Sunday, 27 March 2011

AIIM Info360 - Post conference summary

Firstly a huge thank you to Jennifer Marcus and her team at Questex Media Group for the organization of this years AIIM Info360 conference - the last one ever to have the dual AIIM Expo / Info360 branding.

Secondly another huge thank you to all the speakers who made my attendance so useful and interesting, whether they were end users, or members of the vendor community, the presentations (at least the ones I attended) were of a very high standard.

Gratuitous photo of a D.C. landmark.........

The real highlight for me though, was getting together with ECM experts with whom my discourse is normally of the 'virtual' variety; to chat about ECM related subjects with my friends from the Real Story Group, to meet up with my old mate's Laurence Hart (@piewords) and Cheryl McKinnon (@CherylMcKinnon) and to meet Lee Dallas (@ldallasBMOC) of Big Men On Content "in the flesh" (although Lee is not that big anymore, and I may soon qualify to replace him......).

Anyway, before we get to more links to interesting people, I will give you my major takeaways:

1. The Cloud is not mature enough for ECM
2. SharePoint might be entering the "trough of disillusionment"
3. I am truly sick and tired of the "social" buzzword - especially when used in the same sentence as "collaboration"
4. Mobile is only going to become more important, but actually "mobile ECM" or rather mobile access to information is not synonymous with the Cloud
5. BI plus ECM is not a new concept, but content analytics may play a more important role in measuring the benefits of an ECM strategy in the future

Before we go any further, let me point you to the URL where you can find John Mancini's (President of AIIM: @jmancini77 ) keynote presentation:

It was a good presentation (as ever, John never disappoints) however I for one remain pretty much unconvinced by the 'Systems of Record' and 'Systems of Engagement' that has been a theme for AIIM recently. Cheryl notes in her first write up of the conference, that she is now more convinced having heard John speak. I did not realize that like me, she was not a big fan of the original white paper,  if I had known we could have discussed it over our beer on Wednesday night !

Speaking of Cheryl and John's presentation, thanks Cheryl for tweeting from the audience of my session. I want to take the corporate branding off my slides before I upload them to slideshare, but I will try to get them uploaded this week.  By the way my whole session can be summed up in one very simple premise:

Whatever your definition of Knowledge Management, I would content that KM requires good Enterprise Information Management, and good EIM means that for unstructured information you should have a good Enterprise Content Management Strategy ! Simple really.........

So back to a short paragraph on each of my main take away's as noted above:

1. The Cloud is not mature enough for ECM; I took part in the Real Story Group's "Stump the Consultant" session as a member of the panel and one of the questions from the audience was along the lines of "how do I enforce my Records Management retention schedule in the cloud" and non of the panel could come up with a really good answer. Laurence (Pie) also did an excellent session on the future of ECM, where we heard about his idea for "Omnipresent Content Management" (OCM); I suggest you search for the term on his blog.  The interesting thing is that while the cloud is necessary for a fully realized OCM, it was suggested that this does not rely on ECM type technologies (i.e. Library Services type functionality) but rather on the a solid foundation of federated identity management, which currently simply does not exist.

2. SharePoint might be entering the "trough of disillusionment". Now I have worked with SharePoint day in and day out for the last two years (MOSS2007 - not SP2010) and while I am not a Microsoft 'hater' per se, I am very aware of the weaknesses of the platform. It appears that others are become less easily swayed by MS rather slick marketing too. No one can say the product is not a huge success, but similarly it is not a huge success in every deployment. Yes there was a thriving MS partner ecosystem section down on the Expo floor,  but that is kind of the point: SharePoint is a "platform" with which you can pretty much do anything you want, as long as you have the time and the cash. You may spend the cash on developers, or on buying 3rd party add on products from that thriving ecosystem of partners. However it would appear that people are starting to understand that for some requirements an alternative such as EMC, IBM or OpenText might actually be less complex to implement, and may not be any more expensive (even if not massively cheaper).

3. Social as a buzzword: More on this is a separate posting will be the best way to deal with it I think, but on more than one occasion I was ready to explode. I will just say that I find the term "social collaboration" to be the most annoying of all - if someone can explain to me how collaboration by definition can ever be a NON-social activity, then I will wind my neck in (as they say in the RN).........

4. Mobile does not equal cloud: Some vendors seem to using the requirement for mobile access to information as an 'excuse' for hosting / holding that information in the cloud. It is patently obvious that mobile access to information does not require it be kept in some sort of SaaS / Cloud service. We have been accessing information, through the corporate firewall, on mobile devices for years. Yes, I believe mobile will be increasingly important (although not universally), but there are more strategy and policy questions to be overcome than technical ones (apps versus web, 1 device or many, formatting versus prioritizing content etc).

5. Content Analytics (as Alan Pelz-Sharpe called it: The shotgun wedding of BI and ECM !). Not sexy, not necessarily easy, but BI style dashboards providing 'management information system'  (remember when MIS was trendy ?) type access across our content stores will be come more important as information management in general matures. BI focuses on structured information systems, the data warehouses with their billions of well structured rows and columns, but don't forget, most of the metadata that makes our content management systems function properly sits in the rows and columns of an RDBMS - so why not run your BI software against that ???

More shout outs and thank you's

Some auspicious ECM blogging company at EMC party on Tuesday night; From left to right:
  • Lee Dallas (@ldallasBMOC)
  • Johnny Gee (@ecmguru)
  • Laurence 'Pie' Hart (@piewords)
  • Yours truly (@jedpc)
So many thanks to EMC for that little shindig, and many thanks to Whitney Tidmarsh for being a great host and for taking the time to stop and chat.

Thanks to Michelle Huff of Oracle for getting back to me really quickly so that I can put some of her colleagues in touch with Micheal Sampson (@collabguy) ref Oracle Beehive.

Thanks to Patricia Eng of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for keeping me informed on what was going on in Japan while we were in Washington - now I know a real Nuclear Engineer !

Small world Syndrome story - I had to go to D.C. to meet Arlene Spence ( EverythingECM ) who actually lives just down the road from me in Mississauga !

Thanks to Laurence for driving me from downtown D.C. to my hotel in Arlington - Twice !!

Big shout out to all the guys from the Real Story Group; Tony Byrne, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Jarod Gingras and of course, Irina Guseva.

A final observation, just as you should not feed a Mogwai after midnight, nor ever get one wet, you should really never upset an ethnically Russian, U.S. citizen who is a expert industry analyst after 8pm - it just won't work out well for you.........

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