:49 PM by John Mancini

As we start to think about #AIIM15, I thought I would ask a number of our sponsors a few identical questions in order to get an understanding of how they see the future of our industry -- and let those of you attending start to think about your own questions to ask them in San Diego.  Here are the three questions I'll ask:

  1. What are the three biggest challenges you see your customers facing while trying to “Embrace the Chaos”?
  2. What do you see as the three most important trends related to Information Management facing organizations over the next 18-24 months? What will be different in our industry two years from now?
  3. What are the three most important things attendees should know about your company?

Roger Beharry Lall, Director of Market Strategy and Research at Adlib Software, says organizations need to take control of their information today before it hits critical mass.

What are the three biggest challenges you see your customers facing while trying to “Embrace the Chaos”?

  1. The collection, organization and publishing of all of the required information in order to meet compliance demands – from internal corporate mandates to broad-based industry standards like FDA, SOX and more.
  2. The inability to access content to support business growth. Organizations are looking to improve collaboration across the enterprise, which means better access to content. One way to do this is to implement effective archiving solutions so that content is always accessible and available for the long term. Leveraging industry standards like PDF/A will enable teams across the organization to access content at any time from anywhere. 
  3. The inability to understand and access information. While organizations have done a good job of moving from paper to electronic format, and standardizing with formats like PDF for digitally born content, they now face an additional challenge around digesting this information: ensuring that text and images are readable; that information can be accessed automatically without manual reformatting; easily extracting insight from documents; sorting, de-duplicating, attributing and deleting files. These are all critical, but often ignored in favor of more advanced ‘Big Data’ initiatives. 

What do you see as the three most important trends related to Information Management facing organizations over the next 18-24 months? What will be different in our industry two years from now?

  1. The shift in focus from “Big Data” projects to more specific projects like addressing “Dark Data” and “Dirty Data”, focusing on more effective/efficient content analytics endeavors. 
  2. The recognition that content management solutions should be “enterprise” , not departmental solutions.
  3. With more and more importance being placed on compliance, the PDF and PDF/A standards will become more and more prevalent in solving this for organizations. Moreover though, organizations will actively look at solutions to optimize those PDFs making them more accessible, standardized, and automated. 

We believe that in two years, information chaos will have reached an all time high unless organizations act now to gain control of their content. This situation will put many of them at great risk. Think compliance, archiving, the draining of resources. There is a way to get ahead of the curve and proactively ensure content is secure so that in two years they aren’t playing catch up and having to turn their attention away from core business projects to deal with document problems.

What are the three most important things attendees should know about your company?

  1. That PDF is more than just a standard - it can be applied to organizations in a broad range of industries to solve complex business problems 
  2. That our Advanced Rendering technology centralizes, automates and enhances critical business processes like compliance and archiving – reducing manual dependencies to reduce information risk. 
  3. That customers and partners are using Advanced Rendering technology not only for content output and archiving, but also to optimize the capture and ingestion of incoming or digitally born information.
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Topics: PDF/A, aiim conference, analytics, big data

The #AIIM15 Digital Transformation Hot Seat: 2015 - The Year CIO Means "Career Isn't Over"

Jan 21, 2015 12:04:00 PM by John Mancini

As we start to think about #AIIM15, I thought I would ask a number of our sponsors a few identical questions in order to get an understanding of how they see the future of our industry -- and let those of you attending start to think about your own questions to ask them in San Diego.  Here are the three questions I'll ask:

  1. What are the three biggest challenges you see your customers facing while trying to “Embrace the Chaos”?
  2. What do you see as the three most important trends related to Information Management facing organizations over the next 18-24 months? What will be different in our industry two years from now?
  3. What are the three most important things attendees should know about your company?

Phil Robinson, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Zia Consulting, says CIO does NOT stand for "Career is Over".

What are the three biggest challenges you see your customers facing while trying to “Embrace the Chaos”?

The three biggest challenges we’ve seen our customers face here at Zia are 1.) Garnering ECM user adoption (vs. “ECM avoidance”), 2.) Addressing the compliance and security needs of the organization versus the wants of users, and 3.) Avoiding the notion that CIO means “Career is Over”.

ECM Avoidance and IT vs. Users: The legacy of ECM systems is one of complexity, with challenging user interfaces, multiple logins, and more—which is why for most organizations, email applications and shared drives are still the dominant form of “content management”. It’s also why many ECM technologies are best known as “shelfware”. We believe that when you offer solutions that “work the way you do, using the tools you use today,” users aren’t forced to embrace alternatives that don’t fit Enterprise IT strategy. Solutions that leverage tools like Office, Email, and SharePoint Integration and Cloud Sync deliver content management systems that work—providing the ease of use and familiarity users want, with the security and compliance companies need.

