AIIM - The Global Community of Information Professionals

[Podcast] The Intelligent Approach to SharePoint and Office 365

Nov 6, 2018 9:45:00 AM by Sean McGauley

How do you make SharePoint and Office 365 deliver value as an intelligent information management platform? That's what we sought to find out when we first contacted SharePoint expert, Rob Bogue. Rob basically eats, breathes, and sleeps SharePoint, so we knew he'd be the perfect one to work with.

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Topics: podcast, digital disruption, sharepoint, office365, training

Implementing Information Management on SharePoint and Office365

Nov 17, 2017 12:42:35 PM by Jesse Wilkins

It's hard to overestimate the impact of SharePoint on the information management market. Since its humble beginnings in 2001, it has grown to nearly 200 million seats and is found in every industry sector. If you're reading this blog post, you likely have SharePoint in your organization.

But SharePoint can't magically make your information more accessible. There is no SharePoint fairy that assesses all your information, uploads just the valuable stuff to SharePoint, applies appropriate access controls, and fills in the metadata. In fact, most organizations with SharePoint aren't particularly satisfied with it - through no fault of SharePoint or its capabilities. Rather, there are two main issues.

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Topics: sharepoint, office365, information management, governance

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. 

from ECM to Intelligent Information Management

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.


Interested in the Current State of Information Management?  Get an Executive Summary of our latest market research study - free!


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

Sharing Success -- SharePoint and Lessons in Risk Management

Feb 6, 2017 10:47:00 AM by Dan Antion

[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.

Click to register for The AIIM Conference 2017


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Topics: sharepoint, RISK, risk management, content management, ecm, AIIM17

The Problem with SharePoint - Technology or People?

Oct 21, 2016 4:25:38 PM by Bob Larrivee

I hear people from around the globe, complain about SharePoint that it doesn’t do this, or we thought it did that. Yet the AIIM Industry Watch Report titled “The Impact of SharePoint 2016” finds when it comes to SharePoint meeting organizational expectations, nearly half of our respondents are happy with SharePoint and the on-going product roadmap, with half also in agreement that SharePoint is providing good value for the cost.

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Topics: sharepoint

10 Key Data Points You Need to Know About Sync and Share

Sep 14, 2016 8:50:18 AM by John Mancini

10 Things You Need to Know about Enterprise File Sync and Share

First of all, if you don't know what "Enterprise File Sync and Share" means, that's OK.  A colleague in a company recently asked a group of customers how many of them had unauthorized file sync and share usage in their organizations.  A total of 2 hands went up in a big crowd. Mystified at this -- since this is a BIG issue in organizations -- but committed to his faithful Powerpoint, he plodded on.  

Still mystified, he later asked his audience to be candid -- "Do you know what I'm talking about?" A few brave hands responded no, and he clarified -- "You know, lots of people using tools like Dropbox without any approvals or guidelines."  Every hand went up. Score one for the use of technology marketing labels that sound great to vendors and consultants.

That notwithstanding, the "Dropbox" phenomenon is a BIG issue for organizations.  We recently asked a group of end-user organizations for their perspectives, and the major findings follow:

  1. 38% of respondents say that 50% or more of their organization has a need to share files with someone outside of their organization. 
  2. 58% of respondents say they are using third-party cloud apps for sharing outside of the corporate network, with 49% saying they use FTP sites. 
  3. When asked about standards for cloud-based sharing, 35% say they have some level of sanctioned file-sharing standard in place. 
  4. Unsanctioned file sharing tools are in use by 65% of those polled.
  5. 21% of respondents say they have an information governance manager or director in place. IT is held responsible for ensuring proper use of tools, policies, and procedures for 45% of responding organizations.
  6. Lack of insight on what is being shared outside the company is a concern for 60% of organizations. Controlling who can share and data loss after termination of employment is of concern to 49% of organizations.
  7. Education is a key element in preventing unauthorized sharing for 65% of respondents. Monitoring of the user community is a practice for 46%. Integration/Interoperability
  8. Opportunity for integration is there for the 50% of organizations indicating they have no integration between their file sync and share tool and their core applications. A tightly programmed integration is in place for 11% while 16% say they use add-on products.
  9. The ability to easily revoke a user’s rights, especially once they have left the organization, is a top feature sought by 77% of respondents. The ability to gain insight and audit file-sharing activities is high on the list for 60%.
  10. Security is on the minds of 71% of respondents, indicating that the use of unique encryption keys is very important. Assurance that their information is siloed from other clients of a cloud provider is considered very important for 65% of respondents.

To respond to current customers, create new business opportunities and maintain an overall competitive advantage, organizations need secure, timely, and accurate access to key information. This requires a holistic approach to information and content management – developing and supporting an information ecosystem that offers an infrastructure for sharing, collaborating, and analyzing content in ways that enhance its value and maximize its use.

Here are some resources that may be of interest.  Check them out -- all free.

Here are 2 new Infographics:

Stop, Think, and Share -- an Employee Guide to Sharing Content

Download the "Stop, Think and Share" Infographic

We've also released a White Paper, What's Happening With File Sync and Share?

