Posts by Laurence Hart

Transforming Information Governance at ARMA Boston

Laurence Hart speaking at ARMA Boston, presenting the importance of mapping the information flowLast week I had the pleasure of jumping up to Boston to present at ARMA’s Boston Chapter. The topic was a familiar one, Information Governance in the Age of Digital Transformation. I updated and expanded my keynote from the 2016 Information Governance Conference to allow the attendees to receive the latest insights.

As expected, it was a great event with a lot of good conversations about how we can take a fresh approach to Information Governance. This is a real need as many organizations are still struggling to make strides more than two decades after beginning this journey.

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Getting Information to the People at AIIM17

A sign welcoming people to AIIM17Another year and another AIIM Conference in the bag. It was a good year as the industry seems to be slowly coming to the realization that while content is a problem, the solution is to solve the business problem, not necessarily the content problem.

The industry entered AIIM17 with a debate over whether Content Services or Enterprise Content Management (ECM) should be the default name for the industry. The speakers, and attendees, basically uttered a massive, “Who cares?” We are solving problems and learning how to make sure that not just information can be found. Valuable information can be found.

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Look Before You Leap at the "Easy" Solution

Artificial canyons created with index cards from a display at the Renwick Museum, DCA common refrain that I hear is the statement, “I need a new content management system.” I often nod in understanding because most organizations have challenges with their current systems. Understanding that you have a problem is a great first step in determining a solution. It is during the second step of the procurement process when organizations introduce problems.

Skipping the Why

Most organizations skip over the why phase. They may automatically define “the why” as their system is broken. This overlooks many possibilities. Was the software implemented correctly? Were people trained? Has the system been maintained? Are there processes in place to modify the system as the organization evolves?

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Making Information Management Work in Our Digital World

These filing cabinets have a lot of information to digitizeOne of our core solutions at TeraThink is Information Management. It is a term that we, and the industry, use to encompass a large collection of skills and expertise centered around content and information. Information Management is also a critical part of everything organizations do every day.

How do we define that collection of skills? Stated from a high level:

Information Management (IM) is a strategy for the coordinated management of all information throughout an organization, allowing for people and systems to find and use information from within any business context.

The goal is to provide people the right information at the right time and be confident that nothing is being overlooked. We make sure that information flows as needed between every system and process. Whether we are talking about governance, content, or digital transformation, IM is at the heart of every project and sets up long-term success for our clients.

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All About Design at the 2016 Information Governance Conference

Laurence Hart of Dominion Consulting participating in the closing keynote panel of the 2016 Information Governance ConferenceThis year’s Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, RI last week was a great experience and I was excited to represent TeraThink at it. During what is quickly becoming the premier event in the industry, a milestone was marked in the evolution of the information governance industry. Loaded with some amazing speakers, the conference had a feeling of an industry who is trying new ideas and advocating for a complete change to how we approach the management, and subsequent governance, of information.

The key focal point was on the people working with information in our organizations. How can we remove the friction between people and the content management systems (CMS) that we implement? Specifically, how can we use design thinking to improve the user experience? This new focus on design and people was present in keynotes, individual talks, and in the hallway conversations. While there were still a lot of war stories shared, there was an underpinning of hope that we can make real progress.

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Bringing Digital Transformation to the Information Governance

Next week I’ll be representing TeraThink at the 3rd annual Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, Rhode Island on October 12 and 13. I have attended the previous conferences, and as with the annual AIIM conference, simply sharing ideas and stories with the other attendees is worth the trip. This year I have an additional reason for attending, I am delivering the closing keynote on the first day.

I am pretty excited about this opportunity. When the Information Coalition, the organizers, contacted me about speaking. I was very excited. I spoke the first year at InfoGovCon and was interested in delivering a follow-up talk. Delivering the follow-up as a keynote is an unexpected honor.

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Content Analytics at the AIIM 2016 Conference

When in New Orleans, this is one of the healthier options

I attended the annual AIIM Conference recently in New Orleans. As expected, it was a great event with a lot of interesting presentations. I spent a lot of time talking to people, learning what they were doing, how they were achieving success, and hearing about what wasn’t working. I may also have had a beignet or two.

My chief interest was content analytics. There has been a lot of buzz in the industry regarding this capability and I wanted to learn how real it was among practitioners. It seems like a simple concept; Take the classification technology from eDiscovery tools and apply it at the front end of the business process. Instead of reacting, become proactive in analyzing and acting upon content.

I learned that it is going to take some pioneers to make this a reality.

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Leveraging Open Source and the Cloud for Your Open ECM Platforms

We’ve been talking about how to leverage open APIs to connect content-centric solutions together. The goal is to leverage the success from deploying point solutions without creating the numerous silos that typically accompany that approach.

The question that arises is what kind of platform providers are incented to create and maintain open APIs? Any vendor can claim to have an open API. Unless supporting those APIs long-term is core to their business model, those APIs may vanish or become closed in the future. While any enterprise content management (ECM) vendor may have open APIs, open source and software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors are the ones whose business depends on open APIs.

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The Open ECM Platform

There has been talk of creating enterprise content management (ECM) platforms for years. They typically do not live up to the hype or expectations. The upfront investment typically required dooms most projects before they deploy their first business solution. It has reached the point where if an organization wants to implement ECM I typically walk away if I cannot persuade them otherwise.

That doesn’t mean that the need for ECM platforms don’t exist. Given the ever increasing creation of content today, it is even more important to be able to rapidly solve content-centric problems without creating numerous content silos. What is needed is an alternate approach to gaining the benefits of an ECM platform without forcing a big-bang approach to ECM with its large upfront investment.

The answer is to pick an ECM system the same way an organization picks a database system. Choose based upon the system’s ability to scale and meet the needs of the organization. An open API (application programming interface) allows the exposure of content services that can be used to add content capabilities to other applications and to build new solutions. Being open allows an organization to move forward without worrying information being bound to that system forever.

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Stop the Closed Content Silos

It starts simply enough. Your company needs a system for managing its contracts process. The finance department goes out and purchases a contracts system. Being forward thinking, they pick one that is cloud-based so they don’t have to maintain the infrastructure. Things are going well until…

  • The ability to track supporting documents from within the system is identified shortly after launch
  • After finance loads supporting documents, those documents are now stored in multiple locations
  • Nobody knows which version is the current version any longer
  • Groups outside of finance need access to the contracts but licenses are limited
  • Contracts need to be linked to their CRM and ERP records but nobody can figure out how

The contracts process may be working well but information is trapped in a system that is closed-off from the rest of the organization. The only way to have information everywhere it is needed is to duplicate it which leads to complications in managing information.

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