CIO = Career Isn’t Over. If CIOs can solve the ECM avoidance issue—maintaining employee usage of tools they prefer to use like email and SharePoint—while addressing security concerns around tools like Dropbox and solving Governance with simplified Records Management processes, they will have taken a major step in ensuring they still have a job in 2016. Once that’s done, the CIO can take the next step towards the boardroom by delivering technology as a competitive advantage, truly impacting the strategic direction of the enterprise. Thus, the title of CIO can actually mean “Career Isn’t Over”.

What do you see as the three most important trends related to Information Management facing organizations over the next 18-24 months? What will be different in our industry two years from now?

We believe the three most important trends related to Information Management over the next 18 – 24 months are 1.) Solving SharePoint, 2.) Solving document security, and 3.) Solving information governance/records management issues.

Solving SharePoint: Across both the public and private sector, companies have made an investment in SharePoint and it is clear that it isn’t going to simply disappear from their daily operations. Instead of looking to replace SharePoint, executives often want to implement control and compliance around it—essentially implementing a co-existence strategy. Through our partnership with SeeUnity, we’ll often integrate existing SharePoint instances with a more powerful content hub on the backend such as Alfresco, so that users can continue to collaborate in the way they are accustomed to while still addressing the company’s true document and records management needs.

Solving Document Security: Often what keeps a CIO up at night are concerns about appearing on the front-page of the newspaper due to a leak of corporate data/documents. Fortunately, there are secure collaboration solutions available that address this issue for both internal documents as well as those going outside the organization. Through a strategic partnership with Covertix, Zia’s Universal Document Security (UDS) solutions deliver secure collaboration whether it's via email, Alfresco Cloud, or even consumer sharing technologies such as Dropbox or Box.net. These solutions enable internal and external parties to share confidential files with monitoring, auditing and control--significantly reducing overall risk.

Solving Information Governance/Records Management: The legacy of Records Management systems is one where RM solutions have traditionally been designed for dedicated compliance offers, rather than content creators, and deployed in a standalone environment, disconnected from collaboration and ECM systems. This duplication of effort, moving documents from ECM to RM systems and back again, adds tremendous cost and complexity to the information governance effort within the Enterprise, and makes it challenging for Users to find and use records when they need them. To combat this issue, we provide Easy Records Management (Easy RM) Solutions where “everyone’s a records manager, and nobody knows it” - connecting those who are creating content with the compliance process. Easy RM incorporates the tools you use on a daily basis, reducing barriers to implementation and adoption.

What are the three most important things attendees should know about your company?

The three most important things to know about our company in 2015 are 1.) If you are a CIO, we can help save your career, 2.) We are content people who solve your business needs surrounding the management of your business critical content, and 3.) We work with you.

CIO = Career Isn’t Over: Traditionally, the primary role of the CIO is to secure and govern information, while also make technology investments that provide cost savings for the company. The CIO is known for putting their focus on reducing costs instead of adding new value, and has been criticized widely since 2008 as having little knowledge of what it actually means to be a CEO or sit on a board. However, Zia would like to offer 5 reasons you still need a CIO (and how we can help save their career): 1.) To solve ECM avoidance once for all, 2.) To solve SharePoint, 3.) To solve the DropBox problem, 4.) To solve Information Governance, and 5.) Once 1-4 are completed, deliver true business value with technology as a competitive advantage.

Content People: Zia understands the importance of content to your success–with a focus on where your content comes from and, more importantly, where you need it to be. We recognize that these requirements may be unique to your industry, which is why we have established Zia Public Sector Solutions, Zia Solutions for Financial Services, and other vertical-focused practice groups. Additionally, we appreciate that content workflows differ by division or department, which is why we’ve developed solutions for Corporate Finance, Corporate Legal, Human Resources, and other branches of your organization. To address the critical role that content plays in the strategic direction of your organization, Zia’s “Content Consultancy” Services deliver an end-to-end assessment of your existing content processes and a roadmap for how document automation and other enhancements can provide a measurable impact on your organization’s success.

Working with You: At Zia, we are committed to providing measurable business results on time and within budget. We deliver solutions powered by industry-leading partners like Alfresco for ECM and Ephesoft for Intelligent Document Capture to give us the benefits of an open platform and the most modern technology in the content world. As a guiding principle, we will always work with you, in a true partnership, to provide a solution that is yours to own and manage in the future.

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Topics: information governance, aiim conference, sharepoint, security

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