Download Your White Paper


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Topics: sharepoint, Hyland Software, sharebase, efss, enterprise file sync and share

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


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


New York event-- October 6 at the Manhattan Penthouse


Toronto event -- October 13 at the Allstream Centre



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

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: sharepoint, ecm, content management, business process

Records, Community, EFSS, Email, PDF/A, SharePoint and Change. And More!

Aug 26, 2015 4:21:00 PM by John Mancini

Records and Information Management in Big Data

By Dennis Kempner 

Organizations, both large and small, are burdened with a high volume of data to store. In order to efficiently run a company, important data must be accessible, manageable and easily retrievable. The phrase “Big Data” refers to information and data that is too large for companies to manage and process on their own. Big Data is valuable for companies in that it can help to determine and fulfill customer needs thereby maximizing a company’s operational efficiencies. Companies with a lot of data need a team of professionals to manage this information. One effective solution to manage big data is Records and Information Management (RIM). Full article HERE - Records and Information Management in Big Data

The importance of community management

By Angela Ashenden 

A major area of debate and concern for organisations considering how to establish, grow and manage an online community is the importance of the community manager, and what exactly the role entails. As a general rule, every online community should be allocated a facilitator or community manager; while some communities will require more facilitation than others as they mature, this role is extremely important in the early days in order to encourage and stimulate activity and adoption, and to ensure the growing community remains focused on its primary objectives. Full article HERE - The importance of community management

The Hybridization of EFSS and ECM

By Chris Walker 

Consumer and enterprise file synchronization and sharing popped up because people needed a way to easily share and collaborate on business content. This gave rise to the “Dropbox problem”, which is just stupid and ignores the real problem; organizations didn’t provide their people with policies and tools that allowed them to get stuff done . Today there are plenty of options, consumer and business grade, that provide a cool experience with the security and controls that business and IT need. Organizations that haven’t sanctioned business grade file sync and share are foolish and open to a world of pain. Full article HERE - The Hybridization of EFSS and ECM

Email Management: Beyond Volume

By Lisa Ricciuti 

Working as an information management consultant I have definitely developed a new appreciation of email management challenges. Prior to consulting, I spent most of my time focused on what appears to be the biggest problem, volume. However, I now have a new understanding of the complexity involved with email management. There is no single “magic-bullet” solution that will resolve all the challenges. Most of the professional resources I read about email are focused on volume, how to manage it, and how to capture business records. When I think about the email problem and how it impacts my clients, the volume is really just a symptom of something much more.  Full article HERE - Email Management: Beyond Volume

Why PDF/A should matter to you

By Jose Machado 

One very important part of any Information Governance strategy is how long documents need to be kept in the organization, before being destroyed. These rules are influenced by various aspects, such as local legislation (retention period required by law), technical limitations (how much storage space is available), business factors, etc. Retention periods can be very long. Some examples in the UK: Human resources medical records must be kept for periods up to 40 or 50 years, in some situations. Government records (for building, accounting, health & safety, etc.) retention obligations are seldom under 10 years. Full article HERE - Why PDF/A should matter to you

People are at the Center of Change

By Christian Buckley 

Why is change so difficult? From an administrative perspective, it can mean giving up control, and letting go (at least that's the perception). It may also be a recognition of the gap between the philosophical idea of allowing people to manage their own sites and content, and the reality that, in general, these unmanaged environments are messy (especially when you later upgrade or migrate). Collaboration itself can be a difficult concept for people to embrace. It takes time to incorporate new tools and processes into your corporate culture, and many of the exciting new features that convinced your management team to adopt a technology may be counter-intuitive. Full article HERE - People are at the Center of Change

Mid-Year Market Summary from A SharePoint of View

By Mike Alsup 

This post summarizes market developments in the SharePoint, Office 365, and ECM ecosystems over the last quarter. I was fortunate to attend a variety of events recently, including the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), and events hosted by AIIM, Lexmark, Nintex and the DLM Forum in Europe. Microsoft continues to strengthen its mix of products with Windows 10 and EMS for iOS and Android. They made a number of acquisitions this quarter that aimed to provide a more capable Office 365 and Azure environment that equally supports Windows, iOS and Android. At WPC, they said that their EMS software which manages multiple BYOD devices has been growing. Full article HERE - Mid-Year Market Summary from A SharePoint of View


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Topics: change management, ecm, sharepoint, community, records management

Live Q&A Chat at 12 noon on Aug 6th on all things SharePoint

Aug 5, 2015 7:01:17 PM by John Mancini

Live Q&A Chat at 12 noon on Aug 6th on all things SharePoint

Join me this Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 12 noon EDT as I’ll be hosting a LIVE Q&A chat with the speakers from "The Flavors of SharePoint" webinar. After listening to this webinar (click here to watch for yourself), I wanted to bring these folks together for a live Q&A chat. And by “these folks” I mean Errin O’Connor of EPC Group, a leading SharePoint implementation specialist, and Holly Anderson of K2, a SharePoint and Appit whiz in her own right. I’ve already teed up list of questions to kick things off, and we want your 2 cents (ok, with inflation that’s more like 8 dollars) as well.

To get the login for this Live Q&A Chat, go here. I look forward to seeing you on Thursday.

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Topics: enterprise content management, ecm, sharepoint

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