Tuesday, 27 October 2009

AIIM day in Toronto

Today I attended the AIIM "From Collaboration to Process Control: Whats the ideal information management strategy for your organization" (phew, bit of a mouthful) day at the Toronto metro convention centre - and a jolly good day it was too !

The first "October AIIM event" I attended in Toronto was 3 years ago, before I was even living here (we were on our trip to get 'landed' status) and they get better and better.

John Mancini, President of AIIM kicked the day off with a great opening session. He noted some updates on the ever growing mountain of digital content and the ever increasing speed of growth, but also noted that Moore's Law for raw computing power (CPU power) has been surpassed by improvements in communications technologies (providing ever greater bandwidth) and storage technologies (how much you can cram on a disk plater.) John suggested we are rapidly approaching a tipping point with respect to content volumes and content management technologies. In the great tradition of AIIM "8 things about" lists, John presented 8 key points:
  1. You can't dodge the content tidal wave
  2. Ubiqitous computing has an impact on both creation and consumption of content
  3. Green issues - the new selling point for ECM - get rid of all that paper !
  4. You simply can't do everything manually anymore (ref: business processes)
  5. "Social everything" - humans are social animals, go figure......
  6. Collaboration needs governance - I certainly agree with this one
  7. We are moving into an era of simplicity - if records management is perceived as a nusiance by 95% of your users, then your solution better be simple
  8. Mismanagement risks are rising - and not only in the highly litigous U.S. of A !
At one point John made the point that 80% of the worlds Lawyers are in the U.S., after John a gentlemen from Autonomy did a brief session as they were a key sponsor of today's event, and he gladly noted when describing their healthy financials that this was largely thanks to all those lawyers.......

The interesting point from the Autonomy presentation was the "management in place" of records in SharePoint installations using their 'ControlPoint" product, not one I knew much about previously.

After a quick hello to Ross, Doug, Kim and John from the Royal Bank of Canada's ECM centre of excellence (I see them here once a year !), it was off to the elective sessions:

Hyland Software did their normal 'transactional content management' pitch for OnBase. It's an effective and slick presentation of the message, and I have seen it a couple of times before. I have seen OnBase in use in the insurance industry when I was consulting and I can see its strengths in these transactional scenarios.

As the next session was all scanning / imaging / capture in both rooms, I disappeared back into the boothes of the small 'show hall' for a lovely chat with the ladies from Oracle. My current employer is a big Oracle user on the database front, but I have always liked the product formerly known as Stellant, which is of course now Universal Content Management within Oracles Fusion middleware portfolio ! The shock on Michelle's face when we told her you could not access Hulu from Canada...... :-)

The next session was AllStream who had some interesting case studies around combining Unified Communications with portals, which is close to our heart as we are a SharePoint shop and we are about to go live with MS Unified Communications soon.

For the final break out session I broke my promise to go and support Oracle UCM and attended the Microsoft "ECM for the masses, how to deliver on the promise" session. This was a good session by a Product Manager who had obviously honed his skills at the 'big party' in Las Vegas last week. It was not a full on SharePoint 2010 product pitch, but more a generic examination of the issues characterised as the tension between: Control and Compliance on one hand, and Freedom and Flexibility on the other.

Personally I chose to receive part of the message on SharePoint governance issues as "SharePoint proliferation, well thats your fault....." (mmmm' nothing to do with Microsofts marketing machine then?). Having said that our presenter then focused on moving forward, and that a major aim for SP2010 is the 'democratization of ECM', in other words it does not have to be control and compliance versus freedom and flexibility, but rather it should be a balance with contextual equalibrium being sought for each particular project or implementation.

We all went back to the main hall for a presentation from HP on Universal Records Management (URM, a bit too close to UCM ?) in other words the product formerly known as Tower's TRIM.

Then it was time for a quick chat with the marvellous Cheryl McKinnon, the new CMO for Nuxeo
the open source ECM platform. Cheryl forecast a tipping point of her own, that finally within the next two years the open source vendors will be taken seriously. With Nuxeo, MindTouch and Alfresco on the plot, I would agree with her. Strangely enough, for a massive Canadian company, Cheryl's old employer OpenText had not decided to grace the event with its presence.

Finally, John Mancini closed us out, with a final keynote that was as entertaining and as informative as his introductory one. John noted that the latest AIIM "8 reasons" paper (8 reasons you need a strategy for managing information - before its too late) is available as PDF, Kindle eBook, Sony eBook and formats I have never heard of, plus you can even download an audio book version from iTunes !!

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