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The Upside-Down World of Content Management – Again

May 9, 2017 1:14:08 PM by John Mancini

"The World Turned Upside Down" is an English ballad, first published in the middle of the 1640s to protest the policies of Parliament relating to Christmas.  Parliament believed the holiday should be a solemn occasion, and outlawed traditional English Christmas celebrations.

Fans of the musical Hamilton will recognize the tune in another context.  After Battle of Yorktown in 1781, “The World Turned Upside-Down” was the song played by the British band as the British and Hessian troops marched out to surrender, the last major battle of the American Revolution, signifying the end of the British era in the Colonies.

In 2007, SharePoint began the long process of turning the world of ECM – Enterprise Content Management – upside down

This is what the ECM landscape looked like in 2007:

  • The focus was on automating content intensive, complicated, mission-critical processes within departments at very large organizations.  Think check processing in banking, or forms processing in insurance, or the new drug application process in pharmaceuticals.
  • Solutions were complex, custom and expensive and purchased by business buyers.
  • And most importantly, solutions were difficult to use and required LOTS of training.  But that really didn’t matter because “users” were limited to a handful of “documents” and “records” and “process” specialists within organizations.

Up until 2007.

While it was technically released at the end of 2006, in 2007, SharePoint (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, or ‘MOSS’) began to redefine the ECM industry around general knowledge workers rather than document “specialists” and leveraged Microsoft’s presence with IT staff. The ECM industry was in the process of being turned upside down, although at the time few realized it. In the early days of SharePoint MOSS, I asked a group of leading ECM providers what they thought about SharePoint.  The almost universal response was, “Well, I don’t know what SharePoint is doing, but it isn’t what we do.” 

After about a billion dollars in sales in what seemed like record time, the ECM industry recognized that the world had indeed been turned upside down, and ECM players refocused around working with rather than against SharePoint. 

The important thing to remember in the context of the current changes going on in the ECM space is during the first phase of the revolution, the frame of reference was still “traditional” ECM – content intensive, complicated, mission-critical processes within departments at very large organizations.  We tried to force all of that unruly and ad hoc knowledge worker content into a “traditional” ECM frame.  We tried to do this by putting additional content management solutions on top of SharePoint.

Knowledge worker content was still somewhat of an afterthought to supposedly “real” ECM content.  The fundamental assumptions for how we viewed content management remained those of “traditional” ECM.  The bias within the broader ECM community was still focused on those who needed to record content rather than those who need to work with content on a daily basis.

Fast forward to 2017. 

After a decade of radical change in consumer, mobile, and cloud technologies, we are on the cusp of a second revolution, one that truly will turn the content world upside down.  Forrester’s division of the content space into Transactional Content Services and Business Content Services reflects the revolution that is underway.

Forrester believes that transactional content drives high-volume customer-focused processes. In my terminology, this is the world of “traditional” ECM.  This is separate and different from business content.  Business content “includes familiar formats such as office documents, spreadsheets, email, and multimedia. The content may be formal (with structured templates or forms) or informal (created ad hoc)” and is directly tied to the experience of knowledge workers on a day-to-day basis.  

Businesses are looking for people-centric, simple processes allowing for a balance between personal management capabilities and organizational management requirements.  It is here that the future of content management is being defined.

Microsoft defines the stages of a modern content strategy as follows:

  • Create -- Create, collect, and share the documents you need to get your work done.
  • Coordinate -- Structure your teamwork and work together, using co-authoring, metadata, groups, taxonomy, and collaborative tools.
  • Protect -- Manage compliance and reduce risk with life cycle management, information architecture, auditing, rights management, and eDiscovery.
  • Harvest -- With efficient enterprise content services, use analytics to drive discovery, gain more control over content, and take more attuned actions which lead to better decisions.

While the Create/Coordinate/Protect/Harvest terms are Microsoft terms, they do reflect eight fundamental forces of disruption that are turning ECM upside-down once again – for real this time.

  1. The user experience in creating and sharing content is central to every follow-on content stage.
  2. Documents and content must be “born” managed – with fundamental content management metadata baked in at creation rather than bolted on.
  3. Metadata driven policies are increasingly critical to guide a piece of content from creation to archive and disposition and how it is throughout this lifecycle.
  4. Increasingly complex – and often contradictory – industry, legal, and government requirements increasing the need for a coherent information governance strategy.
  5. Organizations are demanding on premise, cloud, and hybrid solutions that work interchangeably.
  6. Privacy and security strategies are being redefined around what a document is rather than being based upon the devices upon which it is viewed.
  7. Users are demanding the ability to disaggregate content capabilities and to be able to buy and consume content management capabilities by the drink rather than buy the gallon.
  8. Process owners want to control how day-to-day processes are automated, and organizations want sanity and consistency in how this is done.

All of which points to yet another upside-down flip in the content management space.  This time, it’s a revolution truly originating with the needs and requirements of individual knowledge workers.  It is also a revolution that I think will ultimately redefine not only the world of business content, but also how transactional content is managed. Reevaluating traditional “legacy” ECM implementations in business content terms – rather than the other way around – will ultimately turn the ECM world upside-down.

