[This is a guest post by AIIM Chair Dan Antion, a well-known commenter on content management issues and trends. In real life, Dan is Vice President of Information Services at American Nuclear Insurers.]
My title serves a dual purpose. First, I will be sharing a couple success stories at the upcoming AIIM Conference. Second, and more important, the solutions I will be talking about are an example of the kind of success-sharing we should all be considering.
I don’t want to spoil my presentation, but the message I will be delivering is that it’s time to stop thinking about storing information and to start thinking about putting that stored information to work.
For the past many years, I’ve been focused on creating better, easier and more reliable ways of gathering information. I learned early on that we had to give some incentives to people, if we wanted them to cooperate with out information gathering efforts. If we could improve a process that was still somewhat manual, for example, we could encourage people to put stuff in SharePoint. If we could move some of that content to SharePoint Online, making access easier and more dependable, we might further encourage people to use the platform. Still, the bulk of our energy was being spent on collecting, identifying and processing information on its way into permanent storage.
But, why were we storing it?
Of course, we all know the answer(s). Perhaps it was compliance. Perhaps it was to reduce potentially staggering eDiscovery costs many years down the road. Perhaps, as designed, it was to improve the process of creating, reviewing and delivering those documents. And, perhaps, those documents, combined with the data we’ve been collecting in our various relational databases, could help someone do their job.
Insurance companies have lots of data, but it’s typically organized to complete a task. We need to know enough about a facility to calculate a premium. We need to know enough about the people who own the facility to send them an invoice for that premium. We need to remember that they had insurance in case there is a claim in the future. All the standard stuff that insurance companies keep.
We also inspect these facilities. Our engineers plan, conduct and write lengthy reports about those inspections. Those reports tell a story about risk management and the risk we insure. Because we were good little information professionals, those reports are stored along with enough metadata to connect them to those customers, those premium and those claims – should they occur.
Now, we’ve realized that by combining that data and those documents, we can give our employees a much more complete picture of risk management and the risk we insure. We can tailor that story to match the needs of the person reading it. We can aggregate the composite information for an upper management type and we can drill down into the details for that engineer on the road to one of those inspections.
I’ve spent 40 years, keeping data in a set of high-tech silos, and I’ve spent over 15 years, gathering documents into a different set of silos. Come see my presentation at The AIIM Conference 2017 to hear a little more about my epiphany – the stuff in those silos need to be combined.