One of the great things about using content services in your digital transformation efforts is the automation a lot of information governance processes. You can link business entities, automate the application of policies, and reduce duplicate content. All of which increases reliability of information and reduces redundancy. The newly digitized processes streamline the work that you do daily, increasing your ability to innovate across your business.
Sounds great, right?
But what about those policies you are applying? Have you thought about what they are doing? Do they reflect the realities of your day-to-day? Now that you are no longer dealing with paper and information silos, you can revisit your records policies that were written years ago.
Do you suspect that your company’s commitment to agile consists of jargon and sloganeering, as opposed to actual organizational and cultural change? Then you would do well to refer to this pamphlet on Detecting Agile BS (pdf) produced by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Advisory Board (DIB) in October of 2018. The DIB established itself to bring the best practices and innovations of Silicon Valley to DoD software development. The pamphlet was the result of luminaries such as Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman, and Neil deGrasse Tyson coming together turning their gimlet eye towards true agile practices in DoD software development.
I’ve excerpted some interesting parts of the pamphlet below and tied in some of my perspectives based on my current TeraThink project at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Full disclosure: TeraThink is a for-profit company, and as such is not 100%-free of BS. However, I like to think we have less BS than most. I’ll detail why through highlighting key flags that a projects is not truly agile.
This time of the season always presents a good point to reflect on the past year; to take stock of key accomplishments and milestones while also looking to next year and the opportunities it presents.
For TeraThink’s ServiceNow practice, this has been an exciting year that has ushered in a number of client successes. It has also seen the addition of some great talent to our team and the establishment of our ServiceNow community of practice.
SAP’s TechEd 2018 in Las Vegas started on a Tuesday morning with a keynote ushering in a week of intelligent technologies and digital platforms. The keynote itself, from SAP’s Bernd Leukert, lacked the entertainment value of years past. No one appeared from a smoked-out DeLorean. No Captain Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise. Instead, SAP changed the colors on a small “car of the future”, mimicking the car being spray painted.
Despite the special effects, SAP’s made their point. The real time capabilities of SAP Cloud Platform, using APIs integrated with S/4HANA, showing a customer what their car being painted would look like was practical and important. Real time access to information for customers, and the ability of companies to program and provide it, is clearly the focus for SAP.
Once again, I am attending the Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon) in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to the excellent content during the main conference, The Information Coalition team added two new components to the agenda, the Leadership Summit and CIO Breakfast.
I was honored to be asked to represent TeraThink and speak at the Leadership Summit. I shared many of personal lessons from my past and stressed the need for fresh leadership in the industry. However, I want to take a moment to share what some of the others discussed during the events.
I’ve been speaking a lot about content services of late. At TeraThink, we are a big believer that good content services are a solid foundation for excellent user experience. This is why I’ve been focused on dispelling some of the hype around content services. One of the reasons I, and TeraThink, have been trying to push past the hype is because we are actively using content services to deliver solutions at scale.
Along the way, we’ve been trying to share some of our lessons. James Fintel shared what we’ve learned about building content services agilely using Kanban. What I wanted to share was some of our lessons on the delivery of content services to a government agency.
Here at Terathink, we are working with a large government agency constructing a content services platform. This platform allows content generated by benefit applications to be shared and reused across the organization’s disparate IT applications. We are doing this through the use of application programming interfaces, or APIs.
Our agile development team manages our work using a Kanban approach, from requirements gathering to the deployment of the API to a production environment. We have honed our use of Kanban to most effectively manage the work required to take a user request to functional reality.
I’ve been seeing an uptick in interest in digital preservation recently. We are a few decades into the digital age and even without the push to digitally transform everything, people are realizing that they have a lot of digital information. I am surrounded by people who are using a digital records system I put in place over a decade ago. This puts that system into the realm of digital preservation. As per AIIM in their 2017 Digital Preservation Market Research:
The capabilities to ensure the readability and usability of digital information that must be retained for longer than 10 years.
I used to think ten years was a long time. It isn’t. People are also realizing that while storing large volumes of electronic documents is easier than paper, you have to take greater care. I have books that are older than 100 years in my house. The only accessible, viable, digital content I have over 25 years old are some music compact discs.
As we create more and more digital information, we need to start thinking more about long-term preservation.
In 2014, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum on Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century. It called for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DoS) to streamline and improve the legal immigration system. Specifically, it spells out the need to :
Modernize the information technology infrastructure underlying the visa processing system with the goal to reduce redundant systems, improve the experience of applicants, and enable better oversight.
As part of our ongoing support of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), TeraThink was engaged to implement a digital solution to automate USCIS’ implementation. The solution required integration not only with USCIS’ own internal modernization program, but also that of other Federal agencies. We took an API first approach, using MuleSoft to orchestrate all the interactions between the different players. The end result was a successful launch and the creation of a new content services foundation for USCIS.
In an earlier blog, I wrote about a couple of takeaways regarding improvements to the ServiceNow platform from our trip to Knowledge18, Those weren’t the only key takeaways from ServiceNow’s annual conference. There was a lot of focus on improving the user experience for both the producers and consumers of ServiceNow’s features and value. Having seen many projects succeed or fail based not upon features but upon user experience, this was exciting to see.