Innovative organizations rely on content to make informed decisions about their customers, products, and go-to-market plans. Accurate information needs to get to the right prospect, partner or client at the right time. Large companies often have multiple content management systems, particularly in industries that grow via acquisitions. Busy information workers need to make decisions, and this can get complicated if multiple systems from multiple vendors are in place.
Standards have the potential to help organizations stay agile and responsive to change. Good standards help companies streamline routine requirements and avoid re-inventing the wheel. Bad standards get ignored, fall out of date and become barriers to innovation.
CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) has been a much-discussed standard in the ECM world, even before its formal ratification in 2010. In our 2013 ECM survey, just 13% of content management decision-makers put CMIS front and center as part of their strategy. What I wanted to understand:
Who is using CMIS in the real world?
How are architects using it to deliver valuable content to their busy front line workers?
How are software vendors using it to respond to their customer demands to bring content into a bigger information ecosystem?
On September 10, the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) hosted an interactive panel discussion to educate solution providers, vendors, and the broader records management community on an opportunity to help shape the future of records management (RM) inside government. A follow-up activity to the August 2012 Presidential Directive on RM, this panel is a call to action to software vendors, consultants, and subject matter experts who care about moving the records profession in public sector out of the “mental model” of paper.
Important links include: the agenda (PDF) and the two-part event recording, hosted on the NARA UStream External Engagement channel, and the RFI (closes October 4, 2013).
My take? If you are a software vendor, consultant, records management practitioner, or a software developer looking for inspiration, listen to the videos. There is some important stuff there, with the US federal government demonstrating some true leadership in rethinking the oft-maligned records management software system. What does NARA want? Fresh systems, more automation, and a readiness to divorce from the construct of paper that has limited our progress in tackling e-records.
The discussion and sense of urgency here supports the trends and we’re seeing here at Forrester in this area. (See recommended reports and blog links at the bottom of this post.) Our research shows that RM programs today struggle to get consistent user adoption, align related initiatives (like RM, archiving, and eDiscovery), capture new content sources like social and mobile, and get over fear of the cloud.
Metalogix increases its extension of SharePoint capabilities with the acquisition of Axceler’s SharePoint governance products. As I pointed out in my research document, Putting Together The SharePoint ECM Puzzle, SharePoint’s ECM holes have created opportunity for partners to fill in the missing functionality required by organizations looking to implement an ECM solution. Metalogix focuses its efforts on archiving and storage, and with the Axceler acquisition, it ventures into the administration and governance areas that provide key capabilities to streamline the processes for migration, user administration, and policy compliance.
Our recent ECM survey showed that 46% of respondents indicated that the lack of governance was the single biggest challenge to their ECM implementation. My interactions with Forrester clients indicate that SharePoint implementations may actually suffer a higher percentage of failures due to the lack of governance. Organizations struggle to gain control over their SharePoint implementations, caused by the “SharePoint sprawl,” resulting in the explosion of sites that don’t follow any standards. The combination of Metalogix’s archiving products with Axceler’s governance and policy management products has the potential of providing organizations with a foundation that will help facilitate the implementation of a sustainable governance program. The merging of these two organizations and products will help address three key aspects of governance: archiving of sites, document libraries, and documents; the implementation governance policies; and the enforcement of site level quotas and security access.
Today OASIS announced official approval of version 1.1 of the CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) standard. OASIS is the nonprofit, international consortium behind many of the key technology standards in areas related to information management, cloud, privacy, and security.
I’ve been keenly watching the development and adoption of CMIS since its early beginnings in 2006 as an idea incubated by the AIIM iECM standards committee, and then moved to the stewardship of OASIS in 2008, once a critical mass of major vendor support had coalesced. Interoperability has always been an important requirement for ECM systems, not only because most large organizations have multiple systems, often from different vendors, but because business content needs to move, flow, and be accessible to many other essential line-of-business applications.
Interoperability is also finding renewed purpose as content management moves to the cloud, and content must be accessible to users, devices, and apps regardless of whether it is stored on-premises or in a hosted repository. According to the OASIS press release, “CMIS frees content trapped in traditional ‘content silos’ and facilitates ‘content in the cloud’ and mobile computing.”
A few weeks ago I read a blog post by Seth Godin and it hit me like a ton of bricks: Records management is a skeuomorph. I confess, I had never heard of the term “skeuomorphism” until just a few months ago. I learned the word via blogs and tech articles discussing design trends in mobile.
What is a skeuomorph? A simple definition (courtesy of academic George Basalla, via Wikipedia) is “an element of design or structure that serves little or no purpose in the artifact fashioned from the new material but was essential to the object made from the original material.”
In other words, every time we pick up an iPad and download our digital “book” on an electronic “shelf” painted with virtual wood stain – we are engaging with a skeuomorph – like this one:
Since joining Forrester this year, I’ve had the opportunity to get briefed on the RM offerings of many ECM and information governance vendors, and with just a few exceptions, there are some unmistakable common threads I see across products. Top of that list? A user experience that has lifted the paradigm of paper and plopped it on top of an electronic records repository.
I recently joined the Content and Collaboration team at Forrester, and I was happy to see Forrester data showing that 53% of organizations are looking to expand, upgrade, or implement their Content Management solution. Over the last six weeks, I’ve taken many inquiries that dealt with organizations looking at re-evaluating ECM programs, driven by the desire to both add new functionality and extend the reach of ECM to a broader audience. ECM is clearly alive and well.
But time and again I’ve seen this problem: Companies will jump directly into the RFI/ RFP process without fully developing their strategy and road map. But skipping this important step can result in poor ECM technology selection, lack of governance, and, ultimately, failure.
A good road map will address the three classical aspects of an enterprise application implementation: People, Process, and Technology. Outlining the tasks for each area is a good start down the path of success. Here are some sample points for starting your ECM project:
Define your ECM Strategy – Every organization defines ECM differently. When creating a strategy, focus on gaining an understanding of your goals and objectives for implementing an ECM solution. A good example of an ECM goal is to minimize the number of versions of the same document that exist in the organization. These goals and objectives will form the basis for the project’s critical success factors.