Microsoft aspires to continue the revolution anew, as it reinvents SharePoint as a fundamental element of digital transformation.  They will reveal their updated vision at the SharePoint Virtual Summit on May 16, 2017 at 10am Pacific time.  This will be a free online event, and you can register at http://aka.ms/sharepointsummit.

Click on the image to Register:

I’m looking forward to learning more about how SharePoint responds to the next wave of disruption to ECM. 

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Topics: Microsoft Corporation, enterprise content management, ecm, sharepoint, office365

And the ECM Successor Award goes to -- Content Services...No That's Not It!

Mar 22, 2017 1:41:20 PM by John Mancini

2016 was certainly a year of radical change.  

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Topics: enterprise content management, ecm, AIIM17

Content Management -- A Quest for New Ground

Mar 3, 2017 10:40:00 AM by John Mancini

I'm working on finalizing some Q2 speaking gigs around some of high-level themes summarized in this table:

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Topics: enterprise content management, ecm, content services

4 ECM Detours and the Need for Content Migration

Mar 2, 2017 11:13:00 AM by John Mancini

The term The Enterprise Content Management (ECM) has been with us for 15 years.  It hasn’t been a perfect term, and perhaps in truth has been better suited as a description of a strategy than as a description for a set of IT tools and technologies.

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Topics: enterprise content management, ecm, enterprise file sync and share, content migration

Digital Transformation and the role of "ECM" – or whatever we wind up calling it!

Feb 28, 2017 10:03:00 AM by Hans van Hooff

Digital is changing people and organizations, not only in terms of technological opportunities, but also how people think about technology and its role in their lives. It’s no longer people who adapt to technology – rather, technology adapts to us (Accenture, Technology Vision 2017, Technology for People).

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Topics: enterprise content management, ecm, digital transformation,

4 Key Takeaways About File Sync and Share

Feb 15, 2017 9:45:00 AM by John Mancini

In a series of recent videos for Hyland (links at the end of this post), Cheryl McKinnon, principal analyst at Forrester Research spent some time talking about Enterprise Sync and Share capabilities and how they fit into an organization’s broader content strategy. She notes, “Enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) has really quickly become a core capability that a lot of busy information workers rely upon. I don’t see this as something enterprise IT buyers can ignore.”

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Topics: enterprise content management, ecm, efss, FIle Shares

Need a Content Management Quick Fix? Here's of 19 Them!

Feb 13, 2017 10:00:00 AM by John Mancini

In case you missed some of our new short-form "Tip Sheets," here's a full list. Happy reading!

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Topics: collabortion, data, enterprise content management, ecm, capture

Next Gen Information Management - How to Succeed in the Era of Content Services

Feb 10, 2017 11:00:00 AM by John Mancini

On February 2, we conducted an AIIM Community Roundtable to explore the implications of the Documentum acquisition by OpenText. A full recording of the webinar is available HERE.

We’ll be continuing our discussion on February 14 with release of a new AIIM white paper, Revolution or Evolution? 10 Strategies to Navigate the Shift from ECM to Content Services. Some of themes in the white paper will be discussed in a webinar on February 14 at 2 p.m. ET on Next Gen Information Management – Succeeding in a New Era. Registration information is HERE.

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Topics: enterprise content management, content, ecm, content services

My 8 Favorite Things from Image Management circa 1989

Jan 26, 2017 9:43:18 AM by John Mancini

I was working in my home office yesterday, and during a conference call, happened to look up at my bookshelf and saw what appeared to be a VHS tape.

Marvelling at both my eyesight and my tendency to save stuff because we might need it "someday" - which is also the information governance strategy many organizations employ - I took it off the shelf, dusted it off, and gave it a look.

The title was intriguing - Images of Change - as was the creator - AIIM - and the date - 1989, 7 years before I got to there. And given that we've been engaged recently in a bit of an industry history quest, as well as searching for intriguing AIIM Conference #TBT posts, I decided last night to embark on a quest to our basement and see if we still owned any devices upon which to play this VHS beast and see what was on this tape.

Low and behold, in another testimony to my "someday" skills, I found an old GoVideo player, hooked it up to the TV, positioned my phone in front of the TV to capture the video, posted the video to Youtube, and voila -- digital preservation. Well, sort of.

My favorite parts in the movie (click HERE).

  1. Transmitting images via what was likely a 4800 bit/second modem.  This must certainly have been fun.
  2. No email or web CTAs for more information on AIIM ("Call us or write us for more information.")
  3. The mean guy who thought he had been "stood up" for the appointment.
  4. The curious fact that the main character goes to Dulles Airport to fly to Washington, DC.
  5. Re the medical scene, this was obviously pre-HIPAA.
  6. The cucumber-cool "Murder, She Wrote" jewelry lady.
  7. The Guy With the Spider Tatoo.
  8. They had secretaries.

Find out what's going on NOW in the information management space. Early bird discount for AIIM17 ends 1-31.

Click to register for The AIIM Conference 2017

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Topics: enterprise content management, ecm, records management, AIIM17

Systems of Record, Engagement and...(Hint: It's ultimately bigger than content services)

Jan 24, 2017 3:23:39 PM by John Mancini

2016 was a pivotal year for content management.

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Topics: enterprise content management, ecm, systems of engagement, systems of record, systems of understanding

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